26 April 2016

ImageCrowd sees market gap for Asian stock photography marketplace

 From left, the ImageCrowd team: Ou Shiwei, Waverijn, Jiang, Wilson.
Source: ImageCrowd. From left, the ImageCrowd team: Ou Shiwei, Waverijn,
Jiang, and Wilson.
ImageCrowd, a multilingual platform, aims to crowdsource Asian photography by connecting international buyers to Asian photographers in their native language. Through ImageCrowd, buyers can make specific requests and ImageCrowd will crowdsource matching photos. Photographers, be they professional or amateur, can submit their photographs for the buyers’ consideration. Any unbought photos will be collated into a stock photography database.

"The latest trend to programmatic and targeted visual campaigns increase the demand for images more than tenfold. Content driven marketing is rapidly rising, which requires fast, authentic (not staged) and raw photos from real life,” comments Gijs Waverijn, CEO of ImageCrowd.

Overcoming language and copyright issues

Acquiring a common database of images from Asia has been inhibited by two key issues. The first is that local photographers may not speak the languages that buyers speak. The other issue is that of licensing. Local image users rarely respect the photographer’s copyrights, which has resulted in a reluctance by photographers to work as stock photographers, contributing to the lack of quality local photos in Asia.

Danny Wilson, co-founder and CTO for ImageCrowd says, “ImageCrowd seeks to overcome these issues with a language matrix and licensing agreements that are imbedded in the software and processes. In fact, our innovative approach to the language matrix design has been recognised by a grant for innovation, which awarded us funds to further develop the technology.”

The idea for the matrix came from Jiang Ting, co-founder of ImageCrowd and who also founded Bridge86, a multilingual advertising and marketing agency that specialises in copywriting and translation for Asia Pacific (APAC) markets.

"The matrix overcomes language barriers by automatically mapping keywords and tags associated with the images, which means that we can present accurately tagged content to the reader in their native language. The photos are therefore accessible to any buyer, irrespective of their native language,” Jiang said.

The market for photos is huge and growing. Xerox says that coloured visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Waverijn said, "Our research tells us that in 2016 content creators are prioritising creating more engaging content, especially visual content*. Visual assets, including photos, are core to how a brand story is communicated. If supported by relevant images, the content is read, whereas without relevant images, the same content is not read**.

*Four in 10 (39%) of marketers believe that more of their budget should be allocated to the acquisition or creation of compelling visual assets (CMO Council); 73% of content creators plan to prioritise creating more engaging content in 2016, and 55% plan to prioritise creating visual content (Content Marketing Institute)

**Two thirds (65%) of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated (CMO Council); Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images (Kissmetrics)