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Can too many Vehicle Photos be a bad thing?

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by Jeff Kershner, May 7, 2015.

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  1. Jeff Kershner

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    According to a study by our friends over at CarStory - any more than 9 photos causes "image fatigue". HUH?
    Did anyone else catch this article on Automotive News?

    Get this...


    According to the report, used vehicles posted for sale with nine images generated:

    • 50 percent more leads than those without any images.
    • 56 percent more leads than those with 20 images.
    • 71 percent more than those with 30 images.
    The more images after that, the more lead volume drops off and “image fatigue” sets in, said Chad Bockius, CarStory chief marketing officer.

    ** this analysis is based on marketplace (vehicle listing websites) activity, not dealer sites.


    Only 9 photos?
    What do you think when you read this?
     
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  3. joe.pistell

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    Thats an interesting report. They totally knocks it over the fence with the "recon report invisibility". Regarding the photos, here's my $0.02:


    Problem #1:
    The test data comes from the Vast network of sites http://www.vast.com/cars/body-SUV. Prior to the analysis, It would be helpful to know how important the Vast site is to the shopper's mission. If the Vast sites are highly important, then, the data has more value... and vice versa*.


    Problem #2:
    The premise is that a lead is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). Leads from 3rd party sites* are a small part of the dealers total sales.


    Problem #3:
    “If you have to scroll through 10 to 15 images to get there, you end up with image fatigue and lose interest,” Bockius said." Is it image fatigue, or *our* prehistoric way we display images on the VDP?



    *Insight into this comes in a question: How does your closing ratio compare between 3rd party leads that are NOT Autotrader or CarGurus? (Cars.com can't be used because they're a reseller of 3rd party leads and they may include leads from the vast network)
     
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  4. Adam Thrasher

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    @Jeff, I read the article and can see some validity to their findings.

    Since the article specifically referred to third party listing sites and not dealer sites, it does make sense that shoppers could get "image fatigue" considering they are looking at multiples of the same vehicle. My thoughts are that they are looking for specific photos that show certain features.

    Many dealers take too many exterior shots that don't show the interior features/options shoppers are looking for. I thought it was interesting that the article failed to mention anything about real videos on third party sites since both Auto Trader and Cars.com can accept real video walk-arounds in their feeds now.

    Maybe there weren't enough dealers with real videos.
     
  5. ed.brooks

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    It bears repeating, this study is only talking about form-fill lead generation on "marketplace sites" - not necessarily selling cars. The optimal number of photos --- to generate a lead on a marketplace site -- is 9 photos.

    It would be interesting to study the closing percentages of two types of form-fill leads; The folks submit a lead off of a listing with 9 photos (the study says you will get more of these) compared to the folks that submit a lead off of a listing with 32 photos (the study says you will get less of these). My suspicion is the closing percentage will higher with the 32 photo lead. BUT, if your job is to generate leads, you may be better served to follow the advice of listing the vehicle with 9 photos...
     
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  6. Adam Thrasher

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    @ED - we need more leads...can't sell them but we gotta have more.
     
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  7. skutchhenks

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    The difference between a dealer that does 9-18 photos for used vehicles vs. a dealer that does 18+ is only cost+time in my opinion. I don't think the costs per vehicle for dealer's that do 40+ photos vs. ones that don't can be justified.

    I think shoppers want to see as many photos as possible and the more the better, but I don't think a shoppers decision of taking the next step in buying or visiting one dealer vs. the other based on photo difference matters. If it's the right vehicle at the right price they will make contact or visit regardless of the number of photos.

    For new vehicles I think 9 is fine, after the shopper browses through so many of the same/similar photos it can get monotonous, and bears no advantage if you have more photos vs. the next dealer.

    @Adam Thrasher@Adam Thrasher - that's too funny, unfortunately I hear it way too much.
     
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  8. joe.pistell

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    Here's how I see 9 pics vs 30 pics.

    IMO, this is a UI (User Interface) problem that *our* industry has. Too many Photos can be like too much text. From our car shoppers P.O.V., not all photos have equal value, just like not all options have equal value (i.e. Navi vs Intermittent Wipers).

    Shoppers want it all. They want to see the most important shots 1st, then, IF this car has their interest, allow them to see all the rest of the pics. Shoppers want us to help them be smarter, faster, better. This also means helping them scan our VDPs.
     
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  9. yagoparamo

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    Absolutely,

    The Vast network is not a top website in the industry. Auto trader also had studies years ago where more photos meant more leads. Cobalt also had one to that matter.

    I also think that the UI has to do a lot with this study.
     
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  10. ed.brooks

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    Vast powers a network that is pretty substantial @yagoparamo@yagoparamo. From their 'About' page, "Through Fortune 500 publishers such as Bing, Yahoo, USAA, Southwest, and AOL...". I read someplace that the Vast network includes over 350 of these "marketplace websites".
     
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  11. yagoparamo

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    Ed,

    None of them those substantial power alone. Their traffic may be very unique, niche, therefore not representing the regular market.

    Without checking, I may assume that the UI is also different from site to site.
     
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