Adding to our family of 70+ rich media tags, we are now excited to announce our new Instagram profile tag that allows readers to view Instagram user profiles directly within images and videos. This gives publishers and brands the opportunity to tell engaging visual stories with a rich combination of media resources.
ThingLink has closed a $2 million financing round for offering interactive image solutions to publishers and brands, it was announced today. This is ThingLink’s second funding announcement since launching in August 2010, to bring total funding to $3.9 million.
The round was led by Helsinki-based VC firm Inventure Oy. Participants include social media and ad tech angels from New York and San Francisco including Terrapin Bale, led by former Tumblr president John Maloney, the CEO of Fremantle Media N.A. Thom Beers, the managing partner of Trimaran Capital Dean Kehler, SoundCloud CTO Eric Wahlforss, and TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.
“ThingLink has proven itself as a highly engaging media solution that enables new and creative ways for brands and consumers to connect through images. The team and I are excited to have onboard investors and advisors with strong experience in media, publishing, advertising and entertainment,” said ThingLink founder and CEO Ulla Engeström, who will relocate from Helsinki, Finland to New York City to lead the company’s growth.
As part of this funding round, ThingLink also announced new appointments to its board of directors, including Entertainment Media Ventures CEO Sandy Climan and former Facebook media sales director Craig Coblenz.
Former Meredith Publishing and Newsweek/Daily Beast executive Hillary Billingsley was also appointed as chief revenue officer.
Over 220,000 publishers, including 4 of the top 10 newspapers and 10 of the top 50 global brands, use ThingLink to transform images into an interactive surface for rich media – including video players, social links and other apps – that makes content discoverable, engageable and sellable.
Hundreds of automotive, fashion, entertainment, B2B and consumer brands have used ThingLink to introduce products, educate customers, and deploy shoppable images with interactive video, music, and information links.
ThingLink is the most popular platform for creating and distributing interactive images for blogs, web pages, social channels and advertising. ThingLink is used by more than 220,000 publishers in 46 countries, including leading newspapers and magazines, brands, digital agencies, universities, schools, and long-tail bloggers. For more information visit: ThingLink.com and ThingLinkPress.com
‘stache media has been using ThingLink for artists like Slightly Stoopid, Kate Earl, Ryan Leslie, RNDM, Santana, Steve Vai, Paloma Faith, and many others. CMO Neil Vineberg recently sat down with Ava Ryerson to discuss fan engagement and ThingLink.
Q: How are you using ThingLink?
We are using ThingLink as a tool for our media partners and artists. ThingLink images give media partners added value, interesting content and something cool for their site. It’s also great for fans to engage with artists’ content in different ways.
Fans don’t have to leave an image to engage with content because all the magic happens within the image. Fans also don’t have to enter their email address to discover, click on and play content. It’s very low commitment with high engagement.
Q: What kind of content are you putting into photos?
We put music tracks, videos, social links, and anything we think will be fun for the fan really. If there’s a special or exclusive sound byte from the artist that you can only find within the ThingLinked image, that’s something that we also try to use as well.
Q: What do you find to be the most effective and popular content for engaging fans? I think people want to hear or view content, so audio and video players are most effective. If there’s a personal message from the artist, that is super valuable to the fan. ‘stache media is part of RED Distribution so we partner with retailers all the time. Depending on the campaign and the artist, we’ll tag the image with Target or an independent retailer for pre-orders. A lot of the time we are tagging images with retailers like iTunes, Amazon, Best Buy, and FYE. For the band RNDM, we tagged Newbury Comics who had a special pre-order package for the album.
Q: What kind of engagement are you seeing, and how does ThingLink engagement differ from other media platforms? We work with a wide variety of genres so it depends on the artist. Our highest engagement came from a Jason Aldean Billboard magazine cover that actually lived on the Billboard website, country blogs and radio station sites. We’ve been sharing image performance with artists and it makes them want to get more involved as well. ThingLink is an interesting tool for the artists because images can also live on their Facebook page or band site and its just another way for them to reach their fans, so they dig it.
Q: Does it always start with a great image?
Yes, the image has to be compelling. It’s a way for us to get the album cover out or an interesting press photo of the artist.
Q: What about the new ThingLink?
It’s important for us to have all of our artist images available within one area where people can find our artists and media tools. I think the new social integration is great , we see new fans engaging and discovering images. I love the fact that I get notifications when I have new followers and when people are commenting on images.
We’re working with Kate Earl on Downtown Records; her album cover is very compelling and beautiful and the video for One Woman Army plays within the image. It’s awesome to see fans discovering her album and video through ThingLink. The layout is interesting as well…very similar to a Pinterest or Tumblr. There are tiles of the images and its easy to digest for viewers. Also stoked on ThingLink going Mobile!