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Nobody Buys a Car Without a Picture

Dealer New Cars Stock. Colorful Brand New Compact Vehicles For Sale Awaiting on the Dealer Parking Lot. Car Market Business Concept.

Photos Affect Vehicle Views by 600%

They say you don’t buy a car without test driving it first. And before you test drive, chances are you’ll want to see the car pictured.

Did you know that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual? Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text.

It’s no wonder then that vehicle description pages (VDPs) need images to drive traffic. Most dealers know that. The impact of the quality of images, however, hasn’t been studied until now.

What About Stock Images?

So, you’ve done your part and added photos to each of your vehicle listings. Think you’re ready to roll?

Before returning to the showroom, take a look at what STRONG found regarding the quality of images on VDPs.

From the clients we studied, listings with stock images received 1.6 views per day. Listings with low-quality lot photos received 4.5 views per day. High-quality photos taken at the dealership gave pages an average of 12.25 views per day.

As you can see, customers really don’t like stock images. In fact, a study by Kelley Blue Book found that 90 percent of car shoppers prefer to view real photos from the lot versus stock photos.

We put this theory to the test and pulled analytics from several client accounts. We found that switching from a stock photo to a low-quality real photo led to a 181 percent increase in engagement. Switching from a low- to high-quality photo gave a 172 percent traffic increase. Most impressively, switching from a stock photo to a high-quality lot photo yielded a 665 percent increase in VDP traffic.

Not bad for something you can do without leaving the dealership. And we’re not talking professional photography here. High-quality photos are simply pictures that are clear, well-lit, and show several angles of the vehicle’s interior and exterior in a visually pleasing way.

Taking Stellar Vehicle Photos

If you’ve realized that some of your VDP photos could be improved, try these tips for taking photos that convert.

       ○ The car should point toward the CTA. Make sure that the vehicle nose is pointing toward the page’s call to action, whether that be call, quote, or inquire. This visually leads the customer to the next step.

       ○ Use a three-quarter-angle exterior shot. This means showing ¾ of the car’s exterior in the shot. It’s one of the most frequently used – and best performing – angles for vehicle galleries. Cockpit shots are a close second.

       ○ Test what works best. The same photos and listing tactics won’t work for everyone. The only way to know what your customers respond to is by testing. Experiment with new angles and see how traffic and leads change.


Are Stock Photos Ever Okay?

We’ve downplayed stock photos a lot in this newsletter. But well-taken stock imagery does have its place in a dealer’s marketing strategy.

In banner, cover, and social media ads, stock imagery can be a perfect choice. When making a first impression on a customer, the image needs a wow-factor. Those on social media and search sites are just then being exposed to the product, so stock imagery is a great choice for capturing their attention.

Conversely, customers browsing a VDP are further along the sales funnel, so they want to see an authentic photo of the vehicle.

Stay Tuned

Like what you learned today? Make sure to subscribe to Next Day Traffic so you never miss a post on automotive marketing, merchandising, and advertising.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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