Search Engine Marketing

Impact of Photos


“You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad” says a CTR study. Photographs have a much better chance of attracting local search consumers.   Many professionals now believe that banner ads just don’t work. 60% of consumers do not remember the last display ad they saw, according to Online Media Daily.


We’ve become used to ignoring display ads. We have altered our behaviour to look down a webpage and not even register they are there. It’s true isn’t it?

Mobile banner ads also no longer work but for another reason. According to GoldSpot Media, up to 50% of clicks on mobile ads are by accident, effectively increasing the cost per sale as the conversion rate of click to lead falls substantially.

This is where Photography is now more crucial to the promotion of a business. For directory listings, a photo of a store can represent the brand in a powerful way using store signage to convey brand strengths.

In-store images can also demonstrate staff service and convey key elements such as trust and reliability. If the business sells other brand products, images of those brands products or brand logos can also persuade the customer to call your business listing rather than a competitor.  

Spot the difference -which would you call?



Brand engagement

More consumers now engage with brands on social media if they post photographs and our own Twitter feed serves as an example of high engagement from the use of good photographs; 

The impact of Photos in Business Directory Listings by YouCom Direct

In the case of business directory listings, you must display your products and services professionally. A good quality photo will enhance your business’ PR regardless if you end up using it for online or for printed directory adverts… DM fliers delivered door-to-door or given out at an exhibition or event are much more likely to be read rather than thrown away if there is a photo that grabs the attention.  

Where can you get photographs /images from?

YouCom Direct recommend either:

Use your own photographs
Buy stock images
Pay for a professional photographer

At YouCom Direct we see so many companies using their own photographs and it is instantly noticeable. If they don’t look professional then they make your company appear unprofessional. For example most images of store signage have been taken without using a light diffuser. Buildings appear dark or show the wrong shadows. Worse, the brand appears inconsistent (the pet hate of every public relations department) with some stores photographed head-on, some from the side, some in poor lighting, others over exposed etc.

Stock photos can look perfect, but they can look ‘too-perfect’ (airbrushing or digital enhancements may not be noticeable to you or your agency but your consumers will notice). With stock images you will also need the correct license to avoid legal problems. Plus don’t forget if you can buy them, so can your competitors.

Paying a good photographer will cost more, but the images are likely to be unique to your company with exclusive owners’ rights to use them.

Most people mistakenly think that if an image has been copied from a search engine, it is unlikely the owner will ever find out they are being used
Sadly, this is not true. Many photos are digital rights managed and we can assure you their use is easily detectable.

There are many free images available, however you will often find it difficult to obtain a good quality image plus of course everyone wants to use free images right?

Many agencies such as YouCom Direct will have a much larger image library than your PR department and can provide you with royalty-free images for whatever keywords you wish to show in the image. Often clients think they will have to pay if they ask their agency for images, but that depends on the agency. A good agency, will be able to help with your presentation or report, by supplying a great photo within the current agency service fee (i.e. no cost).

In summary; you’re paying for business directory listings because the people who use those sites are more likely to be looking for a business to buy from. So make the advertising work better for you. Invest in the right photographs of quality and you will be using them for many years to come.  

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Required reference:

‘YouCom Direct News Article, Nov 2014, London, ‘The impact of photographs on business directory listings’



Matt Roberts