Stock image website Unsplash launches digital ad platform

The photo database wants to help brands 'dominate the visuals' shared online.

Unsplash, a stock photo database that reaches more than 300 million people per month, is launching an ad platform to help brands align their images across relevant searches on the site. 

Early partners of Unsplash for Brands include Harley-Davidson, Google, Square, Timberland, Boxed Water, Brandless, Le Creuset and The Honest Company. Other brands will be accepted to the ad platform on an invite-only basis. 

Unsplash’s research shows that its brand campaigns tend to exceed at least 50 million impressions in 10 weeks.

According to Unsplash Co-Founder and CEO Mikael Cho, the top issue in digital marketing today is that ads feel like a punishment and people hate them. "We knew that with Unsplash dominating the visuals being used across the internet, we could offer brands a positive and authentic opportunity to engage with people at scale, in a way that doesn’t feel like any of the traditional ad products," he said. 

Unsplash serves up more than 65 million image downloads per month, which the company claims is more than Getty, Shutterstock and Adobe Stock combined. 

"As a brand disrupting the packaged water industry, we were thrilled to be one of the first partners on Unsplash's new ad platform. We all know the importance of visuals in today's digital environment," said Boxed Water is Better CMO Rob Koenen. "Through commissioning some of our favorite photographers, we're setting a new norm of sustainability, allowing creatives everywhere to have access to images free from plastic bottles harming our planet."

Leann Livingston, brand marketing manager at Square, said the company aims to show business owners how they can help them sell products and services regardless of how big or small they are or what they sell - and Unsplash has been a great partner in that. 

"By featuring photography of Square hardware across restaurants, salons, and retail stores, we were able to expand our brand through organic imagery," she said.

In the past, Square had tested product placement on TV and in film, but never in photo services, and since working with Unsplash, the company has been able to increase its brand awareness and reach more business owners. 

Livingston added: "At Square, we believe in finding new and better ways to do business, and that’s exactly what Unsplash does. They created a new and innovative platform for stock photography that is beneficial to both businesses and consumers. Our mutual commitment to finding new and better solutions made our partnership a natural fit."

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