Unsplash is building an ad business around branded photos – TechCrunch


Unsplash has built a library of one million photographs, all available for free. He is now ready to start making money and helping his photographers earn extra income in the process.

Don’t worry: the company isn’t about to start charging for its photos, which CEO Mikael Cho says may “stifle creativity.”

It is also not going to display banner ads on every page of its website. Yes, it unveils a digital advertising company, but Unsplash takes a specific approach: working with companies to create branded photos, which will then show up on desirable searches.

Square, for example, could download photos from the Square Register, which would then show up when Unsplash users search for “cash register” and other terms.

Brands working with Unsplash will get a top spot in relevant searches, as well as on their own brand channel, but Cho said the real impact only starts on the Unsplash website.

“This stuff doesn’t just live in one centralized place,” he told me. “More and more advertising platforms, it’s a walled garden. [With Unsplash]the goal is to spread it: people use it in their presentations, it will end up on blog posts. »

With Square, for example, if someone writes an article about “the future of the cash register”, the Square Register suddenly becomes an obvious choice for the main image.

“Square is known for its iconic ‘little white card reader,’ but our hardware has evolved into an ecosystem of products that helps business owners of all sizes,” said Leann Livingston, Square brand marketing manager, in a press release. “By showcasing Square hardware photography in restaurants, lounges, and retail stores, we were able to extend our brand through organic imagery.”

Cho also said that in about half of the campaigns so far, the brand has also commissioned Unsplash photographers to do the work. For example, Boxed Water commissioned photos of their product in fun backgrounds.

“By commissioning some of our favorite photographers, we’re setting a new standard for sustainability, empowering creatives everywhere to have access to images free of the plastic bottles that harm our planet,” said Boxed Water is Better CMO Rob. Koenen in a statement.

Unsplash for Brands is currently invite-only. The company also says Kantar Millward Brown’s research has shown that its brand images can reach “mass scale” while outperforming TV and digital advertising benchmarks by up to five times.


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