7 Best Ways to Use Stock Photos in Your Ads

Ivy Attie - Guest Writer
By Ivy Attie - Guest Writer
June 9, 2021 · 7 min read

The past year has been troublesome for many businesses, regardless of their size. Adjusting to remote working dynamics, figuring out ways to improve their cybersecurity protocols, and prioritizing employees’ health have left many companies’ growth stagnant.

Finding innovative ways to relay your message and reach your company’s largest relevant audience is a key factor in growing your business during this time. And there is no better way to reach a large audience than through ads.

With different countries in lockdown across the globe, it isn’t feasible to get real-life photographs for your ad campaigns. That is precisely why this article will help you find the best ways to utilize stock photos in your ads.  

Without further ado, let us walk you through 7 best ways to use stock photos in your ads.

Finding Stock Photos That Aren’t Stock Photos

Have you ever seen a picture like this before?

Stock photos such as this one are generic and easily recognizable.

Many marketers choose stock photos over hiring a professional photographer – saving them both time and money. They must remember, however, the importance of aligning themselves with the buyer’s thought process. Many buyers want to see pictures of the actual product or photographs that are closely related to the product. Seeing pictures that feel unrelated won’t compel the buyer to click and buy your product; instead, it will decrease your credibility.

Even when creating job ads, conducting market research is crucial to know what attracts the top talent. Exactly why, when selecting stock photos to use in your online advertisements, your target should be to find one that conveys your campaign’s message and tone. 

You need to consider how well a picture can entice users to click and progress through your marketing funnel. Asking crucial questions and selecting specific graphics for each ad would yield much greater results than picking the first perfect office picture you see.

Make Sure Your Stock Photos Aren’t Overused

Finding stock photos to match the aesthetic and style of your website is usually simple enough. However, despite the vast number of stock images available, many of the same stock photographs are used repeatedly on the internet.

Because stock photos are widely available and recognized, they are often overused. Make sure you don’t get trapped in this bubble. Try to search for unique ones for your ad campaign.

Before you decide on any photo to use in your ads, we highly recommend doing a ‘Search by Image’ search on Google. All you have to do is go to google.com.

Click on the camera icon next on the search bar.

Now you can drag the stock photo you chose into the search bar, as shown below. Google will then reverse search your selected stock photo and display all the websites the picture exists on. 

This way, you can make your Ad look unique and avoid looking like a copycat.

Modify Image for Facebook Ads 

Facebook is the ideal place to run your ad campaign since it is literally the customer’s bay. Any business that needs to grow needs to focus on Facebook ad targeting to attract potential customers. Stock photos can play an essential role to compel the crowd to click on your ad.

After choosing your stock photos, you can edit them to make them more consistent with your brand. Add typography, crop out unnecessary components, change colors or overlay a gradient with your brand colors to achieve this. 

Photoshop, Pixlr, PicMonkey, and GIMP are only a few examples of image editors that will help you adjust the stock photos to the rest of your branding. Promo’s powerful  image resizer is also one of the best online image editors available today, resizing images to over 100 social media sizes in a single click. 

You can also combine these stock images with punchy headlines, call-to-action phrases, or taglines that help to connect to your audience in a better way. The more you customize your stock images according to your Facebook audience, the more clicks you are likely to get.

Optimize Your Stock Photos For SEO

There are few ways you can optimize your stock photos to help your ad’s visibility. Usually, when you download a stock image, the file is saved as the name of the photographer who took the picture. I recommend changing the file name to the keyword your ad revolves around.

Moreover, you should also use the file name as the alt text for the stock photo in your ad. This can help Google sort your image under the right category and drive traffic through Google image search.

Use Emotional and Attention-grabbing photos in Ads

Emotions are a great way to attract the crowd and compel them to click on whatever you are offering. Ads that portray emotions are more likely to be clicked on and can make users take action.

You need to study your audience and analyze what triggers curiosity and emotions in the general public. You can do that by asking questions on your Facebook group or by making a poll to understand their thought process. Once you figure out what your audience likes and what makes them happy, you can easily select a stock image that you think will pique their interest.

However, portraying stock images that don’t have genuine emotions can do more harm than good. People are likely to roll their eyes at your ad and skip it without reading what you have to offer. We don’t want that, do we? The best way to avoid this is to use your intuition!

Let’s take an example.

Picture A:

Picture B:

Which one do you think will likely compel viewers to click on your Ad?

Picture B, right? Hopefully, you didn’t guess that wrong. The picture showing friends enjoying their social media is much more relatable and genuine than some girl posing to look happy.

Even the background of the picture can be a key aspect to look at. Picture A has an entirely white background, while picture B depicts a more natural scene. It seems like photo A was taken in a studio, and most readers might consider it ‘Fake.’

Put Multiple Ads on Test

The greatest benefit of using stock photos for ads is that you have infinite pictures at your disposal. There are literally thousands of images for the same category, and you can explore more options once you have finalized one of your images.

Running an ad campaign with ads having different images can be much more fruitful for businesses. Since you can present potential buyers with 2-3 versions of your ads, you have a higher chance of convincing them to make a purchase.

Moreover, testing your ads is another great strategy to figure out which ad is more successful. This requires you to have different stock images to use for different versions of your ad. 

We recommend for you to have the same elements such as CTA’s, punch lines, taglines and only use different stock images to see which stock photo is more likely to attract the customers.

Use Rights-Managed Images

Due to the overuse of stock images, a license for stock images can ensure originality. The rights-managed license ensures that customers will pay for a one-time use of the picture with this license type. This means that if the user wants to use the picture for the same or a different reason, they must repurchase the license. By avoiding using the same image by a rival, the rights-managed license helps to ensure the originality of the advertising campaign.

The Takeaway

Using stock images for your ads is the most scalable solution for any small business. Keep in mind to take advantage of the flexibility it allows by trying new tactics and strategies when running a marketing campaign. 

Consistently testing out your ads’ results and implementing changes accordingly will help you get the result you are thriving for.

About the author

Ivy Attie - Guest Writer

Ivy is a content manager, researcher, and author in various stock media-oriented publications. She is a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Her background is in communication and journalism, and she also loves literature and performing arts.

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