Just about the time we thought we were starting to suffer from social media overload, Pinterest has officially arrived on the social scene, attracting huge traffic and generally glowing media coverage. For the month of January alone, the number of Pinterest visitors was almost a third of the traffic to Twitter.com—nothing to sneeze at.
Fueled by the explosion in the number of images being shared online (thanks in some part to the success of Instagram) and a ton of pent-up demand for interest-based social networks, Pinterest users organize and share images they find on the web and create "pinboards" around topics including fashion trends, cooking recipes, interior design, etc. Pinterest's rapid ascent into the social strata has reemphasized something we’ve known since the day the first camera was invented way back in the 1800s—pictures matter.
But Pinterest is only the beginning when it comes to how we use images to share ideas and content. The latest wave of technology will allow users to interact with photos like never before—and that is great news for consumers and businesses alike.
Turning static images into interactive experiences
Imagine visiting a website and stumbling across an image of a beach in Maui. From that image, you'd be able to access a Wikipedia page about it, share it with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, make travel arrangements, and even pull up related images using Bing’s image search capabilities—all formatted so you don’t have to leave the image or open up five different new browser windows. The latest round of apps being introduced by Mountain View-based startup Luminate make it possible to enrich photos with functionality like never before.
Launched in 2009, Luminate was the first company to make it possible to scroll over an image and see where you could buy any of the products featured in the image, complete with a link directly to the merchant websites. Their newest offerings, which include 11 new image apps, will allow users to do such things as view movie trailers relevant to actors within an image via YouTube, purchase mp3 files from Amazon.com related to artists in the image, and quickly donate to worthy causes like the American Red Cross, St. Judes, and Toys for Tots.
"Images are a central part of the online experience no matter the category—fashion, cars, sports, travel, home, food. Although much of the talk right now is around mobile and social trends, we want to make image strategy the 'new new' thing," said Bob Lisbonne, Luminate CEO.
By adding interactivity to what were once one-dimensional static images, Luminate’s new apps make it easy for visitors to start and engage in conversations that not only improve their user experience, but also drive traffic to, and time spent on, company websites. With an average of four new visitors per shared item, and seven seconds spent per image per visitor, there’s a pretty good change image strategy will in fact be the "new new" thing.
[Images courtesy Lumniate]