Monetizing Photo Content with Vibrant Media

Consumers have gotten used to seeing digital advertisements near articles they read, before videos they watch or next to search results on the Internet. Now they will probably start seeing more ads placed on photographs.

On Thursday, Vibrant Media, a digital advertising company, will announce that it has bought Image Space Media, an image advertising company.

“We believe that the user goes to the Web to be engaged in content,” said Cella Irvine, the chief executive of Vibrant. “That content is a combination right now of different media formats.”

Ms. Irvine said that images make up about a quarter of the content online. “Up to this point, those images have been unmonetizeable to the publisher and unavailable to the advertiser,” she said.

Vibrant will focus first on ads for the automobile industry, where digital ad spending has been increasing steadily, and which relies heavily on images.  “The ability to click on an auto image is advantageous for both the brand and the consumers,” Ms. Irvine said.

A network of digital publishers are providing images for the advertising, including The New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, Vertical Scope – a publisher of automobile Web sites – and Scripps news sites like and the Examiner.

The technology behind the ads will give brands the opportunity to choose whether they want to put ads on images featuring their own products or another brand’s products.

Neville Manohar, the head of digital marketing at the Chrysler Group, said the company had been using image-based advertising for all of its brands, including Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler and Fiat.

Users can see ads on images for Chrysler vehicles in one of two ways: by browsing content online that contains images of Chrysler vehicles or by clicking on highlighted words in articles (like SUV) that are linked to images of the company’s vehicles.

“Images give the consumers a rich media content experience,” Mr. Manohar said.  “Most people tend to be more receptive to visual cues versus verbal cues.”

The company monitors the click-through rates for images, as well as whether potential customers ask for more information, call for a quote or search inventory on the company’s Web site. While Mr. Manohar declined to share specific details, he said the initial results were “extremely successful” and that Chrysler would continue to invest in the technology.

“We are a performance-based company,” Mr. Manohar said. “Ultimately it comes down to dealership sales.”

While Vibrant’s initial focus will be on automobile ads, future segments could include travel, beauty and entertainment, Ms. Irvine said. Advertisers will pay for their ads to be placed on images and Vibrant and the Web site publisher will spilt the ad revenue based on image views or clicks.

Photo galleries are another target for the technology, said Jesse Chenard, the former chief executive of Image Space Media who is acting as a consultant during the transition.

Mr. Chenard estimates that for some publishers, more than 50 percent of page views come from photo galleries. Instead of placing an ad over an image, publishers can choose to place an ad midway through the photo gallery.

“A lot of users are used to the fact that publishers need to make revenue from somewhere,” Mr. Chenard said.

A Chrysler ad overlayed onto an image of a Chrysler vehicle

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