Imgur, an image-hosting service that grew into a Reddit favorite, has experienced an interesting rise to success. From humble beginnings as “the simple image sharer,” the site has become a successful network in its own right. Now under the leadership of its new VP of sales and marketing Steve Patrizi, the site is set to expand its advertising in a big way.
“We have seen an evolution of Imgur from an straight image posting service to now almost a visual storytelling community. People are creating, discovering and discussing news stories through images. And so our challenge is to teach brands how to become that kind of visual storyteller,” Patrizi told the Verge.
Previously, Patrizi worked for LinkedIn as VP of marketing solutions and for Pinterest as head of partner marketing. Pinterest’s marketing campaigns have been so successful, some like Forbes have predicted that Pinterest could grow to eclipse other networks like Facebook and Twitter in the coming years. Pinterest has also shown some remarkable engagement and the ability to provide context-rich images, which even Google struggles to do.
Imgur has also seen high rates of growth and even higher rates of engagement. Some of the advertising ventures from Imgur have gotten engagement as high as 12 percent, which utterly dwarfs some Facebook pages, which despite having over one million followers, can see rates engagement rates as low as 0.3 percent. Imgur’s average is between one and four percent, which is still outstanding.
Emboldened by these initial successes and Patrizi’s expertise, Imgur will be expanding its native advertising offerings come mid-2015. “We are going to spend the first half of the year hiring a sales team, hiring customer support people and investing in a creative team who will sit down with marketers,” Patrizi says.
Imgur has a large and engaged audience: 150 million monthly active users, who view 60 billion pages a month. Given that the service’s initial trials with sponsored content have been so promising, it seems like the perfect time to expand the offerings to generate greater revenue. And given Imgur’s channel-hopping nature, it seems like more ads would fit right in.