I recently had an opportunity to do a presentation on business photography for my Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce, and I decided to focus on the value of photography for the business owner. In the first of two parts below we’ll talk about the value of, the need for, and the types of photography relevant to most businesses.
How Prevalent are Photos?
Some basic numbers, which will be quickly outdated (if they aren’t already):
- Facebook has 1.5 billion users, 2/3 of whom use it daily
- 56.5% of the US population are on Facebook
- Facebook has over 400 billion photos, with 400 million being added every day
- Every day 1.8 billion images are posted online
- Instagram has amassed 400 million users, 40 billion photos, and adds 80 million photos every day
- Instagram has grown so quickly that Facebook just bought it for $1 billion.
- YouTube has more visits each day than Facebook, and it’s the #2 search engine in the world (behind Google)
[Update 2/10/2017: Some new, updated stats are available. Internet Trends 2017. Stats & Facts in the U.S. and Worldwide]
Why Are Photos So Popular?
Life moves at a much faster pace today than in decades past. Our shorter attention spans are likely born of our information overload. The advent and pervasiveness of smartphones and mobile devices have changed the way we not only receive information but also how we communicate. We want immediate gratification. We don’t want to leave voice messages, so we text – allowing responses even if someone is in class or in a business meeting where they can’t talk. Business is now about information availability and speed (and ease) of transactions. And of course “a picture is worth 1,000 words.”
I believe that this last point is the key. We don’t have – or take – the time to read anymore, but rather take in our information in imagery. Thus the rise of the Facebook meme.
Types of Photography
More to the point of the presentation, there are many types of photography of benefit to businesses. Each will have different values.
- Portraits represent people
- Advertising represents a product or brand
- Marketing and P.R. represent events
What Can a High Quality Image Do For You?
- Put a face to the name
- Change you from an impersonal corporation to a friendly neighbor
- Show your style (see our prior blog post on Does Your Image Represent Your Company Culture)
- Personalize your business
- Illustrate what you do and how you do it
Other benefits include:
- Highlighting key moments of events for marketing next year’s event
- Public relations: awards presentations, community support events
- Social media content – build your brand
- Entertainment, particularly at events
- Take-home advertising for ongoing marketing
Do images affect sales?
According to MDG Advertising, 67% of online shoppers rated high quality images as being “very important” to their purchase decision, which was slightly more than “product specific information,” “long descriptions,” and “reviews & ratings.”
Recently Sports Illustrated magazine released their annual swimsuit edition with three different covers – and they weren’t the first to do this. The magazine industry well knows how important the cover image is to that month’s sales on the newsstands. National Geographic photography is famous for the power of their images, a driving force in their success.
Images are king in social media. Aside from the fact that more and more social media channels are primarily image-based (Instagram, Snapchat, 500px, Flickr, etc.), statistics show that even text-based social media channels show a significantly higher ROI with the inclusion of photography. Adweek reports that SHIFT measured 5 times the engagement on Twitter postings with pictures vs text-only tweets.
In our follow-up blog post we’ll discuss the acquisition of photography and how important that process is to businesses. Until then, please feel free to share this Value of Photography article via social media, and add any comments below!