Real Car Shots or Stock Vehicle Photos – Which Perform Better?

stock photos for dealership websitesFor years you have probably thought that it is vital to the success of your dealership website to have real pictures of every car on your lot. What if I told you that might not necessarily be true? What if you could use stock images of cars to get just as many (or more) leads from your site, and save hours on the lot taking the perfect set of pictures? A new study recently released by stock image provider Evox Images shows that just might be possible.

In conjunction with data aggregator Datium, Evox Images released a new study at the 16th Annual Digital Dealer Convention that looked at the use and results of different types of vehicle images on dealer websites. Some of the most notable results from their study are:

  • Color matched stock images had a 418% increase in leads over non-color matched stock images.
  • Color matched stock images showed a 427% increase in leads over inconsistent real images.
  • Consistent real images increased leads 32% over color matched stock images.
  • Enhanced real images (watermarks, backgrounds, etc.) decreased leads 72% compared to clean non-enhanced images.
  • 360-degree spin or 360-degree interior panorama images increased leads 306% when present on vehicle pages.

The data certainly isn’t groundbreaking on its own, but it does point out something to strive for. The best images to have on your site are consistent, real images, with no enhancements.

However, that is easier said than done.

Not all dealerships can afford to have a photo bay on their lot, or afford to have someone come in weekly to shoot the vehicles. At that point, it becomes a cost-benefit analysis. Is it worth spending thousands of dollars to have professionally shot images, or to build a photo bay to have consistent photos and backgrounds, only to see a 32% increase in leads? For your dealership, it might not be cost-effective or practical. Instead, your dealership might decide that color matched stock photos can be just as inviting to customers, and can drive similar levels of business without the added cost or time.

One final note: this study focused on images and new vehicle leads. For used vehicles, I always recommend posting the best real images you can manage. With the wide array of used vehicle options and vehicle conditions, customers want to see the actual vehicle before making the drive to your lot. Meeting their expectations can go a long way to helping them drive that car off your lot.