Most popular microstock keywords – 2019

Every day the ImStocker database is growing. The number of analyzed works has already exceeded 33 million. It is enough to do analysis of how keywords are used, how they are located in the tops of search result and how many downloads each word has. The article also provides source files so that everyone can do an analysis and make the own conclusions 😀

About ImStocker database

ImStocker database is widening while ImStocker Keyworder tool is used. After anyone enters a search query, keywords are loaded from microstock agencies and then they are saved in the database.

Content of database is distributed as follows:

Keyword frequency

First, let's see how often certain words are used. Images (photos, illustrations and vectors) will be considered separately from the video:

As you can see, the most common words are repeated from year to year (2017, 2018) and there is no very special difference between the keywords of images and videos

However, the frequency of keywords reflects their popularity among stockers, but not their demand among buyers. In order to assess the demand, we will use two methods: 1) analysis of the Shutterstock's Top (i.e., the search result without a request) and 2) analysis of the number of asset downloads on Dreamstime and CanStockPhoto

Analysis of the Shutterstock’s Top

In order to minimize the impact of seasonality, we will analyze not only works that are present in the Shutterstock's Top today, but also all works that were presented there for a little less than a year.

The main topics of the images: business, people, technology, holidays and the others
The main types of the images: backgrounds, icons, banners, templates, patterns, textures and the others
The main topics of the videos: people, nature, travel, technology, business, lifestyle and the others

Analysis of the download count

Many microstocks do not show information about the number of downloads in public. However, we can draw parallels between the popularity of keywords and topics with mictostock agencies where this information is displayed: Dreamstime and CanStockPhoto.

Let's summarize for each keyword the number of downloads of all assets that contain it:

This picture is very similar to picture of keyword frequency. This is understandable, since the more works means the more downloads

Moreover, if we compare the first 500 keywords in the sample, they will match with 70% keywords from Shutterstock’s top for images and with 81% for videos

Both metrics do not take competitiveness into account. Let’s divide the obtained values by the number of keyword repeats. We will consider only keywords that are repeated at least 15,000 times for images and 5,000 for videos to reduce the statistic error

The main topics of the images: people and their relationships, teamwork, business, medicine, religion and the others
The main topics of the videos: science, medicine, nature, people, business and the others

Analysis of the growth in the number of downloads

However, the total number of downloads poorly reflects the dynamics of demand. Let's see how the number of downloads has increased for the year for each keyword

These keywords showed the maximum increase in the number of downloads.


Evaluation of the popularity of keywords allows you to identify relevant topics when planning to create new works, search for your niches, and also choose the most popular keywords. It is important to understand that there is no one guaranteed way to evaluate the popularity. It is necessary to analyze many data sources and to take into account the specifics of the subject of your work.

ImStocker Keyworder can help with choosing profitable keywords. This constantly improving tool shows which keywords are the most promising. This can help you to increase incomes, but do not forget about the quality 😀