There’s lots of news from Imgur, one of the internet’s most popular places for funny images and GIFs, today. The site has officially launched native advertising, and made significant changes to its Android app.
Six-year-old Imgur, which was bootstrapped until it raised $40 million last year, is already profitable, but the company revealed last year that it planned to introduce ads to boost monetization. The site has a strong community of more than 30 million users from the U.S. alone, and the company is trying to balance efforts to increase revenue with appeasing its fans.
“We love hearing stories [of how fans love the site], and that’s why we want Imgur to be around for a really long time. To make sure it does, we’re going to start experimenting with promoting certain posts from a select group of businesses,” the company said in a blog post.
Promoted posts will rollout slowly, they’ve been trialled for at least a month, but I’m not seeing them on Imgur.com right now.
“We want Promoted Posts to be just as good if not better than the other posts that have made their way into your stream. We hope they’ll entertain you, inspire you, and help you discover cool things you didn’t know about,” the blog post read.
The good news is that there will not be pop-ups, autoplaying or timed ads, while Promoted Posted are marked with a blue label in the top right corner (as below) to show that they are paid content.
Users are never happy to see their favorite sites embrace ads, but Imgur seems to be acutely aware of that and it is doing its best not to piss its community off. The real test will be the reaction when they are visible to more users, of course.
That’s not quite all. Imgur’s Android app has got a pretty major makeover. It is now a native Android app, rather than a port from iOS, and it includes a redesigned, card-based gallery that makes viewing photos a lot slicker, with the comments section right in place too. There are other nice design tweaks across the app, which include a revised upload section from where you can add photos from your device’s camera or library.
The company tested the revised Android app with 1,000 fans — it even shared a sneak peak — and said the feedback had been “positive”.
“This is our first-ever fully native Android app, built completely from scratch,” said the company’s lead developer Andrew Shu. “We wanted to create a better mobile-first experience, so you can quickly and easily tap into Imgur from your commute, when you need a laugh or some support, when you’re bored, and anytime you get an itch for Imgur.”
Speaking of Imgur on mobile, its iOS app got a new release back in March, but it was missing an upload feature. That’s being remedied. The company is waiting on Apple to review an update that will let iPhone and iPad owners submit pics right from their device.