We all come from different walks of life, and have all seen some pretty weird things along the way. But, until you’ve tried finding a good stock photo from a stock image supplier, you haven’t seen weird. Sorting through stock photos to find the perfect one for your content can be challenging because the ratio of crazy ones to good ones must be 50:1 (an educated guess, we have done no research to prove this point).
You don’t want to rely on the most popular images because so many other websites are using them, and you want to stand out. But, you don’t want to opt for any random stock photo solely for the sake of being different or having an image. It’s important for you to find an image that truly represents your content and stands out in the face of your competition.
Using real photography versus stock photography
The problem with most stock images is that internet users are skilled at sniffing them out and ignoring them. People are growing increasingly acclimated to the internet and are savvy to trickery and cheap tactics. If you aren’t careful, stock photos can be interpreted by internet users as lazy, cheap, or dishonest, and visitors will leave your site.
Using eye-tracking technology, the Nielsen group discovered that users completely ignore stock photography on a web page, but they do focus on real photos, especially of those of people or thorough displays of a product. And by images of people, we mean images of real people from your organization, not stock photos of some person smiling in a generic office.
Captivating images are important because viewers associate images with your content, and their memories will recall the images more readily. Using a popular stock photo that’s used by lots of other sites will confuse the users’ memory, as the image is not exclusively linked with your content, but with countless others.
Reaching a compromise between real photos and stock images
If you’re using inbound marketing to connect with your audience (if not, you should be!) then you know you need to provide visitors with a wealth of content. A big bulk of that content comes from blogs, and you should be blogging multiple times per week.
If you’re going to be blogging frequently, it can be difficult to take a new photo for each blog, so you may want to use stock images as a shortcut. This is okay, if the images are unique, simple, and consistent with your brand and message.
Please, for the sake of your brand, don’t use stock images on main site pages. Users want to see YOU, not what you want yourself to look like. Stock images will never represent your business as well as real photos can, and can often scare away a visitor who might gain a sense of mistrust with you for not using real photos.
Do you have more questions about connecting your brand to your audience through inbound marketing? Inbound marketing increases your leads and grows your ROI. Contact AGENCY H Inbound today to learn more about inbound marketing!