Stock photography: The Silent Killer

by Syrup | Sep 8, 2020

Two display ads. Same content. Same design. The only difference is that one uses stock photography while the other uses an original photo of the internal team. Which ad do you think performs better?

We set up this exact test for one of our clients recently, and as most people would probably guess, the ad with the original photo did better. In fact, it had a 0.64% CTR as opposed to the stock photography ad which had a 0.35% CTR. This means people were nearly twice as likely to click on the one that showed the real people on their team.

Stock photography is a silent killer. Most businesses would just grab a nice looking, professional photo and use it as a visual for their brand. But as shown in the example above, it can cause you to miss out on engagement that could be easily achieved by using original photography.

While using stock photography may be better than nothing, why not make your content even more personal, attractive, and compelling with photos of YOUR team, YOUR products, and even an editing style that is unique to YOU? 90% of stock photography looks fake, staged, and inauthentic, not to mention many of them have already been used thousands of times. If these are the photos you are using to represent your brand, what kind of messages do you think you are sending to your audience?

Why not make your content even more personal, attractive, and compelling?

Yes, hiring a professional photographer can be an investment, but if you can get potentially more conversions and customers because of it, it may be an investment worth making. Regardless, there is probably someone on your team who owns a camera or the newest iPhone and can snap some photos. In the example of the two ads, the winning image was simply a group photo snapped on a phone!

Don’t let the silent killer take hold of what may be fantastic messaging and solid branding. Use what you have and get creative–you may be surprised at the results of what original photography can do for your business.  

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