In an age when TripAdvisor, Instagram, and Yelp rule the roost, photos are of immense importance to local businesses. Even before the advent of such platforms, people wanted to have an eye view of anything before investing their money. Now, it is important more than ever before to ensure that your brand looks visually attractive when customers are looking for businesses related to your domain.
Sounds unbelievable? Let’s find out what analysis of 5,80,853 images across 15, 191 Google My listings revealed about GMB images, and how they might be impacting search and user user behavior.
How Important Are Google My Business Photos To Local Search Performance?
A study conducted by BrightLocal revealed Google My Business Insights Study, we analysis the GMB Insights of 45,000 businesses in 36 industries across four countries, to learn how this data has changed over a period of time, and to find if there is any sort of connection.
Here’s a look at the connections between quantities of images visible on a GMB profile and other GMB performance metrics like calls, views, website clicks, views on search, etc. In the charts given below, averages are calculated utilizing the median business in the data set, and all data is worked out every month. For such data, we look at businesses with one or more uploaded. Such images were uploaded by consumers or by a business. Another thing to note is that there are strong correlations, experts are not clear about causation. But without a trial, such figures are quite compelling.
Businesses With More GMB Photos Get More Clicks, Calls and Direction Requests
Let’s go back to the last stage of the consumer’s discovery journey because of clicks, calls and direction requests from GMB profiles which have the strongest connection to image visibility. Unlike other Insights metrics(such as views on search/maps and discovery/direct searches), GMB images can influence customer actions directly. This is because they have a high probability of being in the same place as call-to-action buttons.
As shown above, there is a correlation between a number of images on a GMB profile and number of website visits, phone calls and direct requestions which have been done through Google My Business. The greater the number of pictures you have on Google My Business listing, the higher the chances of leading customers from discovery to conversion. Here are the findings-
- Businesses which have more than 100 images, get 520% more calls in comparison to the average business. While those who have one image get 71% fewer.
- Businesses which have more than 100 images get 2717% more direction requests as compared to average businesses. Those which have one get 75% fewer.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 1,065% more website clicks than an average business. Those who have just one image get 65% fewer.
Businesses with more GMB photos get more views on search and views on maps
In case you are relatively new to GMB Insights, here are some definitions of Google-
- Views on Search: A customer found that business through Google Search, including local pack results through search.
- Views on Maps: A customer found the business via Google Maps.
One interesting thing to note is the far right bar which shows the only time in such results that one metric superseded another when the image count is more than 100. Such a trend was applicable to Google Maps, restaurants, bars, cafes. Google Maps is frequently opened once the user is on the move and looking for places or directions around these than when researching for places to go sitting at home.
Google is taking efforts for making Google Maps more social, usable and decisively more than a way to look for directions. We have the remember the major functionality is the title. It’s more of a map rather than a business directory.
This means that Maps are mostly looking for a place they can visit immediately. High-footfall local businesses, like bars, restaurants and so forth, naturally lend themselves to being photographed and reviewed on a regular basis. Therefore, it is not surprising to see businesses with very high photo numbers also receive more searchers in Maps rather than traditional SERPs.
After viewing the deviations from the median, we find that-
- Businesses which have more than 100 images get 960% more search views than an average business, while those with just one get 62% fewer.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 3459% more maps views than the average business, while the ones might get one 71% fewer.
Businesses with more GMB photos appear in more direct and discovery searches
Again, according to Google’s own definitions of such metrics:
Direct search: A customer directly searched for the address and name of your business.
Discovery search: A customer searched for a category, product, or service which you offer, and your listing appeared.
There is also a visible trend of high images correlating with high numbers for both these types of searches, specifically in the case of local businesses with 101-plus images.
Here are the major findings from analyzing deviations from the median-
- Businesses with more than 100 images receive 713% more discovery searches than average business.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 1038% more direct searches than average business. In contrast, companies with just one image get 71%.
A question of correlation
One thing which we would like again about the charts given above only show correlation, not causation. The number of GMB photos present could genuinely will be affecting such figures. However, it is also possible that a large amount of images on a profile represents a sincere effort to boost local search performance, these efforts could be great contributors to enhancements in views, actions and searches.
Similarly, it is possible that the trend shown is impacted by the type of industry. Businesses which get most pictures are likely to be highly visually and therefore be photographed by customers(e.g. bars, venues, hotels, restaurants). To get these photos, you need a lot of customers. Therefore, high footfalls and a successful business and marketing strategy.
Even with such considerations, these results present a strong argument for investing time and effort into getting more images on your Google My Business profile. This applies to people working with everything from a naturally photogenic beach bar to a law office. Here is a quick look at some of the ways in which your company may be enhancing its GMB photos-
How to get more photos on your Google My Business profile
Post Them Yourself
Doesn’t this seem obvious? As as the original GMB Insights Study shows, 6% of businesses with photos have just a picture of their GMB profile, and a 24% have only 2-5 photos! This is very easily remedied with creative thinking, but you need to keep in mind that be eligible as a legitimate business photo on GMB, it has to symbolize the customer experience. All photos of your staff aren’t going to qualify.
If you can, hold events and invite your customers. This is an ideal opportunity to take some snaps(with customer’s consent). Take photos of interesting parts of your office interior as well.
Convince Your Customers To Post Them
It is highly possible that upon leaving your business, any customer using Google will receive a request for a review from Google. And in case you are doing reputation management correct manner, you will request a review on your own. To make the best use of this, try to encourage your customers to take pictures of their customer experience during it, instead of after the fact. Car dealers are performing really well in GMB, so look to see what their strategies of photo-generation actually are.
For instance, if they have bought a luxury item, tell your sales team to ask if the customer would like to take their photo. To a customer, you’ve done a favor but for your business, you will be putting brand-building bullet inside your smartphone’s chamber. If your business is service related without a physical location such as builder, decorator or plumber, ask to take pictures of your handiwork once it has been completed.
A smart trick for more Google My Business photos
This isn’t going to be effective for all businesses. But experts suggest that creating what seasoned influencers call an ‘’Instagram wall’. Namely a wall or area in your office or building that customers and clients you can’t stop themselves from taking a selfie with. This might be a unique piece of art or sculpture, a large model, a funny mural or an exquisitely designed seated in a garden area.
Experts guarantee that your customers and clients will be uploading photos to your GMB and their social media and possibly, and as the results have shown enhancing GMB performance before you come to know about it.