Bootstrapped and profitable image-sharing platform (and Yahoo acquisition target) Imgur is today introducing a new analytics platform that will allow both individual users and advertisers the ability to track where an image is shared online, and how it’s distributed around the web in real-time. The idea is aimed at furthering the company’s goal of becoming the home for image-sharing and entertainment on the web, the company says.
Founded in 2009, Imgur today sees 128 million uniques per month, equating to 4.5 billion monthly pageviews. It currently hosts over 650 million images and sees as many as 1.5 million uploads daily.
Now the company is making an appeal to brands who want to reach an audience who can help their shared images go viral. The popularity and spread of Imgur photos, of course, is often thanks to Reddit, which has long since been a top source of Imgur traffic and referrals.
Reddit is still Imgur’s top referrer today, though it currently accounts for less than 50% of Imgur traffic now that Imgur is making a name for itself as a standalone destination. (Imgur’s #2 traffic source is direct/Google, followed by social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest).
According to Imgur founder and CEO Alan Schaaf, his company currently generates most of its revenue through advertisements, though it also has some enterprise image hosting partners with Yahoo Sports and Stack Exchange.
There are two types of advertisements on the site today: standard display ads, and sponsored images which appear as promoted posts in the image gallery. It’s the latter which will benefit the most from the analytics addition.
For around a year, the company has been testing sponsored images with nearly a dozen brands, including Paramount (for the Anchorman 2 movie), USA (TV network), Shark Tank (TV show), AMC, Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto), and others. Pricing for these posts is still experimental, the company says, with everything from engagement-based pricing to CPM pricing having been tried at some point. Going forward, Imgur is moving toward a sponsorship model, notes COO Matt Strader.
As a part of this new analytics offering, advertisers will be able to track how their image-based campaigns perform as their images and shared and spread. While before, Imgur would show users the number of total views per image, Imgur Analytics will show referrers, the number of views per referrer, and the first place the image was seen on that referrer. Graphs of the images’ spread over time, including by the hour and day, are also available.
In the first iteration, the product is a simple analytics platform, but Schaaf says that helping brands with recommendations as to how to better make images go viral is something they could foresee as a “natural next step.”
“It might make sense down the line to create a special version for advertisers,” he says. “But right now we’re focused on building the general user base and becoming the best place on the internet to share your image.”
He also notes that Imgur Analytics is for “regular users,” as well – the feature will be bundled into Pro accounts, which are $2 per month at present. That could potentially help Imgur increase its number of Pro users, too.