Shutterstock ties data to content

12 September 2014

NEW YORK: Shutterstock, the fast-growing platform for stock photos and video, is tapping the surge in demand for this content among brands and publishers by using a "super-analytical" approach to understanding its audience.

Jon Oringer, Shutterstock's founder/ceo/chairman, discussed some highlights of the company's current strategy, and how it addresses changing customer needs, while speaking at a recent conference.

He reported that gathering data relating to what visitors to Shutterstock.com view, click, search and download - along with tracking their path to finding the right image or clip - is essential to enhancing its service.

"We collect all the data we possibly can and store it. We never know what we're going to need," he said. (For more, including further details of the comapny's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Shutterstock taps into an internet marketing phenomenon.)

Every 24 hours, Shutterstock accrues a terabyte of behavioural data - equivalent in size to over 470 hours of broadcast-quality video. And this material extends all the way down to the 40 million images sold via its site.

"A lot of … images give us a ton of metadata that drives all the [search engine optimisation], drives our international search algorithms, and drives the looks and feel of the website also. So we're constantly making improvements to all this stuff."

Such a "super-analytical" approach, he continued, is also employed when assessing the impact of the company's own communications.

"We do a lot of marketing. From the very beginning, it's all marketing. We started with Google – with Google Adwords – then ramped up," he said. "Today, we spend tens of millions of dollars a year on marketing."

By carefully scrutinising its output, the firm has gained vital knowledge about essential subjects like customer acquisition.

To take just one example, the organisation has learned that for every photo customer that is attracted by paid-for media, two arrive through free channels, a figure rising to four when discussing video.

Data sourced from Warc