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How Unsplash could revive the photography industry

Written by Aimene yellas and Houssain hadj

Marketing graduates and experimentors Aimene and houssein share digital marketing tips and strategies to help you level-up your marketing knowledge

March 22, 2021

Unsplash is a platform made for high-quality stock photos that are being done by content creators and photographers to be used by designers and content creators, So everyone could go there and get stock photos for free, you can listen to the full episode directly here:

Recently this company introduced a new business model, which is presented by the headline: “people don’t trust ads, people trust people, and brands don’t need more ads. They need more people sharing them in a trusted context.”  Therefore, this headline is telling a lot about what they are heading to and how they intend to monetize their platform.


The triggers to create this strategy:

There are millions of people who are visiting Unsplash daily to download high-quality photos and images free. The increasing number of Unsplash users make the owners of this platform think about a strategy that can monetize it, and the good thing is that they think about a new strategy of ads that can help brands to raise their awareness, or to increase sales because nowadays the classical type of ads is no more efficient because people are getting annoyed more and more by this type of ads that are not bringing value to people or people don’t trust them anymore. So Unsplash, think about create this strategy, which is a hybrid of ads, and inbound strategies to raise its efficiency.


Why it is efficient

People now are more engaging with organic content rather than ads posts and the fact that this concept is a hybrid of inbound and ads strategies makes it look like organic content which raises its efficiency and brings you the most qualified customers.

Other Business models Vs Unsplash business model

The other business models that are in the industry are limiting access to quality photos to make money from them. 

Nevertheless, as Unsplash said from the beginning that its mission is not that, they do not want to limit the photos to the people so that they can make money. But their mission is “photos for everyone” and so they didn’t choose to copy what is being used in the industry, but they created their own model based on advertisements.

This is going to be a lot better than what we have seen before. As I guess more and more platforms will join this new era of photography and it might revive the industry of photography


How this concept is going to help the brands? 

Shorten the purchase process: since it’s based on an inbound strategy it will bring you the most qualified customers who are ready to consume your product or service which lead to shortening the purchase process as a result.

Push companies to be creative to afford the best content: this strategy will create high competition between businesses and where there is competition there is creativity.

Creating equal opportunities to companies to thrive: this concept will allow companies to raise brand awareness and give advantages to those who provide better content.

Ads that will appear only in the desirable place in your search page: For example, Harley-Davidson is one of the companies that joined this strategy. Therefore, if you are someone who is looking for some motorcycle images, once you type, motorcycle on the search box a lot of high-quality images of Harley-Davidson that can create in you the desire to consume this product will appear to you that lead to increase sales and generating an efficient branding strategy.


Is this strategy for big or small brands?

For now, this strategy is only for big companies that have a marketing budget of more than 50k dollars so it’s not for small businesses. Many companies like Google, zoom, Harley Davidson, and others have already joined this initiative.


It’s true that this concept is created for bigger companies, but every company that has a product especially if it is selling it online, could do something to just make use of this strategy on the same platform. 


For example: if you have a product that you sell, let us say a microphone, you can make photos for it or even hire some photographers and put those photos in this platform and this could help to raise the brand awareness of your product.

The more people that are going to see that your product is being used, the more it is going to help your brand. Therefore, it can also work for small brands.

Moreover, In the near future, many other platforms will adopt this strategy as well and maybe they will create it for small businesses or for both small and big ones.

How this strategy is going to help photographers and content creators

This strategy can help either the photographer or the content creator as a designer or something else, but it is going to help them in different ways. 


For photographers

Let’s say you are a photographer and you’re taking photos that are being used as stock photos, you can either put them in a monetized platform, for example Shutterstock to sell them to the public. Moreover, you might be able to sell a photo or two, and the more you create, the more your photos could be used and you could make some money out of that.


Alternatively, you can make those photos for this kind of platforms that are free, so in the first place, they won’t give me any money, but in the near future with time those photos are going to create a personal brand for you And those platforms are going to spread my photos to wider audiences.


It is a choice of whether a wider audience free or a tiny audience that you could sell directly to.

In addition, for me, I will prefer a bigger audience that is not really monetized for now, but that I can monetize later. 


Unsplash is doing just that. Now photographers are being hired by companies in order for them to take the photos including their products. In addition, as I have heard, they pay them really well, a lot better than when they were monetizing their images on those other monetized platforms. 


For content creators

As a content creator, it’s not the same thing because as a content creator, this kind of platforms like Unsplash is going to help you take photos for free, you should mention the creator and thank him/her for those pictures that you took And it could be really helpful. 


In the future, this concept will push the photos to be better and better because those type of platforms are going to be monetized and the photographers will be motivated to take more and more photos, and also new photographers will be joining.


is it the same as social media advertisement or how it defers?

This type of ads will appear only in the desirable place in your search page For example, Harley-Davidson is one of the companies that joined this strategy. If you are someone who is looking for some motorcycle images, once you type motorcycle on the search box a lot of high-quality images of Harley-Davidson that can create in you the desire to consume this product will display in your search page, unlike social media ads that can appear everywhere ‘videos, feed…” which can harm your experience online.

Partnerships Unsplash is doing

Unsplash is actually working with thousands of brands in different kinds of partnerships in different ways. 

So this platform is not only for this strategy that we are talking about here, but it’s working in many different ways. 


And the first one is to help content creators acquire different skills by doing a partnership with Skillshare that consist of going to Skillshare to get one month for free as a trial. And for this month, they made a challenge, That you acquire some new skills and with those skills, you’re going to create photos and designs and put them in unsplash. And by the end of the month, they are going to select five to win a prize that is one year for free on Skillshare. 


There is also the one that we have been talking about to help the brands get more visibility for their products. Some of them are Harley-Davidson, Samsung and Google.


Other partnerships unsplash is doing with zoom and other companies by providing it’s library of photos on their plateform to get a better user experience. Taking the example of zoom now you can change the background on zoom with a photo from Unsplash directly. 


I am Aimene Yellas, I graduated this year with a marketing degree from Ecole supèrieur de commerce, and I live on passions, the biggest ones yet are marketing and gardening.

My name is Houssaine Hadj, I graduated this year with a master degree in marketing and communication from the school of higher commercial studies (EHEC-Algiers) what made me more attracted to marketing is the fact that it requires analytical skills to treat and process data to come up with accurate results.

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