Unsplash launches digital ad platform with a difference
Stock photography platform Unsplash has partnered with Google, Harley-Davidson, Square and Timberland to launch its new branded offering.
Unsplash has today unveiled ‘Unsplash for Brands’, a brand partnerships model designed to capitalise on the stock photography platform’s ubiquity among online publishing outlets. The new project will see the library host branded stock photos.
The stock image site launched in 2013 as a blog on the now Yahoo-owned Tumblr. Its library has since grown to contain more than 1.5 million photos, collectively enabling more than a billion creations.
Downloading photos on Unsplash has always been free, requiring no obligation of accreditation from the user. According to the platform, its library is now the image source for the majority of articles, presentations, blog posts, graphics and social media across the internet – more than the rest of the industry combined, including Getty Images, Shutterstock and Adobe.
“Since the photos are free, for the longest time, a lot of people asked: ‘How will Unsplash make money?’,” writes Unsplash cofounder Luke Chesser in a blog post.
Unsplash for Brands launches with the stock service partnering with Google, Harley-Davidson (pictured above), Square, Boxed Water Is Better (pictured at top), Le Creuset and Timberland.
Excited to share what we’ve been working on with @Timberland over the last few months.
This is the kind of “full circle” partnership we’ve imagined since the beginning of Unsplash. Timberland, contributors, creators. Everyone wins.https://t.co/PZowbimwWb
— Mikael Cho (@mikaelcho) November 30, 2018
“We picked each brand because they were trying to accomplish something incredibly difficult: shifting mainstream perception.”
The partnership model works by linking creators with brands to form creative, and featuring their images as sponsored posts in the Unsplash feed and in relevant searches. The aim from there is for brands to organically earn image placements around the web through user and publication sharing.
According to Unsplash, its stock photo database reaches more than 300 million people and sees more than 65 million image downloads per month.
“As a brand disrupting the packaged water industry, we are thrilled to be one of the first partners on Unsplash’s new ad platform,” says Rob Koenen, CMO at Boxed Water is Better.
“We all know the importance of visuals in today’s digital environment. Through commissioning some of our favourite photographers, we’re setting a new norm of sustainability, allowing creatives everywhere to have access to images free from plastic bottles harming our planet.”
Most other stock imagery websites involve some form of user-side payment to access the image library, however the Unsplash’s credo is to never charge for its photographs. Unsplash CEO Mikael Cho says the pay-to-download model risks “stalling creativity”.
“Rather than doing what everyone else has done before because it’s safe, we think it’s possible to create entirely new markets with vastly more opportunity for everyone,” Chesser declares.