September is a good month for selling Microstock. The best month of the year to make money with stock images and stock footage is December, but only if you have a lot of content created with Christmas and New Year’s Day subjects. I used to shoot big cities, especially European capitals and September has always been profitable for me, maybe because the summer slow down ends and many buyers start new projects and need my clips.
Many blogs about Microstock start by writing a dozen of regular articles and from a certain point onwards they publish only sales reports, and that’s exactly what I don’t want to do with mine. But anyway, let me give you a tutorial where I show you some good information about how to check sales statistics on Shutterstock.
Connect to submit.shutterstock.com and click Earnings:
and then click Earnings Summary:
You will land on a page where you can find a dropdown menu: “Show statistics for“. Click the month you’re interested in (September 2016 for me):
Here you are:
Not all the information is important for stock footage producers. You don’t care about downloads, because you’re not a buyer. You probably don’t care about referrals (at least if you did not invite any video maker to sign up with Shutterstock). You just care about footage.
Let’s focus on this part:
There are two kinds of sales:
- Cart Sales.
- Clip Packs.
Guess what the 30% of $79 is!
$23.70, which is the number you usually find under Cart Sales.
Clip Packs are cheaper:
- 5 full HD clips for $369 (you save $26)
- 10 full HD clips for $699 (you save $91)
- 25 full HD clips for $1.699 (you save $276)
Buyers can use these clips with a standard license.
There are also custom packages (unlimited downloads, unlimited users, …). That’s why you can find strange figures.
Let me tell you something I realized while writing this post. Sometimes I still edit videos, and when I need stock footage I used to buy it from other agencies, so for the first time in my life, today I pretended to be a buyer interested in Shutterstock content. To do that I had to create a new account, even if I am already a contributor (unlike what happens at Pond5).
I tried to simulate a purchase. When I landed on the Clip Packs page it was almost impossible to go to Single Sale page. I assume they promote their subscriptions program. That’s a business strategy and I think they have the right to do what they want to in their site. That’s why I earned $1,088.18 on September 2016 on Shutterstock, 67.53% thanks to Clip Packs.
By clicking on a day in the first column of the report, you can check what clip you sold. You can be surprised by that. Here’s a special case:
It’s the dream of every contributor: $120 for a single sale, which is also the reason why I wonder why photographers do not shoot videos, as they sometimes earn only 1$ for selling a stock image.
Custom packages can be sold with an enhanced license which costs more:
As we’re talking about stock footage, the only difference I can figure is that you need an enhanced license if your budget is bigger than 10k. Really, I don’t understand why someone has to pay more because he has a larger budget, at least at the supermarket nobody will ask you to pay more if you’re rich.
I said I earned $1,088.18, but actually, before getting the money, from that amount non-American residents like me have to pay taxes on content they sold to American customers:
On the remaining amount we must also pay taxes in our countries. The funny thing is that Pond5 makes no withdraws while Videoblocks takes taxes from the entire income, independently if the buyer lives in the USA or not. Anyone can tell me why?