The visual web is here. People discover, share and buy based on what they see online. Photo are fast becoming the number one way people connect with brands. An evolution smart companies like Nike and Red Bull have fast understood, pouring millions into photography. But thanks to a variety of photo tech start-up, it is now easy and affordable for smaller brands to take full advantage of the visual web.
We have compile a short introductory list for those who would like to get their feet wet but do not know where to start.
These companies offer brands invaluable access to photos generated by the crowd. They source large image database like Instagram to find your products photographed in real life situations by your customers. Selecting and publishing the images is then an easy and simple process via their integrated platforms. The result is a 6 to 12 % increase in closing rates.
Best for : E-commerce site, sales conversion, social media monitoring
Not for : service companies, no e-commerce site
Photo agencies have been around for a while. However, a new generation has grown in the last 10 years taking full advantage of the “everyone is a photographer” generation. The result is more authentic, fresher images with less of a stocky style. Constantly refreshed by new content, they offer brands an unlimited source of content for any type of usage, collaterals, posters, ad campaign and social media posting. They are easy to use, along with very affordable pricing and generous rights. A subscription to one of these is a must have.
Best for : Brand recognition, ad campaigns, Content Marketing, Social media
Not for : Photographers
Sometimes the image you’re looking for is just not there. Or it is not current. Or not specific enough. Why not tap into the creative genius of the crowd and let it take a picture for you? Write a brief and let photographers compete to send you their best images. You only pay for the one you decide to use. From very affordable ( around $5 to $10) who tap in the crowd to the more expensive ( $250 and up) who deliver only professional images, there is a wide range to choose from. The rights are generous and the originality of the images make you look like you have your own private photo department.
Best for : Social Media, Ad campaigns, Content marketing, news
Not for :
Made popular by the now defunct Stipple, image tagging is the next big thing in on-line advertising. Everywhere you product appears, a non intrusive tag can pop up on user interaction and show a description, pricing with a link to purchase it. Every image on the internet can become your storefront. Usually priced by CPA or CPE, it is a fast growing segment that can reap huge benefit, especially since it is still new and hasn’t yet suffered user boredom. Engagement rates are very high ( 70%) and CTR are around 7%. A must try.
Best for : Brands with e-commerce , celebrity endorsed products, fashion, furniture, highly visible, small items
Not for : mom and pop shops, start-ups, luxury items
The banner makers
High on Youtube’s ability to monetize content by having a pop up banner appear at the bottom of the video, some companies have brought that model to photos everywhere. As viewers look at pictures on their favorite publication, a banner ad appears with related content. While a bit spammy – the ad is not always relevant to the content- it offers the ability to stick a real ad within photographs.
Best for : Brands awareness, specific timed campaigns, publicize events
Not for : e-commerce, rare items, luxury
Want to know where your products appear, who sees them and how. Using logo matching, these photo tech can locate your product in the far reaches of the internet, social media included, and let you discover how your company is being portrayed. Essential to understand your presence online , see what works and why, they are the up and coming solution for anyone who want to master content marketing. Usually priced by monthly subscription, they are fast becoming a must have for agile marketing departments.
Best for : everyone
Not for : no one
The story tellers
While individual snapshots can be a great carrier of your brand’s message, nothing beats storytelling to capture a faithful audience. For content marketers, being able to tell a story around a product is key to a deep connection with a brand. These apps allow for the simple creation and sharing of beautiful photo essays . Some even say that they will one day surpass single photo social media sites like Instagram in popularity. Time will tell. For now, they are an important tool in any brands storytelling arsenal.
Best for : luxury items, brands with narrative, content marketing
Not for : volume based brands, commodities
The social media
Last but not least and certainly the best know, all the top social media sites are photo centric. For a brand not to take advantage of them is suicide, especially as they can be used for free. All have or are about to have paid campaign option and the result show great promises. Probably still the best bang for your buck for now until your audience moves on somewhere else. Since most of the companies mentioned above work on social media, it is certainly a solid foundation for those who wish to master the visual web. As long as it is not the only solution used. With 58 times more engagement than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement than Twitter, Instagram is the clear winner here, although engagement do not guarantee conversion.
Companies : Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook
Best For : Everyone
The photo tech world is in full evolution and new interesting companies appear all the time ( one of the reason for this publication) so a curious mind is key to keeping up with the possibilities. Like social media platform, not every solution is for everyone and your brand can explode with one while having no results with another. Because it is so new, trial and error is the best approach, as well as continued reading about what works for others.
Author: Paul Melcher
Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.