You have eight seconds.
Eight seconds to entice your audience.
Eight seconds to convince them to click.
Eight seconds before they scroll away and forget you.
With such a small window, it’s no wonder the average click-through rate for Facebook ads is less than 1 percent. If your ads beat that average – great! You’re winning.
If they don’t, keep reading.
CTR is a great metric because it directly reflects the quality of your creative. That is to say, your imagery.
If you’re falling short, you know what’s to blame.
The Problem with Stock Imagery
Photos are the most influential factor in a successful social media post or ad – assuming the back end is set up correctly. They’re what your audience sees and responds to … or ignores.
If your positioning, keywords and audience are on point, but your ads are still unsuccessful, it’s because of the imagery. Maybe it’s not engaging. Maybe it’s irrelevant. Or maybe it looks too similar to every other generic stock photo-y ad.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? Ask yourself these five simple questions.
#1: Does the image work with my content?
This is always the first question you should ask yourself.
Who or what is the subject of your ad? Your imagery should reflect this.
Unfortunately, many digital marketers do this backward. They decide on a creative direction based on available stock photography. But royalty-free images shouldn’t completely dictate the direction of a social media post or ad.
So, define your direction first, then find an image that accurately reflects it.
#2: Will it connect with my audience?
The second layer to selecting an image is audience relevance.
Photos are compelling when we can identify with the subject. This is how you create a more personalized, targeted experience. If you know your customer, you know what they will relate and respond to.
An easy way to start this process is to create a customer profile. Doing this regularly will help you stay on top of customer preferences as they evolve.
#3: Does it fit my brand?
This question is often overlooked in the stock photo search rush.
Your ads need to be consistent with your brand imagery. People should recognize you as something unique and different than your competitors. When businesses use ad imagery that is too eclectic or diverse, it dilutes their brand.
What’s more, location matters. If you’re promoting a local business, you sure as heck want imagery from your city. Pizza might come from Naples, but customers in Des Moines probably won’t recognize Mount Vesuvius.
#4: Does it look real?
You can tell the difference between a generic stock photo that everyone uses and an Instagram-worthy photo immediately.
Instagram photos are unique because they represent local or personal situations, events and places. In other words, they look real.
Traditional royalty-free photography is the opposite. The situations are generic (think conference room meeting). The places are vague (think bland cityscapes). Because of this, they don’t look real – which is why they so often fail to capture user attention.
If you want to cut through the noise, start using imagery that looks like it belongs on Instagram. Because if it looks real, it looks relatable. Consumers will respond.
#5: Does it have specific location data?
So, #grammable photos are great and all – but how do you find stock photos that look like that? Again, location matters. Precise metadata is what makes it possible for digital marketers to find localized, personalized imagery. And localized photography matters because it ticks all the boxes above.
Find imagery by location and you’ll identify images that are authentic and relevant to your content, audience and brand.
Stock images are crucial to the success of your digital marketing campaign. But don’t rush the selection process. Before conducting your search, ask yourself the above questions. The answers will help you create stronger ads that engage your users and set your brand apart.