Speaking to Marketing Week at the Dmexco conference in Cologne, Flickr’s head of product Markus Spiering said the company is currently recruiting for 30 new members of staff, including some who will focus on building and promoting the two key growth areas of “mobile” and “bringing intelligence to images”.
Flickr’s “renaissance”, as Spiering calls it, began in 2012 – shortly after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer joined the company – when the site rolled out a major new user experience complete with bigger photos and more opportunities to discover content.
This was followed by the launch of iPhone, BlackBerry and Android apps (and their subsequent updates) plus the rollout of a terabyte of storage to all users.
Mayer said this May following the rollout of the redesign she was on a mission to “make Flickr awesome again”.
The move to substantially increase the amount of cloud storage offered by the site in particular has increased the previous average of 3.5 million photos posted on the site per day to anywhere between three to seven times that amount in any given 24-hours, Spiering says.
Next on the timeline for Flickr’s turnaround is to improve the advertising it offers brands – a move that could prove fruitful ahead of rival Instagram’s launch of advertising, which has been mooted in the coming months.
While Spiering would not reveal the ad format roadmap, he suggested “native advertising” that does not compete with the natural content on Flickr is one area of current testing.
Just three weeks ago Flickr acquired image recognition startup company IQ Engines to help with its search experience, which is also likely to be better monetised by ads so brands can tap into current interests and trends with paid sponsorships.
Flickr already offers a range of advertising and sponsorship opportunities but it is understood the new formats will serve to be more in tune with its updated design and mobile experience, to increase engagement with ads – and the revenue derived from them.
Spiering says Flickr is also working harder to help marketers engage with the creative community directly as users of the site themselves. He says advertisers on Flickr need to think “as users, not marketers” and cited Purina, Starbucks and Sony as examples of brands using the site well to engage with both professional and amateur photographers.
He adds: “Social media as a ‘check mark’ is usually not a good enough position. Flickr is a very trusted place where we respect privacy and make users feel comfortable.
“Brands that are successful on Flickr make an effort in community management and are very transparent. If you do it right you get a lot of attention but [unlike some other social networks] you can get users to create content for you and they mention your brand.”