Diving Into the Data:
Optimal Image Count
This is the second of a series of articles we have produced and published in conjunction with Tamebay, revealing how sellers can maximise visibility and conversion on eBay - the result of a deep dive into eBay listing performance in relation to eBay's listing best practices. There will be 4 parts to the series:
In our previous article, we reviewed the eBay Gold Standard for high performing listings. A key area of the Gold Standard is Images, and eBay recommend using a variety of high quality images, with multiple angles, plain backgrounds and no text overlays. Using our ListSmart engine, we mined data from over 12 million eBay listings from over 5,000 sellers to determine the optimal image count to net the highest average sales in each category. Learn more about the ListSmart engine here.
Images are one of the most important parts of your eBay listings as eBay users are much more likely to click on listings with good images and also much more likely to buy from those listings. Good eBay images can create interest, supply vital information about a product and help create trust between buyer and seller.
Because buyers can’t physically hold your products, seeing them is the next best thing. Good product photos can allow a buyer to get a clear sense of exactly what a product looks like, but also of the quality of the product. This can then have a massive influence on their ultimate buying decision.
85% of listings (excluding vehicles) feature only a single image
eBay listings can have up to 12 images for free, so you might expect the majority of sellers to take advantages of this. However, our research shows that over 85% of listings (excluding vehicles) feature only a single image. That is a lot of missed opportunities!
As part of our mission to help eBay sellers create better listings, we wanted to determine how top selling eBay listings use images differently to those listings which struggle to get seen and make sales. Using the ListSmart engine, we analysed over 12 million eBay listings from more than 5,000 sellers to work out how many images you need to get the highest possible sales.
In this article you will find out:
- How many images you need to use for your eBay listings
- How optimal image count varies by category
- What to do for listings covering multiple items e.g. multipacks
- eBay’s best practices for imagery on listings
- How to create high-quality eBay images without a professional photography studio
- The answers to common questions about using images on eBay
So read on to arm yourself with everything you need to know to make sure the images on your eBay listings are the best they can possibly be for maximum visibility, click-throughs and sales.
How many images do you need for the ideal eBay listing?
the highest converting eBay listings have 8-10 images on average
Our analysis of single item (i.e. non-variation) eBay listings revealed that 85% of listings across all categories (excluding vehicles) feature only one image. This number is slightly lower in certain categories. For instance, 57% of listings in Clothes, Shoes and Accessories and 49% of Jewellery and Watches have only a single image.
We found that the highest converting eBay listings have 8-10 images on average. However, this number varies depending on the category. In the Music category, listings with 4 images have the highest average sales, whereas Garden & Patio listings with 12 images have the highest average sales (same for Vehicle Parts & Accessories, Sporting Goods, and Home, Furniture & DIY).
Why this is good news for your eBay listings
Fewer than 2% of the listings we analysed in any category had the optimal number of images. On the other end of the spectrum, only 0.2% of the listings analysed feature the maximum of 12 images.
This means there is a major opportunity for you to make sure your listings stand out from the crowd. Use at least the optimal number of images for your category and you increase the chances of your listings converting viewers into buyers.
What about eBay listings selling multiple items?
Although our analysis focused on single item listings, the same principle applies to variation, or multi-variant, listings e.g. multipacks.
Variation listings tend to have a much higher number of images, as there will be an image for every type of variant (e.g. red shirt, blue shirt etc.). However, keep in mind that buyers are still expecting to see multiple images of the actual item, as well as images of each variant.
Understanding eBay’s imagery best practice guidelines
Before adding images to your eBay listings, it is a good idea to make sure you are familiar with eBay’s picture policy.
The picture policy states that pictures should be:
- Large and clear
- Show any flaws in the item
- Include watermarks only for ownership or attribution
According to the guidelines, pictures must not:
- Misrepresent the item for sale
- Be placeholders with messages such as “no image available” or “currently out of stock”
- Be stock photos if the item being sold is used, damaged or defective
- Have borders around the photo
- Measure less than 500 pixels on the longest side
- Contain additional text, artwork or marketing materials
- Contain watermarks used for marketing, that obscure the item* or that contain information about the product or your service
*eBay recommend watermarks take up not more than 5% of the image and have a transparency of 50% or less.
How to take professional quality eBay photos
The quality of your images can have a big impact on how successful your listings are. Good quality photos make your products look more appealing and also increase customer confidence by suggesting that you are a professional, high quality seller.
Use the following guidelines to create photos which look professional and get results:
Take high resolution images
Make sure to use a decent quality digital camera and choose a medium or high file size. This will result in much better quality pictures and means they should be compatible with eBay’s zoom function (which only works with high resolution images).
Use a plain, uncluttered backdrop
This makes sure attention is focused on your item. A plain white wall or piece of white card can make a good background.
Turn off your flash
Flashes tend to create shadows, reflections and other issues which make pictures less appealing. Turn off your flash and try to create diffuse lighting to reduce shadows and reflections. This can be done by placing a thin white sheet or frosted glass in front of your light source, pointing the light away from your product or creating a lightbox.
Keep the camera steady
Even the smallest movements in the camera while you take your photos can result in blurring. Make sure you keep the camera steady either by using a tripod, or by resting the camera on a solid surface, such as a table.
Frame your photos properly
Keep your photos as clear as possible by making sure the product is in the centre of the frame and fills it as much as possible. You don’t want a load of black space around the product as this will make it appear smaller and less appealing.
Use multiple angles
Ideally you should show your products off from every possible angle. Make sure to include all important details and features and remember to make sure any flaws are clearly shown if selling used or damaged items. Detailed close up shots will also help to highlight your product’s key features.
Avoid unwanted tinting
Different types or lighting and camera filters can result in images that do not reflect the true colours of your products. Make sure to use neutral or full spectrum lighting and the Auto White Balance setting on your camera to ensure your images truly reflect your product’s appearance.
How to get professional quality eBay images with no budget
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a full professional photography studio set up to take their product photos. To help you compete with the top selling listings, we wanted to show you how you can take professional quality photos yourself without a big budget.
Take a look at our how to guide on taking professional quality eBay photos without spending money to see how it’s done.
Frequently Asked Questions about using images on eBay
There are a number of questions eBay sellers commonly ask about using images, so we decided to provide some answers to help clear things up!
How big should eBay photos be?
eBay images should be at least 500 pixels on the longest side. The recommended eBay photo dimensions are 800-1600 on the longest side. If your photos are a high enough resolution, eBay automatically enables a free zoom/enlarge function. However, this is only an option if the image is over 800 pixels on the longest side.
Is there an eBay photo size limit?
There is no set size limit for eBay images, although as stated, 1600 pixels on the longest side is recommended. However, when uploading photos through eBay’s Basic Uploader there is a file size limit of 7MB.
What is the ideal eBay profile photo size?
eBay recommend that you add a photo and introduction to your seller profile. Cover photos should ideally be 1200 pixels wide by 270 pixels tall and up to 4MB in size.
How do you resize pictures for eBay?
There are various programs which allow you to resize images for eBay. Photoshop is the most commonly used, but GIMP offers a free alternative with most of the same functionality, including image resizing.
How do you rotate pictures on eBay?
Again, there are a variety of tools which allow you to rotate images. Photoshop and GIMP are good options, but you can also do this with basic tools such as Paint if necessary.
How do I put a picture on eBay?
There are two main ways to add images to your eBay listings. Using the eBay photo uploader in the listing form, you can either upload pictures from your computer or you can add a photo from the web by using the “import from web” option and specifying the URL you want to take the image from.
Can you copy images from other eBay listings?
Although you may be able to use stock photos from the eBay product catalogue, it is against eBay’s rules to copy images from another user’s listings without their permission. If you believe someone has copied photos from your listings, you can report them to eBay with an Image and Text Theft Notice of Claimed Infringement.
How do I watermark my photos on eBay?
There are various ways to watermark photos if you are worried about people stealing them, with programs like PowerPoint and Photoshop offering easy options. If you do choose to watermark your images, make sure you comply with eBay’s guidelines on watermarks.
These state that watermarks should:
- Be for ownership and attribution only
- Not distract from the image
- Not serve a marketing purpose, e.g. containing details about your item or customer service
- Be no bigger than 5% of the total image
- Have a transparency of 50% or less
- Contain to links
Optimise your eBay listings with ListSmart
Images are just one aspect of your listings that can make a big difference to the success of your eBay listings. Make sure you check out the other parts in our Ultimate Guide to Creating Top Selling eBay Listings for a complete overview of everything you need to know to create winning listings.
And for bespoke advice on optimising your listings, don’t forget to check out the ListSmart app.
ListSmart uses the latest in data analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence to examine your listings and compare them to those of the Top Sellers in your category. It then gives specific recommendations for how to improve your listings to make them more like those of the Top Sellers.
These recommendations can be applied directly in eBay or downloaded for use with all of the leading third-party listings management applications.
The end result is that your listings quickly become more competitive which can lead to a significant increase in your sales.
Want to find out more? Sign up to try ListSmart today.