For many car shoppers, car reviews and image galleries spark a deep interest in a particular vehicle. Sometimes, they even become convinced that they have found The One based on articles and images alone. Once they get a chance to drive the car, however, these same shoppers may find that the real-life experience falls short of their expectations.
One of the reasons this happens is that it can be difficult to pick up on a vehicle’s interior size, proportions, and layout just by reading about them or looking at still photos. Although car pictures galleries attempt to create a cohesive view of a vehicle’s interior, the photos are not fully able to represent material reality and can leave car shoppers with an incomplete understanding of the car. Panoramic interior images, however, stitch disparate photos together to create a complete, interactive representation of what a car shopper can expect. As a result, these images are becoming an important part of automotive marketing, particularly as viewers conduct more of their car research online than ever before.
THE VITAL ROLE OF CAR INTERIORS
Mazda is known for producing some of the best handling sports cars ever made, including the Miata and the MX-5. In recent years, however, they’ve also become known for offering high-quality, near-luxury interiors in reasonably priced cars. Today, the biggest selling points of the brand go beyond performance to include the quality of the materials, fit, and finish. In fact, even the basic Mazda 3 compacts are favorably compared to top tier luxury brands like BMW. Quality inside and out is now one of Mazda’s hallmarks—and reviewers have taken notice. However, the brand has struggled to translate that critical success into popular success. In part, this may be because photos alone don’t do justice to the quality of Mazda’s interiors.
Of course, it’s not just surprisingly luxurious daily drivers that deserve to be showcased. A car’s interior matters to virtually all car shoppers, whether they prioritize passenger comfort, cargo space, or thoughtfully designed control panels. However, written reviews and still images too often fail to capture these qualities in ways that are meaningful for the reader. For example, Honda’s economy-sized Fit is famous for the amount of space and utility that Honda has managed to include on an economy-sized wheelbase. It is also notable for its near-perfect 360-degree visibility from the driver’s seat. Car reviewers rightly highlight these as impressive feats of engineering, but neither can be adequately seen through still photos alone—potentially leaving some would-be car buyers without the information they need to make the right choice. Including panoramic stock images in editorials could change this process entirely.
PANORAMIC STOCK IMAGES AND OTHER INNOVATIVE ASSETS CREATE MORE POWERFUL EDITORIALS
Panoramic stock images put readers in the driver’s seat. With a click of a mouse or swipe of a finger, they’re free to pan around and observe the vehicle in great detail. They can get a closer look at the steering column, the control layout, and the passenger’s seat. They can even get a good impression of what it would be like to look over their shoulder while backing up or checking on a child in the rear seat.
This ability to not only see, but experience a vehicle adds significant value to car editorials. Readers develop a deeper understanding of the reviewer’s remarks, making the review more engaging. But they also no longer have to take the reviewer’s word for it. Instead, they can quite literally see for themselves and make up their own minds. However, panoramic stock images are not the only assets that can offer this benefit to car editorials.
While a vehicle’s interior may be the most critical component of the everyday driving experience, most car shoppers have strong opinions about car exteriors, whether based on practicality or aesthetics. These exteriors can seem larger or smaller than they are when viewed through photos alone. The car’s exact proportions can also be disguised by the angle or the light of a shot—especially in car editorial photography with an emphasis on the dramatic. As such, interactive exterior car spins can serve as an important addition to online reviews. These spins give readers the opportunity to examine a car’s exterior in much the same way that panoramic stock images allow them to experience the interior.
However, interior panoramic images and interactive exterior spins are only the first step in taking car editorials to the next level. Already, advancing technology is opening up even more immersive experiences for car editorials and review portals. Virtual reality, for example, provides a fully immersive experience in which car shoppers can closely interact with a vehicle from anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, augmented reality offers a compelling and accessible way to blend digital assets with their real-world environment on the devices they already use every day. These extended reality (XR) assets can—and should—become a part of any forward-thinking publication that wants to offer its audience the very best in editorial content and grow its readership in the digital age.
ACCESSING THE ASSETS TO BUILD FULL-FEATURE CAR EDITORIALS
Advanced, high-quality imaging is becoming an increasingly important part of editorials and reviews. But to ensure that advanced image assets are successfully integrated in automotive publications, they must be of the highest quality and functionally reliable. Partnering with an excellent stock library ensures that panoramas, spins, and XR assets are user-friendly and look the way they should for optimal impact. Stock libraries that specialize in advanced automotive stock images will also have the quality, coverage, and speed to market needed to create complete imaging solutions for modern car editorials. With these tools, automotive publications can connect to their readers in more captivating ways—and gain new audiences.