Attention Marketers: Getty Images Are Now Free

Beautiful photography is a marketer’s best friend—and nowhere is this more true than on the Web, where blogs and publications reign supreme with the ability touch consumers in every corner of the world. Earlier this week Getty Images, the world leader in stock photography, announced that its photos will now be embeddable for free. For consumers, this means the Internet is about to become a much more beautiful place. For marketers, it means opportunity.

Free Getty images will get marketers giddy

Show me a marketer that does not want his or her content to be visually appealing and I will show you a liar (or a fool). Visual appearance of blog posts and articles is of utmost importance, especially in the digital space. It’s no secret that images have a direct effect on a variety of marketing metrics—articles with images get 94 percent more views on average. Why? Because in this Instagram era in which everyone is a photographer, images are the universal language and thus, the key to engagement. Photos have a direct influence on traffic, shares and conversion rates, not to mention the SEO-related benefits that follow.

Now, open up the world’s most lucrative treasure chest of high-quality photographs sourced from each and every continent… and the world is your marketing oyster.

Out with the old, in with the new

I think I speak for bloggers everywhere when I say I’m tired of searching Flickr’s Creative Commons section for a high-quality photo that just might be relevant enough for me to throw into my next post. Despite the 8-megapixel camera of my iPhone 5S, photography has never been one of my strong suits, so supplying my own images is out of the question. And until this week, if you wanted something classy from Getty it may have set you back hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. But with the recent developments at hand, we can kiss these issues goodbye.

Getty’s change… And how to use it

Historically, Getty has made its money selling licensed permission to use photos from its library that is aggregated from more than 150 thousand artists, agencies and media partners. The company’s new policy turns that model on its head. After coming to terms with the reality that many millions of its photos have been shared illegally via the Internet, Getty has chosen to view the content sharing issue as a growth opportunity. If people are going to display its images regardless of permission, Getty must stay relevant by providing consumers with a viable legal alternative. Getty’s answer? Free embed codes for all images.

As of this week, anyone can go to Getty’s website, search for an image of their choosing, copy a simple embed code and paste it on their own publication, completely free of charge. This is big news for bloggers. The image below shows where the embed code can be found. Please pardon the poor handwriting.

So, what’s in it for Getty?

If something seems too good to be true, it more than likely is. With this new initiative, Getty hopes to reinvent its business model by opening up new advertising revenue streams. Licensed images displayed on other websites will remain on a server owned and operated by the company, and information about Web traffic will be sent back to Getty. Perhaps in the future consumers will be exposed to advertisements within the embedded images, but the details of how the company intends to make money from this project are still unclear.

Regardless of how the system is eventually monetized, one thing is certain: marketers now have free access to one of the Web’s most valuable content tools. Like I said before, the Internet is about to become a much more beautiful place for consumers. Beware though, because embedded images will not be allowed in contexts that promote products of businesses. If marketers are careful not to cross the line, Getty will become the best friend of bloggers everywhere.

Also, if you’d like a few more blogging tips and tricks, this Blog Post Optimization Guide will be sure to set you straight. Enjoy!

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