Importance of Using Well Designed Creative Content Over Stock Photos

I was sitting at an airport recently and saw a major airline with digital displays. They were promoting their loyalty program and were using images of smiling and happy people. Problem was, I recognize those pics. I have seen them used in presentations, through to social posts all around the internet. Unfortunately the creative lost its impact with me. I am one consumer, but I am sure this was picked up by other potential customers.

Stock photos have exploded in popularity in recent times, being used by CPG businesses, e-commerce brands and consumer brands to deliver content that features professional photographic media, focused on generalization rather than specificity and subjectivity. 

Stock photos are quite useful when it comes to quick and convenient content creation using professionally captured media. 

However, the fact that stock images are heavily used in a majority of graphic design nowadays tends to reduce their value as promotional content and delivers a similar, almost lifeless feel across them. At Doozoo we believe delivering quality content requires subjective, personalized content created around the object of promotion, for example a consumer product. 

Let’s look at the reasons for using personalized, well-designed creative content over stock media:

  1. Stock photos affect conversion rates

It’s true! Stock photos affect conversion rates negatively compared to real, authentic photos of people or places. A debt consultation company tested its conversion rate using a stock photo of a smiling lady, compared to a photo of their founder on the landing page of their website. 

They found a 35% increase in sign-ups when using their founder’s photo, which was a marked increase. The insight to take away from this is people can tell stock photos from real, authentic pictures, and grow to trust brands more when they are presented with authenticity. 

  1. Stock photos are available to everyone

Since stock photos are stored online on platforms such as Unsplash, Pixabay, and Shutterstock to name a few, they are easily accessible by millions of internet users who download images from the same repository as their competitors. 

In this way, using stock photos will not allow your brand a unique image or space in the social media market, since the same images will be used elsewhere by another brand on the internet. 

  1. Stock photos are not relatable

If you saw two pictures, one with overly happy employees hunched over a computer screen, and the other with employees with variable, realistic expressions, which one would you relate to more? 

Since stock photos often lack realism, they make for poor promotional media because targeted users will not see themselves there, and experience difficulty relating to the content they are being promoted. 

When relatability is not established, internet users have a difficult time engaging with content due to its perceived inauthenticity and have trouble developing brand loyalty towards your brand. 

  1. Stock photos won’t portray your business vision

Stock photos, by nature, are meant to appease the widest audience, hence losing focus and reliability in the process. To accurately put your vision across, you need to create content, centering around your product, from the ground up, to incorporate every characteristic of your brand in your marketing material.

The idea is to highlight your brand’s unique selling points, which stock photos cannot accomplish on account of being generic and widely appealing. Some examples of unique content include dynamic product photography, workplace culture photography, and content that captures the essence of your business and what makes it special. 


Graphic design using stock photos is overused and delivers poor performance as marketing material when compared to personalized, creative content that captures the identity of a brand. To help your brand find and express that identity, Doozoo design solutions can deliver what you are looking for!

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