Microstock Demand Trends for Contributors January 2019

January 25, 2019

Microstock Demand Trends for Contributors January 2019

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Our Demand Quarterly brings you insights into what is trending in search, what our customers are asking for, and what is popular in visual design — straight from the Analytics and Content teams at Storyblocks. By looking into spikes for search terms and content that has experienced increased impressions, we’ve identified new, emerging themes.



A big trend that we see rising is social media. Searches for “Instagram” are up 461%. Searches for “YouTube” and “Facebook” are also surging. Creators are continuing to grow the content they produce for social media and we don’t see that changing soon as the need for design templates, video, and imagery within the creative community continues to grow. The demand for this content could be tied to recent news coverage and cultural commentary focusing on social media and the role it plays in our society and personal lives.


In our last Demand Quarterly, we shared that interest in mental health was actually declining. Well, we actually saw a spike over the last few months with terms like depression, pain, brain, help, meditation, and yoga doubling in search volume. The key thing to note is that content depicting recovery and self-care is a big part of this trend. We still believe it is true that you should not over dramatize the representation of sadness and depression.

Authentic content is still king.


When reality gets heavy, some of us escape to fantasy entertainment. We’ve seen a recent uptick in searches for futuristic, future, robot, fantasy and dream. In recent years, shows like HBO’s Westworld and Netflix’s Black Mirror have popularized a genre with ideas of futuristic technology at the core. The dreamy and often haunting visuals of futuristic fantasy are heavily influencing media and design right now.



For images, we are seeing increasing demand on Storyblocks for backgrounds. From fabrics to silhouettes to natural elements — searches for a variety of textures and patterns including “background” have increased. This indicates that a majority of our users may be utilizing images for graphic design and displays. Images that are conceptually simple and visually crisp will be best suited for backgrounds.


Neon Lights


Copy Space

Screen Lit

Bird’s Eye View


Bold Individualism



IN 🙂

We looked at content types and topics that experienced a large increase in searches over the last three months. These large groupings searches indicate content areas that are currently in need.

Japan – Scenery, landmarks, food, and people from Japan, particularly Tokyo have jumped in searches.

Sports – Fans, supporters, athletes, and arenas are all being celebrated.

Landscapes – Beautifully shot landscapes had the biggest increase in search popularity.


We think the fact that the terms below have decreased in popularity indicates that customers are transitioning away from broadly represented topics and general stock themes.

Business – Traditional business scenes tend to lack authenticity and don’t accurately represent many jobs or workplaces today.

Animals – Customers are more focused on human content lately. Birds, dogs, and wild animals have all seen a decline in search frequency.

Watercolor – While abstract designs remain popular, the watercolor trend seems to be fading.


It’s worth noting that holiday-themed content spikes as the holidays approach. However, there has been a decline associated with holiday-related searches lately indicating this type of content may not be as popular with our customers as it has been in the past. When capturing holiday content, make sure you are producing and uploading early. We start seeing an uptick in searches and downloads two months before the holidays with most of the activity happening one month before. Searches go down to almost zero immediately after the holiday so there will not be demand after the holiday has ended until the following year.


We make it easy to find amazing stock media at a fraction of the usual cost, with the most straightforward, flexible licensing available. As the first subscription-based stock media company, our commitment is to champion fairness and democratize the creative process, because every story deserves a chance to be told.