February 24, 2022
Snappr, a cheap on-demand photography platform taking top positions in Google thanks to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, designed a nifty “photographer cost calculator” to attract more clients.
Snappr deployed a dodgy algorithm to compare the average price of 24 professional photography industries across nearly 100 cities and regions across the United States and Australia.
readers of Interior Imaging probably know Snappr, a tech company founded in Sydney in 2016 that moved to Silicon Valley from San Francisco the following year after securing seed funding from Y Combinator. Snappr sets its prices based on shooting time and number of digital files, and hires outsourced photographers, taking a 20-35% commission on jobs that start from $109 a day. time.
The company is no friend of the professional photo industry. As a “market disruptor”, its pitch is the lowest prices and a simplified booking process. It’s a cheap and seemingly hassle-free alternative to booking an established professional. Of course, independent online reviews tell a variety of stories with some absolute disasters in the mix, and Interior Imaging received reports from Snappr photographers about how difficult it was to work for them with poor communication and low pay.
Snappr SEO in action
Snappr’s “Photographer Cost Calculator” is another example of the tech company’s aggressive marketing strategy.
It should be noted that the results of the calculator are not particularly useful for photographers and photo clients. Its main purpose is to profit Snappr as a cunning SEO deception. The goal is to send anyone searching Google for “how much does a [insert sector] photographer’s cost [insert city here)]’ on the Snappr website.
Repeating keywords and phrases is an important component of SEO, and some experts incorporate them all the time to get a great Google result. Snappr’s marketing has centered around this strategy, aiming to appear at the top of the first pages of Google for commonly searched terms such as “Brisbane event photographer” or “Sydney portrait photographer”.
SEO is a time-consuming, monotonous task that often rewards unsatisfactory writing style for Google’s algorithm, not a real audience. Have you ever wondered why every cooking recipe begins with a frustrating 3000-word rant about the writer’s relationship with food? Blame SEO, which is probably how you ended up on the page.
Photographers have a lot to gain by learning and working on SEO for their website, but a behemoth like Snappr with a bottomless budget can simply outsource or delegate this task to an expert. And one of Snappr’s latest SEO marvels is the Photographer Cost Calculator, a massive list of cities and regions created just to show how much cheaper Snappr’s prices are than those of local providers.
Rather than describe it further, here is a screenshot.
From an SEO perspective, Snappr determined that potential new photography customers — especially those who have never hired a professional photographer before — are most likely to Google the cost of a photographer. When Interior Imaging tested, the best result is still Snappr.
The price issue…
From Toowoomba to Tampa, Florida, Snappr’s marketing and research team compared the “typical market cost” per hour of a professional photographer with their own prices, with Snappr naturally still being the cheapest.
The price of photography can be confusing for new clients. Unlike Snappr, which calculates prices based on the length of a photoshoot and the number of photos, independent photography businesses don’t necessarily fit into a single business model.
One wedding photographer may offer a premium service with a package that includes albums and prints, while another may simply provide edited digital files. Snappr reducing the cost of a wedding photographer to the duration of a shoot diminishes the entire work process, which misleads and poorly educates clients about the extra work involved in wedding photography.
So how did Snappr find out the average hourly cost of a wildlife photographer based in Toowoomba?
Snappr used a “proprietary algorithm that combines revenue data from government data for the Toowoomba area with sample quotes from pet photographer websites.”
It’s debatable whether a Toowoomba-based wildlife photographer has ever done a 10-hour photoshoot or if they publicly disclose prices on their website. But based on data from Snappr, the average wildlife photographer in this regional Queensland town typically charges $225 for a one-hour session, or $1,437 for a 10-hour session.
While a Melbourne based wildlife photographer usually charges $254 for an hour and $1626 for a 10 hour shoot. And in New York, a wildlife photographer costs $318 for an hour, or $2,032 for a 10-hour session.
According to data from Snappr, the typical Sydney wedding photographer costs $3,357 for a six-hour shoot, while an event photographer costs $1,119 and a commercial photographer costs $2,238. For six hours, a Snappr Photographer, on the other hand, still costs either $459 for a measly 36 digital files, or $779 for unlimited files.
These “typical market costs”, as generated by Snappr’s IP algorithm, appear to be extremely inaccurate. And, as stated earlier, it does not take into account many unique factors of each photography job. Instead, it’s reduced to an oversimplified equation where a photographer works for x hours to deliver x number of photos.
But for Snappr, it’s not about providing accurate information. It’s all about that sweet SEO juice.