Jobbing business development managers are fully aware that good online advertising sales are born on the back of creative verve and technological innovation. Brand engagement platform GumGum has a thing or two to teach Adland about both.
When artist and techno-geek merge
Founded in Santa Monica in 2007 by its now CEO Ophir Tanz, the startup now has offices in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and the UK. All of which tells the savvy business development manager that it boasts something worth paying attention to.
Tanz’s fascination with photographs and his expertise as a computer scientist, cross-fertilized one another to develop proprietary image recognition and targeting technology capable of click-through rates 20 times greater than traditional ad networks. And this was before images took off in a huge way, courtesy of initiatives like Instagram and Snapchat. Essentially, GumGum converts photographs into interactive experiences by overlaying them with Flash, banner or text ad units, which appear as the mouse cursor touches the image.
Back in 2007, photos were appearing on the Net ubiquitously, but Tanz believed that people “didn’t really know what photos were about.”
He told Forbes magazine in a recent interview:
“In order to layer a service on a photo, you need to understand what’s in the photo. If we could understand programmatically what’s in many photos at scale — you can do something with that.”
To infinity and beyond?
Tanz has been proven right: GumGum monetizes photos for publishers with in-image advertising, a totally novel idea when he first came up with it six years ago. Today, it works with upwards of 1,000 premium websites and reaches no fewer than 350 million unique visitors every month. And it’s been profitable since 2011. Advertisers and brands on the roster include Clinique, Disney, Ford, Samsung, Toyota, Samsung and Toyota, while publishers include the Daily Beastm Shape and U.S. News & World Report.
In-image advertising is far less obtrusive and jarring than some of those ads that leap out of the screen at you to shake you by the throat. All while you’re simply trying to get to a news article. This type of advertising doesn’t interrupt the consumer experience because the ads fit seamlessly within the viewing of a webpage.
Most business development managers would strongly agree that this idea does, indeed, have wings.