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Adobe Creative Cloud sees competition in stock photos

  • Published on July 15, 2016
Adobe Creative Cloud sees competition in stock photos

Digital advertisers are likely to bypass Adobe Creative Cloud stock photo options and instead use many of the millions of photos being made available by Google. Stock photo agencies take images from many photographers and make them available to advertisers and marketers for a fee. Advertisers creating digital ads for distribution on Google’s ad platform are unlikely to continue to use images made available through Adobe Creative Cloud. The images from Adobe are licensed on a per-use basis, with license fees being paid to Adobe for each image. Advertisers placing digital ads on Google’s expansive ad network can instead use any of the millions of images available from Shutterstock. Large advertisers can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in licensing fees by using the images made available by Shutterstock and placing ads on Google’s network instead of those from Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

While advertiser’s can still select their own images, those available from Adobe require a separate payment, while Google is making millions of Shutterstock images available without the license fees. Google also offers technology to automatically select images that match the text and topic of an advertisement, and even change or remove the image based upon how an advertisement performs when using different images in online digital advertisements placed on Google’s ad network. Adobe’s Creative Cloud offers none of these capabilities, providing only the option for designing static, single advertisements.

The founder and CEO of Shutterstock said in a statement, "We're excited that Google has selected Shutterstock as the partner to add a new visual element to these powerful ad formats." A Director of Product Management at Google, Woojin Kim, indicated that Google expects advertisers to be able to create more dynamic ads with access to the Shutterstock image library.  With the addition of Google to the list of advertising platforms using Shutterstock images, the firm has captured a significant portion of the advertising market, with firms such as AOL and Salesforce already using Shutterstock.

Adobe Creative Cloud acquisitions put under pressure

Google’s announcement places Adobe’s strategy of offering licensed photos under pressure, although the competition is welcomed by designers. Adobe recently purchased stock photo service Fotolia and immediately shut down the low cost photo subscription service. Users were required to pay higher prices to access the same images. In an effort to get more money from Creative Cloud subscribers, Adobe offered to license the use of images from their newly acquired library, but at higher prices. Designers working in Creative Cloud apps, or sitting in Creative Cloud classes have likely seen Adobe’s in-app promotion of their recently acquired stock photography service.With new competition from Google, Adobe may need to rethink its strategy of charging higher prices for the use of their images. Online advertisers are likely to avoid Adobe’s images altogether, and instead migrate to Fotolia for their image needs.

Adobe in unusual position: facing competition

Adobe is not accustomed to competition, with tools such as Photoshop and InDesign dominating their market, the company has been able to charge a premium for their products and services. Adobe has attempted to integrate the sale of stock photography into all their Creative Cloud desktop products on Mac OS and Windows computers. While these efforts may bear fruit for Adobe for printed advertisements, online digital ads are less likely to provide any meaningful growth for Adobe due to the competitive offering of Shutterstock’s image library being made available from Google.


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.