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iStockphoto research shows SMBs are missing out on picture power

12 June 2008 – Independent research launched today by iStockphoto® shows that SMBs are failing to use imagery to maximise their messaging. Over a quarter (27%) of SMBs polled don’t use imagery in their business, and of those that do, almost half (49%), don’t use any on their website. In addition to this, despite a competitive SMB market place, almost two-thirds (59%) of those surveyed sourced images internally by taking shots with their own camera.

The research entitled ‘Picture Perfect’ focused on how SMBs across Britain use imagery (imagery defined as – photography, video, computer generated imagery/ vector graphics) in their business. The findings from the research showed that despite improved affordable services being open to organisations, a high number of SMBs using imagery are still taking their own images internally rather than sourcing imagery of a professional standard from external sources.

“Small companies are now in a better position than ever before when it comes to design,” said Kelly Thompson, executive vice president at iStockphoto. “Thanks to the Internet, and micro-stock photography sites that provide professionally inspected images across a diverse range of business and lifestyle related topics. You don’t even need to know about photography to maximise the use of imagery in your business. High-quality, royalty free imagery is now widely available for everyone at affordable prices.”

Key findings from the research indicate:

Use of images – Websites are the image kings

· 27% of SMBs don’t use imagery in their business at all

· Of organisations who use imagery, 51% use imagery on their website, 40% use imagery in presentations, 31% use imagery in marketing & advertising collateral and 14% use imagery in the office interior design

· SMBs in Wales use imagery in presentations more than any other area and have the highest rate of imagery use in presentations (71%) compared with other regions

Types of images – Photography leads the way

· 71% of SMBs use photography more than other types of imagery

· Adoption of video clips has been less popular, with 5% selecting it as the type of image used most, but it had much higher use by SMBs from the east of Britain (26%)

· 26% selected Computer generated imagery or vector graphics as their most frequently used imagery

Source of images – DIY still ruling the SMB

· The majority of SMBs, still go in-house to source images, with 59% taking photos with their own camera, compared with 40% using online stock photography and 31% commissioning photography

· The highest users of commissioned photography were Wales (55%)

· All Scottish SMBs questioned sourced some of their imagery through internal photography

Frequency of use – A weekly photofix

· Only a fifth (21%) of SMBs require the use of images everyday

· Just over a quarter (26%) require images 2-3 times a week

· One in ten SMBs require an image less than once a year

Thompson added, “Imagery on a website, in marketing collateral or in a presentation not only enhances the message, but can instantly convey a connection or create a feeling. Unlike words, images aren’t a language you have to learn during your life. Where a paragraph can take a minute to read, an image can be interpreted in seconds.”



The research was conducted on behalf of iStockphoto by during Spring 2008. A total of 275 SMEs were surveyed across a range of industries and regions across Britain.

About iStockphoto

iStockphoto,, is the world’s leading royalty-free stock destination, with an image downloaded every 1.4 seconds. iStock pioneered the micropayment phenomenon in this industry, enabling buyers to license images for as little as a dollar. iStockphoto entered the stock video market with similarly enticing price points in September of 2006. In partnership with its members, iStockphoto has turned community into commerce, transforming the digital imagery market by encouraging passionate dialogue and education, while making imagery affordable to businesses that may not have licensed imagery otherwise. iStockphoto is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Getty Images.


Media Contact

Lorna Thompson / James Warnette
Octopus Communications for iStockphoto
T: +44 (0) 8453 700 655

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