As former Luminate executive Chas Edwards recently said in Adage: “It’s the pictures, stupid.”
Image share rates are soaring. Pinterest, SnapChat, and Instagram are attracting legions of new users. And as a result, marketers are scrambling to put together an effective visual content strategy.
Enter ThingLink, a free, easy-to-use tool that makes images interactive. You can add small icons to a layer on top your images that reveal additional commentary, multimedia content or social media profiles when clicked.
For example, New York Magazine uses ThingLink for their long-running “Approval Matrix”; the service allows them to embed explorable content within each cultural touchpoint. And every day, The Washington Post posts an image of the Front Page of its print edition and uses ThingLink to allow readers to click-thru to articles.
ThingLink images attract a 5.7% and 16% interaction rate, according to an independent study released during the 2013 Pivot Conference. That’s about a thousand times higher than traditional display ad images. “When you see ads, you pretty much say, you don’t want to go there you don’t trust them,” said Neil Vineberg, ThingLink’s CMO. “Photos start with trust — because we all use photos for our own expression.”
For brands, there’s a low barrier to adoption, You can create ThingLink images from existing images, and it only takes a few minutes.
Plus, ThingLink is not only useful for editorial content. You can also create a path-to-purchase journey from within the image — that’s great news for retailers. Groupon uses ThinkLink to create product images that invite shopper interaction. ThingLink even can be incorporated into display advertisements, creating the potential for a new wave of display ads that people actually want to click.
On the editorial side, another benefit is the data ThingLink delivers. Right now, no one’s quite sure of the single best way to measure content. But ThingLink’s premium version provides a wealth of analytics. You can get data on your Thinglink images no matter where they are subsequently embedded and shared on the web. That’s good news for data teams.
One pitfall for ThingLink right now is that it does not fully integrate with social media sites like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram, and it can be tricky to get it to work with non-VIP WordPress blogs. Images do retain interactivity on Facebook, but appear as playable videos. Considering ThingLink’s considerable game-changing potential, social media sites will hopefully open up their APIs to incorporate the technology. But still, with little downside, brand publishers would be smart to start experimenting with ThingLink today.
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