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6 Things Marketers Need to Know About Using Shutterstock

Sprinklr Team

January 6, 2021  •  5 min read

A couple years ago, scientists at MIT showed the world that the human brain needs only 13 milliseconds to process an image. According to MIT professor Mary Potter, this shows that the main purpose of vision is to identify concepts—to understand the world around us.

It’s no wonder, then, that imagery has always played a leading role in marketing and advertising. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we see this play out again and again in pop culture, like Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine photo, and iconic advertising, like the Marlboro Man.

With the rise of content marketing, the demand for high-quality media has skyrocketed—brands now need a steady supply of images and video to support their content strategies. That’s where professional photo sites come in to save the day.

In light of our recent partnership with Shutterstock, we sat down with the Director of Business Development and APIs, Janet Giesen. We asked her to enlighten us on what Shutterstock can offer businesses wanting to compete for the attention of today’s consumers through images.

Here are six things every marketer should know about how Shutterstock works.

1. First off, let’s start with some basics—what should we know about Shutterstock’s stock photography in general?

Stock photography allows anyone to license images for creative use. Rather than hire a photographer or artist directly, creative professionals have access to a large selection of imagery and can find content that works for their project. Some of the most popular stock photos include people, travel destinations, animals, and food imagery.

This industry also allows photographers to earn a steady source of income from their work through royalty payments.

2. Tell us a little bit about the types of media you offer and how you source your content.

The Shutterstock collection offers photos, illustrations, vectors, video, and music for download by businesses, marketing agencies, and media organizations.

We work closely with over 80,000 contributing artists to license their content—they’re photographers, videographers, and illustrators from around the world. Each piece of content submitted to Shutterstock is approved by our team of reviewers who check the content for both technical quality and commercial licensability.

Any content that may contain people, trademarks, logos, or copyrighted work (that doesn’t have appropriate legal releases and reviews) can be rejected if it’s in violation of Shutterstock’s service terms. This is all to ensure a high level of quality for our customers.

3. What are the basic things that marketers need to know about using Shutterstock?

Shutterstock offers a collection of more than 70 million images and 3 million videos—with powerful search tools you can use to your advantage.

To find the perfect image for your campaign, you can sort image results by type (photo, illustration, vector), orientation (horizontal, vertical), color, category (ex: Abstract, Business, Food), number of people, and gender/ethnicity of people in the photos. You can also choose whether you want to see the most popular, most relevant, or newest images first. Another helpful tool is to check for “Similar Images” on each image’s preview page.

And when selecting an image, it’s important to first decide what message you want to convey. To narrow down your options, think about things like color or season. For example, colors like red, orange, and yellow connote warmth (think sunshine or heat) and are considered to be inviting, fun, and energetic. Also think about localization—selecting images with people or places that will resonate with your target audience.

The Shutterstock Blog is a great resource for discovering content based on themes and concepts—as well as just getting a little inspiration around use of Color or Design Trends.

4. We’ve heard stories of stock assets reused by different brands, limiting their uniqueness. How can brands best ensure they are using their assets are exclusive?

Every day, more than 55,000 images are added to Shutterstock’s marketplace, ensuring freshness and a steady stream of new content. While a number of customers may download a particular image and use it in its current form, the use cases vary, and quite often customers will select one part of an image and edit it to be a part of a larger piece.

To lock in exclusivity, we are always happy to work with customers who request guaranteed exclusive use of an image. Pricing depends on a variety of factors, including the artist’s willingness to sell their work exclusively.

5. Do you have a few noteworthy examples that demonstrate a great use of Shutterstock’s offering?

There are many examples of Shutterstock in the wild, from explosions in “Wolverine” to “Godzilla” movie posters. Most recently, Drake and Future used a Shutterstock image of diamonds for their joint mixtape, What A Time To Be Alive.

6. You’ve recently released a new beta capability, Shutterstock Editor, for online image editing. How did that come about and how does it work?

We built Shutterstock Editor based on the customer need to streamline workflow. Potential users of Editor could include ‘busy marketers’ (e.g., social media managers, content managers, or advertisers) as well as small businesses implementing a DIY marketing strategy.

It’s possible to select from 10 recommended preset sizes optimized for the most popular social media sites—before even downloading the image. There is also the option to apply filters to a photo or illustration so that it best suits your brand or company.

Editor eliminates the need to install software to edit the image you find after you’ve downloaded it, saving marketers a significant amount of time time.

If you're not sure if your content marketing is working... it's not.

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