## 05 Mar 2008 Calculating Your Sell-Through Rate

Ron Chapple‘s recent forum posting about his first year of experience selling his iofoto collection in the microstock market shared many insights for other microstockers. One of the metrics Ron used was his sell-through rate.

### What is Sell-Through Rate?

Your sell-through rate is the portion of your total portfolio of photos that have sold at least once. The calculation itself is simple. Just divide the total quantity of images that have one or more downloads by the total size of your portfolio.

When used in conjunction with other metrics your sell-through rate tells you the commercial appeal of your portfolio. If your sell-through rate is low, you’re not creating photos that buyers want to buy. If your sell-through rate is high, you’re on target and creating images that are in demand.

As Ron pointed out, sell-through rates tend to rise over time as less popular images are eventually downloaded. So when comparing sell-through rates across agencies the length of time with the agency will be a factor.

Another factor when comparing your sell-through rate across agencies is how well the agency reviewers did their job. Ideally they would only accept images with good prospects for selling, so your sell-through rate would be high. While specialized subject images sell less and popular subjects have more competition, this metric still provides an insight into the reviewing performance of each agency when compared across various portfolios.

### How to Find the Figures

Some agencies make it easier than others, but here’s a cheat-sheet on where to find the quantity of images you’ve sold at each of the top microstock agencies.

iStockphoto | View the My Uploads page and sort by downloads. Scroll through the pages until you reach the end of the images with at least one download. Calculate the quantity of downloaded images by multiplying the number of pages by 20 (the number of images per page), plus the number that remain on the last page. |

Shutterstock | View your Download Stats and choose the By Subscription Download tab. Go directly to the last page then calculate the quantity of downloaded images by multiplying the number of pages by the number of images per page, plus the number that remain on the last page. |

Dreamstime | View your Earnings – it’s shown on the right in pink text (Showing 1 – 20 of XX images). |

Fotolia | View the Uploaded Files tab in the My Files page and sort by downloads. Scroll through the pages until you reach the end of the images with at least one download. Calculate the quantity of downloaded images by multiplying the number of pages by the number of images you’re currently viewing per page, plus the number that remain on the last page. |

StockXpert | View the My Images page and sort by downloads (DL). Scroll through the pages until you reach the end of the images with at least one download. Calculate the quantity of downloaded images by multiplying the number of pages by 20 (the number of images per page), plus the number that remain on the last page. |

BigStockPhoto | View the Most Popular Purchased Photos on the Commissions tab – it’s shown at the top of the list (1 – 50 of XX). |

123rf | View the Downloaded page in the Photographers tab and select the Images (Cumulative) view. Scroll through the pages until you reach the end of the images with at least one download. Calculate the quantity of downloaded images by multiplying the number of pages by the number of images you’re currently viewing per page, plus the number that remain on the last page. |

LuckyOliver | Click the Downloads box from the Home Base page and sort by downloads. Scroll through the pages until you reach the end of the images with at least one download. Calculate the quantity of downloaded images by multiplying the number of pages by 25 (the number of images per page), plus the number that remain on the last page. |

Crestock | View the Images Sold page, linked from the My Account page. Choose the Sales Overview tab and select View Results for All Time. The number of sold images is written directly below “View Results for..” |

### My Sell-Through Rate

My average sell-through rate is 38%, which is quite low. However, if I take the average at my top six agencies, the average jumps to 53%. This is still quite low, which tells me I need to improve the commercial appeal of my photos.

For comparison, Ron reports that iofoto averages 60% on the top performing sites and 95% or higher on a subscription site.

Here’s my sell-through rate breakdown.

### What’s Your Sell-Through Rate?

Do you calculate your sell-through rate? What’s your average? How do you use this metric?

## Marek

Posted at 12:03h, 05 MarchAfter reading the Ron’s article I started to calculate the sell-through rate for my stuff. I think that this metrics has more more sense for an established mature portfolio.

Anyway, some numbers for my ~100 picture 3 month old growing portfolio:

IS – 21.8%

FT – 13.0%

DT – 12.5%

## James

Posted at 13:55h, 05 MarchGreat post Lee! My numbers are much lower than yours (13% overall, 72% SS, 40% IS, 11% DT, 6% FT, 3% BS, 1% 123rf). Hopefully because many of my images are new!

## John

Posted at 14:24h, 06 MarchYou can combine your approval rate with your sell through rate to find the chance that a new stock image will produce money.

example:

approval rate = 25%

sell rate = 50%

chance of earning money from an image = 12.5%

However, I think It might be more useful to look at how much income an image produces.

Example, only count images that have produced $10 (or $100)at a site. Then your sell through rate would go down, but you would have a more realistic idea of the probability that an image has will produce $10.

## Jeff

Posted at 10:16h, 19 MarchMore interesting stuff. Lee – thanks again for posting and sharing your numbers.

My sell through rates vary dramatically as well:

SS = 90%

IS = 75%

DT = 55%

FT = 28%