More photos have been taken in the last 12 months than in all human history, according to Chas Edwards, head of publisher development and chief revenue officer for Luminate, a platform that allows publishers to link advertising and e-commerce to online images.
While most of these photos probably are not spectacular, images account for a growing proportion of online traffic,
with up to 60% of page views for publishers coming from photo galleries, Edwards told the audience at the second day of the American Magazine Conference in San Francisco.
With stats like that, it’s no surprise that traditionally text-focused publishers are increasingly embracing images as anchors for targeted advertising. Some 90% of Luminate's revenues come from "CPM advertising," versus just 10% from e-commerce applications.
For example, one campaign that Luminate executed for Garnier -- which targeted female viewers looking at online images of
celebrities with radiant complexions with ads for skin cream -- produced a 116% increase in favorable sentiment for the brand.
Some of Luminate’s recent campaigns for advertisers have pushed the boundaries of image-based advertising beyond obvious approaches, such as linking ads to pictured products.
In one campaign for McDonald’s, Luminate promoted the fast-food chain’s annual Monopoly game by delivering ads highlighting the feeling of “winning” to people looking at ads of athletes and celebrities celebrating their own victories.
Another campaign for M&M’s, called “Signs of Affection” and timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, linked targeted ads to images of people
expressing love and friendship. Here, Edwards noted that Luminate carefully filters images to maintain a safe environment for brands.
Looking to the future, Luminate expects strong growth driven by the growing popularity of image-based social media. Pointing to the rise of Pinterest and Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram as indicators of the trend, Edwards confidently asserted that “images are the currency of the social Web.”