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Author Topic: Majority of my Shutterstock photo sales are $0.10 and the average per  (Read 4381 times)

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« on: July 13, 2022, 17:58 »
+4
download is less than the lowest I get on Adobe Stock photo sales.  This is sad.  Majority of my Adobe Stock photo sales are above $1.  I enabled my Shutterstock photo sales this month, but now I worry these parade of dimes on Shutterstock is eating my Adobe Stock photo sales.  Once in a while, Shutterstock has high price sales.  So, I just hope that'll happen soon or I may have to make a decision to turn off my photos on Shutterstock and see if photo sales on Adobe Stock increases.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2022, 19:42 by blvdone »


« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2022, 20:37 »
+6

It certainly is an interesting year, with more and more focus on Adobe. They dont even have to do anything, they just keep things as they are and become the easily favored agency.

And the customers automatically follow the best content.

« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2022, 05:23 »
+9
download is less than the lowest I get on Adobe Stock photo sales.  This is sad.  Majority of my Adobe Stock photo sales are above $1.  I enabled my Shutterstock photo sales this month, but now I worry these parade of dimes on Shutterstock is eating my Adobe Stock photo sales.  Once in a while, Shutterstock has high price sales.  So, I just hope that'll happen soon or I may have to make a decision to turn off my photos on Shutterstock and see if photo sales on Adobe Stock increases.

In my experience, turning off my portfolio on SS (or leaving my work there) didn't affect my sales on Adobe (or any other agency). Different clients, different preferences.

« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2022, 05:39 »
+2
download is less than the lowest I get on Adobe Stock photo sales.  This is sad.  Majority of my Adobe Stock photo sales are above $1.  I enabled my Shutterstock photo sales this month, but now I worry these parade of dimes on Shutterstock is eating my Adobe Stock photo sales.  Once in a while, Shutterstock has high price sales.  So, I just hope that'll happen soon or I may have to make a decision to turn off my photos on Shutterstock and see if photo sales on Adobe Stock increases.

In my experience, turning off my portfolio on SS (or leaving my work there) didn't affect my sales on Adobe (or any other agency). Different clients, different preferences.

Thanks for your info.  I'll find out eventually.

« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2022, 11:51 »
+1
...
And the customers automatically follow the best content.

1. no evidence this is true - and buyers w subscriptions are unlikely to switch

2. how does one determine which site has 'best content'


SVH

« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2022, 13:37 »
0
download is less than the lowest I get on Adobe Stock photo sales.  This is sad.  Majority of my Adobe Stock photo sales are above $1.  I enabled my Shutterstock photo sales this month, but now I worry these parade of dimes on Shutterstock is eating my Adobe Stock photo sales.  Once in a while, Shutterstock has high price sales.  So, I just hope that'll happen soon or I may have to make a decision to turn off my photos on Shutterstock and see if photo sales on Adobe Stock increases.

In my experience, turning off my portfolio on SS (or leaving my work there) didn't affect my sales on Adobe (or any other agency). Different clients, different preferences.
Very true. Clientbase at Adobe is completely different then at Shutterstock. Between these two I would never expect oppurtunistic clients shopping around. Between SS and IS is a different story though I think.

« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2022, 16:59 »
+1
download is less than the lowest I get on Adobe Stock photo sales.  This is sad.  Majority of my Adobe Stock photo sales are above $1.  I enabled my Shutterstock photo sales this month, but now I worry these parade of dimes on Shutterstock is eating my Adobe Stock photo sales.  Once in a while, Shutterstock has high price sales.  So, I just hope that'll happen soon or I may have to make a decision to turn off my photos on Shutterstock and see if photo sales on Adobe Stock increases.

In my experience, turning off my portfolio on SS (or leaving my work there) didn't affect my sales on Adobe (or any other agency). Different clients, different preferences.
Very true. Clientbase at Adobe is completely different then at Shutterstock. Between these two I would never expect oppurtunistic clients shopping around. Between SS and IS is a different story though I think.

I think this is partly true.

Yes, AS has its own client base from its software users but if AS themselves didn't feel any threat from SS, then they wouldn't have introduced free images, or video subs.

Overall I tend to agree more with Cobalt above. Or at the very least, a certain type of customer certainly do.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2022, 17:06 by Annie »

« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2022, 18:13 »
0

[/quote]

Overall I tend to agree more with Cobalt above. Or at the very least, a certain type of customer certainly do.
[/quote]

Cobalt is more often than not clueless about a buyers point of view. If one continually follows this "community" nonsense then yes the buyers keep moving to where the "best content" is.

Cascoly is perhaps more accurate in stating...

1. no evidence this is true - and buyers w subscriptions are unlikely to switch

2. how does one determine which site has 'best content'

Pick any topic of your choosing and IS, GI, SS, and AD will give you pretty much the same content. If you are an editorial buyer you'd most likely run to AL, IS, GI, and SS, and once again get pretty much the same content. If you really want cool, hip, trendy content that ages very quickly you'd go to Stocksy, and again you could find incredibly similar imagery at the other sites for a fraction of the price, albeit they might not be image exclusive.

Long gone are the days where agencies lock you into a contract that ensures they have the best content. Long gone are the days where any photographer in his/her right mind would be exclusive to any agency and this in my view includes image exclusive. Long gone are the days where there is any loyalty from any agency or contributor. Very very very few of us produce content that is the "best content".


 



« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2022, 01:22 »
+1
Predicting buyer behaviour can end up in something misleading.

I experienced that assets aimed at small/one person companies appear more likely to sell by on demand licences, but would not get into guessing why, or if this is a mere coincidence. 

Then what determines where the buyer goes sockshopping. Most customers have subscription plans at one agency. Their Shutterstock subscription plan will not work on Dreamstime etc. The boss may be he one who decides what agency to purchase from, looking at the bill is probably quite common.
The other part of me that is not stock photo is a one person company that sometims buy visual assets that it is not feasible for me to produce myself. These purchases are always on demand, as even the smallest subscription packages expire before I get them used. Thus I am not bound to any agency. So what are the actual costs buying from an agency. A spot-on search function saves me a lot of time browsing trough the collections. Adobe and Dreamstime does well here. Alamy, iStock and 123RF less, but it still works. Shutterstock is the looser here. Often I will have to browsee trough a ton of assets that abviously have no relation to my search whatsoever. Or one contributor has found a trick to basically own the first page of a search with semi-dull images. The right image is most likely there somewhere on page 35. Being able to select I go elsewhere, knowing that Shutterstock has no exclusive contributor agreements. So the things I search for may indeed be somewhere on Shutterstock, but is lkely to be somewhere else too, where it may be easier to find. The "get rich fast" with their keyword spamming and loads of identical assets tend to cling to Shutterstock 

« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2022, 01:47 »
0
Predicting buyer behaviour can end up in something misleading.

I experienced that assets aimed at small/one person companies appear more likely to sell by on demand licences, but would not get into guessing why, or if this is a mere coincidence. 

Then what determines where the buyer goes sockshopping. Most customers have subscription plans at one agency. Their Shutterstock subscription plan will not work on Dreamstime etc. The boss may be he one who decides what agency to purchase from, looking at the bill is probably quite common.
The other part of me that is not stock photo is a one person company that sometims buy visual assets that it is not feasible for me to produce myself. These purchases are always on demand, as even the smallest subscription packages expire before I get them used. Thus I am not bound to any agency. So what are the actual costs buying from an agency. A spot-on search function saves me a lot of time browsing trough the collections. Adobe and Dreamstime does well here. Alamy, iStock and 123RF less, but it still works. Shutterstock is the looser here. Often I will have to browsee trough a ton of assets that abviously have no relation to my search whatsoever. Or one contributor has found a trick to basically own the first page of a search with semi-dull images. The right image is most likely there somewhere on page 35. Being able to select I go elsewhere, knowing that Shutterstock has no exclusive contributor agreements. So the things I search for may indeed be somewhere on Shutterstock, but is lkely to be somewhere else too, where it may be easier to find. The "get rich fast" with their keyword spamming and loads of identical assets tend to cling to Shutterstock

I agree.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 15:47 by Annie »

« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2022, 03:21 »
+1
I can't judge at all how buyers behave in general.

But since my office buys pictures, I can at least say something about it from my personal point of view.

We had one customer account with Shutterstock and one with Adobe Stock. Today we only have the one at AS. We cancelled the one at Shutterstock 3 years ago.

Why?

Well, it's mostly because of the search results.

If you have to make ads in a certain region for the target group in that region with products typical for that region, it is important to be able to find images that fit that target group.

Two examples:

Search term "house"

If I search for images of houses on shutterstock, I get a lot of images that do not show any houses in Germany/middle Europe at first glance. It doesn't matter whether I choose the German or the English language for the search. The results are almost identical. So I have to search much longer at shutterstock to find the right images for my region.

If I search for pictures of houses at AS, I can set the search region. If I search for houses in German, I get very specific houses that fit here. If I change the search to USA, I get mostly houses that look American. Here the search is clearly better.

Search term "family"

Here the same problem arises as with the search term "house". With shutterstock I get a lot of images that just don't fit my region. Here, too, the search results at AS are clearly better adapted to my search region.

From my point of view, the algorithm at AS is much better than that of shutterstock. In addition, from my point of view, shutterstock is more internationally oriented, while AS is more at home in the European market. However, I cannot judge at all how the search results look like in other countries. And of course I have no idea if other customers see this problem as well and therefore change the agency.

« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2022, 03:32 »
+1
Weird, if customers dont shop around why have been contacted by two of the top four agencies in the last couple of weeks offering me sweeteners to upload more of my portfolio (which they noticed has more work in it on a rival agency)?

Seems like a lot of effort if they know buyers dont shop around.

« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2022, 04:43 »
+1
...
And the customers automatically follow the best content.

1. no evidence this is true - and buyers w subscriptions are unlikely to switch

2. how does one determine which site has 'best content'

Of course they do, customers always prefer the site that has the best quality and selection.

Subscriptions usually run for a year, but some clients already start a new subscription at a better place and then let the old one at a different site run out.

There is a time lag in the process.

Adobe is very heavily lobbying their immense client group to take up an Adobe subscription. Which is why we are seeing a rise in sales.

If customers never left, agencies wouldn't be fighting over them.

Why would Shutterstock pay 210 million for pond5 if they were not losing business to them? Pond5 has a much better video selection than Shutterstock.

IMO the logical step would have been to fix what is wrong with Shutterstock, but of course if they buy pond5 they have near monopoly on editorial video and maybe the majority stock video market under their control.

« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2022, 05:08 »
+3
Be careful not to overthink this. Lots of organizations use stock images but don't really put much thought into where they come from.

I worked for one of the big public accounting firms and we used images for things like proposals. So, for example, we needed a picture of a swimming pool (proposal to a corporation that made chemicals for swimming pools) and we told the marketing guys to find one.

I doubt they trawled through multiple agencies looking for great swimming pool photos. They probably used one agency (don't know which) and grabbed a couple for us. We weren't too fussy either. The photo worked because, according to the client, our competition hadn't made the link between chemicals and swimming pools so didn't show that they understood the business. So it could have been any swimming pool photo. Didn't need to be a great one.

My guess is that our marketing guys had one subscription with one firm. They didn't have time to go shopping around for the best possible photo for end-users that really didn't care that much and were much more focused on the contents of the proposal than the images.


Brasilnut

  • Author Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock & Blog

« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2022, 05:08 »
+2
I'm seeing a 35% drop 2022 vs 2019 on average download commissions at SS.

Note: Also includes video sales.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 05:15 by Brasilnut »

« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2022, 05:18 »
+1
Of course they do, customers always prefer the site that has the best quality and selection.
I doubt that. There are countless examples in various industries that show that the cheapest prize is the main attrackting factor for most customers.
Stores like Primark that sell shirts for 3$ that fall appart after you have worn them 5 times being extremely successfull.
Governments buying face masks of qustionable quality from China during a pandemic instead of supporting local companies, because they get to save 0.05$ per mask.
There are retail researches out there that show: Low prices are the most important thing to draw customers.

There is a also reason why there is a race to the bottom regarding lowest prices/commissions between agencies and not a race for the highest quality images.

Of course there are customers who will prefere high quality over a cheap price - I imagine mostly customers who use images for physical merchandise and in advertisemet. But I have high doubts that all customers always prefer quality over price, like you claim. If you look for example at blogs or news sites online you can often easily tell that they didn't even bother to spend time browsing the database for the best quality image within that microstock database, but just picked the first image that popped up. They just need something to illustrate their article.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 10:00 by Firn »

« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2022, 05:27 »
+3
Weird, if customers dont shop around why have been contacted by two of the top four agencies in the last couple of weeks offering me sweeteners to upload more of my portfolio (which they noticed has more work in it on a rival agency)?

Seems like a lot of effort if they know buyers dont shop around.

Me too. I was approached a little while back by one agency and yes, they knew exactly how many more files I had on SS. 1,507 files, in fact! I mean, not 1,500 but 1507! Refer below.

But I also have heard of lots of first hand stories of contributors being approached by different agencies and being offered special deals, if you have the content they need to fill gaps in their databases.

I have come to believe that agencies know who's out there and who has content they need, and that overall its very, very competitive.   

« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 05:32 by Annie »


« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2022, 07:28 »
0
Weird, if customers dont shop around why have been contacted by two of the top four agencies in the last couple of weeks offering me sweeteners to upload more of my portfolio (which they noticed has more work in it on a rival agency)?

Seems like a lot of effort if they know buyers dont shop around.

Buyers with subscriptions and contracts on an agency don't shop around. The agency, the two that Annie shows, both seem to have the same data and the same broken English. Maybe one place, not two. Almost everything on all the agencies is the same because so many people upload everything to all of them. When the place asking comes across good images, they troll for new artists.

« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2022, 07:55 »
+1
Weird, if customers dont shop around why have been contacted by two of the top four agencies in the last couple of weeks offering me sweeteners to upload more of my portfolio (which they noticed has more work in it on a rival agency)?

Seems like a lot of effort if they know buyers dont shop around.

Buyers with subscriptions and contracts on an agency don't shop around. The agency, the two that Annie shows, both seem to have the same data and the same broken English. Maybe one place, not two. Almost everything on all the agencies is the same because so many people upload everything to all of them. When the place asking comes across good images, they troll for new artists.

Hi Stock4Me.

Just to explain a bit further, my attachments are both from the same agency. I just screen grabbed 2 sentences from a long email conversation, to demonstrate that they knew exactly how many files I had on the other agency. Which I must admit threw me at the time. The lady that approached me had a European name. Eastern European if I was to have a guess. And she worked for a prominent mid-tier agency that we all know and probably upload to.


Cheers,
Annie
« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 08:23 by Annie »

« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2022, 08:13 »
0
I'm sure that there is intense competition amongst agencies just as there is intense competition between companies in other industries.

But how much do the end-users care? What will it take for an end-user to change agencies? Is quality so bad that they will jump ship? How much do they need the supplied 'tools' or do they just want to grab an image?

From time to time I do a Google search for my images and it is very rare to find one where the buyer has reworked the image using the SS tool. Generally, the photo is there just as I uploaded it to SS.

So do most end-users really care about the tools or do they just want a low-cost and massive library of images?

There is always a tendency to thinks that what we do is important. However, for most companies, users of our images and videos, we are just one supplier of very many, one component of a complex business model and process. They buy images like they buy envelopes.

« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2022, 10:01 »
0
I can't judge at all how buyers behave in general.

But since my office buys pictures, I can at least say something about it from my personal point of view.

We had one customer account with Shutterstock and one with Adobe Stock. Today we only have the one at AS. We cancelled the one at Shutterstock 3 years ago.

Why?

Well, it's mostly because of the search results.

If you have to make ads in a certain region for the target group in that region with products typical for that region, it is important to be able to find images that fit that target group.

Two examples:

Search term "house"

If I search for images of houses on shutterstock, I get a lot of images that do not show any houses in Germany/middle Europe at first glance. It doesn't matter whether I choose the German or the English language for the search. The results are almost identical. So I have to search much longer at shutterstock to find the right images for my region.

If I search for pictures of houses at AS, I can set the search region. If I search for houses in German, I get very specific houses that fit here. If I change the search to USA, I get mostly houses that look American. Here the search is clearly better.

Search term "family"

Here the same problem arises as with the search term "house". With shutterstock I get a lot of images that just don't fit my region. Here, too, the search results at AS are clearly better adapted to my search region.

From my point of view, the algorithm at AS is much better than that of shutterstock. In addition, from my point of view, shutterstock is more internationally oriented, while AS is more at home in the European market. However, I cannot judge at all how the search results look like in other countries. And of course I have no idea if other customers see this problem as well and therefore change the agency.

Perhaps learn how to use a search bar on any agency. "house' overall does yield houses in America, at least from where I am sitting. "house germany" yields nothing but houses in Germany.

Common sense.

« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2022, 10:39 »
+1
If I search for images of houses on shutterstock, I get a lot of images that do not show any houses in Germany/middle Europe at first glance. It doesn't matter whether I choose the German or the English language for the search. The results are almost identical. So I have to search much longer at shutterstock to find the right images for my region.

Perhaps learn how to use a search bar on any agency. "house' overall does yield houses in America, at least from where I am sitting. "house germany" yields nothing but houses in Germany.

Common sense.

With "house germany" in Sutterstock, I get indeed predominantly typical houses from Germany, mainly single family homes ranging from postwar to modern. It is roughly comparable to what Adobe yields for "Haus".

However, if I enter "Haus Deutschland", as a German user would most likely do, I get mostly iconic touristic stuff, like views of Rothenburg ob der Tauber with the town gate and half timbered houses and only a few pictures with more typical modern houses interspersed. This is of course not wrong for the search, but it depends on what you want, whether you will be satisfied with the results. This is a bit different from what Wilm reports, as I get drastically different results depending on the language I search in.

If you search for typical German houses, instead of iconic touristic sites, you may have an easier time finding what you are looking for at Adobe, unless for some reason you try to search for German houses in English.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2022, 13:10 by Big Toe »

« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2022, 10:56 »
+1
Weird, if customers dont shop around why have been contacted by two of the top four agencies in the last couple of weeks offering me sweeteners to upload more of my portfolio (which they noticed has more work in it on a rival agency)?

Seems like a lot of effort if they know buyers dont shop around.

Me too. I was approached a little while back by one agency and yes, they knew exactly how many more files I had on SS. 1,507 files, in fact! I mean, not 1,500 but 1507! Refer below.

But I also have heard of lots of first hand stories of contributors being approached by different agencies and being offered special deals, if you have the content they need to fill gaps in their databases.

I have come to believe that agencies know who's out there and who has content they need, and that overall its very, very competitive.

Yes, I believe all the agencies know that they cant run without the content. Both my recent approaches I think were from different agencies to yours from the text and description.

I used to frequently shop around when I was more of a buyer. It is always surprising how hard it can be to find the perfect image. Even with subs, an employee will will look elsewhere if they cant find precisely what they are looking for. The cost of a license is so, so cheap in a corporate context, even for extended licenses, the idea that you would settle for good enough in your companys marketing when you can pay an extra $20 or $100 for perfect is crazy.

« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2022, 12:28 »
+2
I do not know, but I am guessing that there are companies where the bean counters buy a big sub plan, and the image users are stuck with it - unless the search results get so bad that they complain a lot (either because the images are not there, or the search just sucks due to poor algorithm and spam. It takes a long time for changes to percolate through the system. There are others where the people who choose images choose the site - and there I am guessing the quality of the search results is pretty key. I am always amazed at how bad some of the searches are for specific things at the sites. Some day a site will improve that and it might be a game changer for them.

With my tiny and not very unique portfolio (at least for popular images) I did not see any increase in sales elsewhere when I stopped selling at SS or IS, but I did notice I felt less violated. Sadly they have pretty much ruined the business for me, fortunately I am not dependent on it for food or a roof over my head.

« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2022, 12:39 »
+1
Weird, if customers dont shop around why have been contacted by two of the top four agencies in the last couple of weeks offering me sweeteners to upload more of my portfolio (which they noticed has more work in it on a rival agency)?

Seems like a lot of effort if they know buyers dont shop around.

It is all about the customers with deep pockets, both for the agencies and us as producers.

Yes, there are companies that will always choose the cheapest plan only. But these people might as well go to flickr or any photo sharing site that offers content with cc license for free.

It is the companies that are ready to pay a lot of money that the agencies want and that we want.

There are huge holes in the collections. Most newbies just sort by popular look at the top ten images and duplicate them.

But if you do a search with a buyers hat one, you see just how much is missing everywhere. And it does not have to be super expensively produced people stock, created with a large team and 1000 dollars a day models.

Just content that looks authentic and that was taken by someone that actually understands the subject.

That is why so many people still make a full time living with stock. They avoid what is already there and look for what is missing.


 

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