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Author Topic: Tracking Individual Image Sales?  (Read 13516 times)

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« on: October 29, 2008, 16:01 »
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Does anyone here track individual image sales? If so, wondering what methods do you use?

Is it important to you to see sales trends, such as how one agency performs with certain images against another? For instance, does it matter to you that the red haired female model outperforms the blond haired female model? Or if a certain pose sells better than others?

Just wondering how far people go in tracking, and if such tracking is useful in assessing sales potential of future projects.

If there was an automated utility available to perform such tasks, would you use it? Just kicking some ideas around here as my portfolio is approaching critical mass.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 16:16 by stormchaser »


« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 16:36 »
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I have a spreadsheet.  One tab for each style.  Sites in columns, images in lines, and I include the edition done for future reference.  On the cross cells I fill in the sales (that is, how many times image 11 sold in site B).  These cells are colored (green for accepted images, yellow for pending, red for rejected, white for not submitted).  Totals for colums and lines.

I don't keep stats of each image's performance month by month.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 16:41 »
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there's nothing automated, and what's worse, sites like SS make it difficult to do -- and swince that's a major source for most people it doesnt make a lot ofsense to bother with other MS sites that sell much less.

on SS you can see how many sales a image has, but it oud be a nightmare trying to update hundreds of images.

i track monthly and cum sales by each site and sometimes take a brief look at what's been selling.  i tend to submit  series of images over time, so while one image may not sell a lot, my penguins or moose can do well as a group.

to me that's a more important stat - what TYPE of image sells?  flowers? landscape? wildlife? and that's what takes the most work

the next posts to my blog on automating the submission process will cover workflow and tracking.


« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 16:49 »
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I have a spreadsheet.  One tab for each style.  Sites in columns, images in lines, and I include the edition done for future reference.  On the cross cells I fill in the sales (that is, how many times image 11 sold in site B).  These cells are colored (green for accepted images, yellow for pending, red for rejected, white for not submitted).  Totals for colums and lines.

I don't keep stats of each image's performance month by month.

how many sites do you work with? and do they all sell att the same price?  if not, how do you compare $ sales across sites?  also, how do you harvest the dl stats?  do you have a process to do it for each site or do you log on and do it manually?


« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 16:59 »
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I work with many sites - about 12 active ones, I think.  I only track each image sales, not earnings, although I add a comment if an image receives an EL.  I follow only overall earnings on a site-per-site basis, but I take note of each sale (that is, "1.2+0.5+2.6" and not just "4.3"), so I can also calculate average earning/download if I want, and also see what sizes are selling more.

I started a new spreadsheet for RPI, but that was when my PC crashed months ago and, as it took me a while to get a new one, I ended up not following this.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 17:35 »
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I work with many sites - about 12 active ones, I think.  I only track each image sales, not earnings, although I add a comment if an image receives an EL.  I follow only overall earnings on a site-per-site basis, but I take note of each sale (that is, "1.2+0.5+2.6" and not just "4.3"), so I can also calculate average earning/download if I want, and also see what sizes are selling more.

I started a new spreadsheet for RPI, but that was when my PC crashed months ago and, as it took me a while to get a new one, I ended up not following this.

Regards,
Adelaide

Ouch on the crash. I had that happen last year. Luckily had a good backup system.

So is image sale trending important at all to you? Just wondering if it helps you plan future projects. There will of course be seasonal trends, like with holidays now approaching. I am looking at a way to flag image subjects and how they do. For instance, do my images of money sell more than than the business handshake?

Wonder if nitpicking down to this level is worthwhile at all? Interested in your thoughts.

« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2008, 02:57 »
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knowing in general what images sell is useful, but you can get that from the sites without detailed nfo from your portfolio.  for me, it's even less relevant since i dont set up shoots, but  shoot wherever i travel.  so it's more about knowing that 2 weeks in the mountains are going to produce fewer sales than 1 good day in the local market

the tradeoff is the time spent in these details that could be used to edit or take more images


« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2008, 04:45 »
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Yes, I do track individual sales.

I've developed an almost fully automated PHP script to retrieve all data from all microstock sites I contribute to and then store each and every download in a MySQL database.

I'm thus able to produce cool statistics and graphics, which is just... cool and not that useful I would say  ;D

It's indeed not necessary to track individual sales to know what is important to know and having such detailed info do not give any really useful information.

In my case, I do it because I can and liked to do it (I am a software engineer in the "real" life  :) ), but I would not recommand anybody to spend too much time with such detailed statistics.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 04:50 by araminta »

« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2008, 08:32 »
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Thanks for your valuable feedback.

« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2008, 13:17 »
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Yes, I do track individual sales.

I've developed an almost fully automated PHP script to retrieve all data from all microstock sites I contribute to and then store each and every download in a MySQL database.

I'm thus able to produce cool statistics and graphics, which is just... cool and not that useful I would say  ;D

It's indeed not necessary to track individual sales to know what is important to know and having such detailed info do not give any really useful information.

In my case, I do it because I can and liked to do it (I am a software engineer in the "real" life  :) ), but I would not recommand anybody to spend too much time with such detailed statistics.

yep, that's the only way to even consider tracking indiv sales!

how do you match your image in db with the various names MS agencies store it by? you must have multiple names for each image that you enter when items are accepted? 

this has been an ongoing annoyance where most MS agencioes ignore the name the seller gives and only report their number -- it would be much easier for all involved if they just kept the original name in a separate field.  [eg, trying to find which 5 of 6 images were accepted from a series - you can create a unique title name, but then you're taking more time to add IPTC data, etc]

s

« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2008, 14:54 »
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So is image sale trending important at all to you? Just wondering if it helps you plan future projects. There will of course be seasonal trends, like with holidays now approaching. I am looking at a way to flag image subjects and how they do. For instance, do my images of money sell more than than the business handshake?

Wonder if nitpicking down to this level is worthwhile at all? Interested in your thoughts.

My stats help me see what type of image is more popular in my portfolio.  I could use it to direct my shooting, but I am still trying many new things as I slowly build my portfolio.  Even if I had a tool to do what Araminta did, it's too time-consuming and possibly not worth the effort.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2008, 14:57 »
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there's nothing automated, and what's worse, sites like SS make it difficult to do -- and swince that's a major source for most people it doesnt make a lot ofsense to bother with other MS sites that sell much less.

on SS you can see how many sales a image has, but it oud be a nightmare trying to update hundreds of images.

i track monthly and cum sales by each site and sometimes take a brief look at what's been selling.  i tend to submit  series of images over time, so while one image may not sell a lot, my penguins or moose can do well as a group.

to me that's a more important stat - what TYPE of image sells?  flowers? landscape? wildlife? and that's what takes the most work

the next posts to my blog on automating the submission process will cover workflow and tracking.



I do what cascoly does, for the same reasons.

The subject of this thread is one which I think about sometimes and I believe is important. If we could track, with certainty, the sales of a given image, new business opportunities could open up. E.g.
-I have thought about collaborating with another imagists on an image, but how would we know how much each of us earned?
-some photographers want to pay models a percentage of royalties rather than money up front, but that is not possible if you can't track the sales of the photo.
-and so on.
We are actually in the business of selling IP licenses to our images. If we don't what an image has earned, we are limited. But if we do know, that information could be valuable in many ways, most we cannot necessarily foresee now.

« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2008, 14:58 »
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I do.  Most dont.  I simpy wrote a spreadsheet. I have a master containing every photo being sold on the micros.  I have slave spreadsheets for every agency I'm with.  I track dates and $$ for every picture. The slaves feed the master.
   I know every picture I've sold, what day, where and for how much since I've gotten into the biz a few years ago.
   It has come in handy as every agency I've ever been with did not 'track' my sales as well as I did. However, the big ones and most of the small ones do a fine job.   8)=tom

hali

« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2008, 16:07 »
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wow, this is an interesting thread. i am not even in the league of most of you, as
i am only 5 months old and just hit 100 images .

but something michaeldb wrote caught my attention to this topic.
michaeldb you mentioned " some photographers want to pay models a percentage of royalties rather than money up front, but that is not possible if you can't track the sales of the photo."

yes, i was contemplating on recruiting models and start getting people into my images, and giving them a commission from royalties.
but something you said confused me, "it's not possible if you can't track the sales".
did i misunderstand you? why is it not possible.

can i not just pay the commissions at the end of each quarterly?
i know what images sold, so those with the model in it, are the ones i calculate the commission to send them.
but you said it's not possible to track sales.  why not?

« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2008, 16:09 »
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what sort of volume are you dealing with?  i have about 4500 different images spread across about 10 agencies, for about 23,000 images for sale. trying to track all the $.25 and $.33 sales would be nervewracking


« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2008, 16:42 »
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what sort of volume are you dealing with?  i have about 4500 different images spread across about 10 agencies, for about 23,000 images for sale. trying to track all the $.25 and $.33 sales would be nervewracking


hali,
Sorry,  I didn't mean to say that it is impossible to track sales, a couple of people have said that they do. But like cascoly says, if you have a lot of different images on a lot of different agencies it would be very difficult, at least for most of us. And in my case I upload vectors and rasters to SS, and they both look identical in thumbs, so they have different sales and keeping track of them I would have to use the ID numbers. Plus I am lazy. If I don't have some automatic way to do it, tracking the sales of individual images would take many hours. Not impossible but not practical

« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2008, 17:14 »
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Thanks all for all of your comments and observations. I am looking to develop some kind of flagging methods to set direction of future projects, and possibly the timing of them. Most interesting above is the model royalties percentage. That's something I never really thought of.


« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2008, 18:04 »
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I have already thought of using people in my photos, and I thought of paying them a % of earnings in a couple of sites - those that are easier to track earnings per image (FT is not one of them). I would do that for a period of time, after which no further payment for that series would be required.

Regards,
Adelaide

hali

« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2008, 19:00 »
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thx for the clarification, michaeldb. i suppose with a lot of images it could be a task.
madelaide, a fixed period for commission sharing with models would be a good idea too. i think once a model proves to be a good seller for me, i would not mind a permanent sharing with the model. also you would call them back for more shots and it would probably end up in a bona fide relationship once that model becomes almost a regular choice to the photographer. the trick is to find that certain model.

« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2008, 21:17 »
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I have already thought of using people in my photos, and I thought of paying them a % of earnings in a couple of sites - those that are easier to track earnings per image (FT is not one of them). I would do that for a period of time, after which no further payment for that series would be required.

Regards,
Adelaide

I doubt you want to get into the trouble of royalty tracking for X number of models.  Yuck!

« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2008, 21:58 »
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That's true, but the really good ones are hard to get back, so it might be worth some extra effort to provide some extra incentive.

« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2008, 06:00 »
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how do you match your image in db with the various names MS agencies store it by? you must have multiple names for each image that you enter when items are accepted? 

This is one of the manual thing i've to do: match each site's ID (not name) together for a given photo. But it has to be done once for newly uploaded photos only which is acceptable.

graficallyminded

« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2008, 07:38 »
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I have already thought of using people in my photos, and I thought of paying them a % of earnings in a couple of sites - those that are easier to track earnings per image (FT is not one of them). I would do that for a period of time, after which no further payment for that series would be required.

Regards,
Adelaide

Wow, that's a bit generous of you...don't you think?  Why not stick to TFCD?  Models would normally have to spend $100-200 on a 1 hour photoshoot session with even a mediocre photographer.  With TFCD you're giving it to them for free in exchange for their signed MR. 

« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2008, 14:29 »
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how do you match your image in db with the various names MS agencies store it by? you must have multiple names for each image that you enter when items are accepted? 

This is one of the manual thing i've to do: match each site's ID (not name) together for a given photo. But it has to be done once for newly uploaded photos only which is acceptable.

that's the bottleneck for me -- i submit a total 1000-3000 images a month to 6-10 agencies.  even with only 50% acceptance that would be 2000 images to find in the db and add a agency id.   if you can do a steady 5 updates a minute, you're still looking at 10 hrs or more a month for this task.

how many total images do you submit each month?

« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2008, 16:12 »
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I don't play in the same category: I'm happy when I upload 30 pictures in a given month  ;D

1000-3000 a month you say? WOW... even with 50% acceptance rate you will have the biggest portfolio in the microstock industry in less than a year!


 

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