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Facebook and Shutterstock: The Pros and Cons

Published: March 25, 2014

Author: Melissa Polsky

Within recent months, Facebook released a long awaited feature; an on-site stock library available to advertisers. The partnership with Shutterstock offers access to a huge library of high quality photos, which comes with many pros and some cons. Consider these before making an image strategy decision for your company or clients.


FREE access to 25M high-resolution, high-quality photos.

Access to free photos open up a whole new realm of advertising, especially for small businesses that may not have the funds to purchase stock photos or hire an in-house photographer. This makes Facebook advertising a little more accessible and affordable since companies don’t have to worry about providing their own images.

A large selection covering most industries and topics

Not only are these images free to advertisers, but the selection is all-encompassing and you are almost guaranteed to find an image for any business, service, or product you’re advertising. The large selection allows the advertiser to get creative with image selection and product portrayal.

Accessibility and ease of the platform

Facebook has made it incredibly easy to use the Shutterstock images in ads. The advertiser just needs to select “Find Images” on the ad creation interface; search for the desired term, and voila! Hundreds of images at your fingertips. In addition, if an image doesn’t quite fit the dimensions of the ad product, Facebook has added a “reposition image” feature, so you can ensure the image meets your standards.


Every advertiser has access

While this selection of images is great, it’s important to keep in mind that your competition also has access to these photos. When your competitors are advertising a similar product or service, there’s a good chance you may use the same images. This makes it difficult to set yourself apart on Facebook, especially as overall competition on the platform continues to increase.

There is no option to edit the photos

It’s typically a good idea to test out borders and text on your Facebook ad images; however, that functionality is unavailable with these photos. The variety and selection is vast, but it lacks the ability to personalize the images. Having access to the images is a great benefit for companies, but it seems like the bare minimum.

The stock photo collection is not available for page posts

With recent algorithm changes, it has become more important to boost page posts for engagement. Photos play a large part in determining engagement rates, so it is unfortunate that the stock photos are not available for this ad type. Advertisers will still need to rely on their own images for page post engagement ads.
Overall, there are some great benefits to the Shutterstock partnership, and it opens up new opportunities for advertisers. However, there are some features that could be improved on, and I would not recommend solely relying on the Shutterstock collection, but rather adapting a hybrid strategy between in-house photos and the stock images.
Happy Facebooking!

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