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Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 11.30.52 AMThe Interactive Image Revolution – How Top Brands are Powering Engagement,” a report presented today at the Pivot Conference, features the first independent analysis of ThingLink interactive image performance and its use by major publishers and brands.

To obtain a specific sense of ThingLink’s impact on ad fundamentals, The Pivot Conference and ThingLink worked together during the summer of 2013 to study ThingLink programs of companies across four core categories: Editorial Web, Editorial Social, Brand Web and Brand Social. In each case, actual, live ThingLink implementations were examined. In each category, 15 ThingLink enabled images were studied.

The results of the study show a dramatic impact for ThingLink images as response generators. At a time when banner ad click rates subsist between .01% and .04%, depending on source, ThingLink delivered an average click rate of between 5.7% and 16%. Not only was the overall response rate breathtakingly high, the study indicated some clear reasons why.

According to Mike Edelhart, CEO of Pivot, who authored the report, “One of the reasons ThingLink’s information-embedding approach has power is because it transforms an image from a single object, clickable or not, into a cornucopia of information choices. This produces an engagement intensification that neither standard images nor content approaches can deliver.”

ThingLink content elements generated “hover” engagement at up to nearly 4X the level of views. This means a ThingLink image can generate four interactions from a single view. At the lowest level, ThingLink produced a 50% secondary engagement per view. Any one of these intensified interactions can be the trigger for a click.

“In short, the information-enabled image appears to be a more powerful tool for generating clicks than any other we have seen before,” said Edelhart.

The ThingLink study shows clearly that the more information options in an image – shown on the table as number of Tags – the higher the engagement intensification. That doesn’t necessarily lead directly to higher click rates, but it certainly increases the potential for maximization.

Another view of ThingLink’s power can be seen by diving into the performance of Groupon’s program in the summer of 2013. Across six different products, ThingLink produced a remarkable click rate of 16% and an intensification of 96%, which means that nearly all of those who viewed the images saw the additional content that ThingLink delivered. In essence, that is a fundamental doubling of engagement; each user sees both the image itself and at least one additional piece of content on each view. We feel it is this essential intensification that drives ThingLink’s high response rates.

In addition to studying how others use ThingLink, Pivot itself used the platform to enhance promotion and information delivery for the Conference.

“We addressed the challenge of bringing a star-studded preview video about Pivot to our home page without pushing other key content below the fold by embedded the video thumbnail into our home page header with ThingLink,” noted Edelhart.  “There was a 41% increase in new traffic to Pivot’s external marketing programs after creating a Thinglink button to promote the program within Pivot’s web header.”

Pivot Conference also used ThingLink to transform the images of Pivot’s speakers into information launch pads.  “With ThingLink we were able to bring web pages, social connections, bios, videos and other speaker background right into the pictures,” added Edelhart.  There was an increase in the average time on the speaker section of Pivot’s website from 3:07 to 4:04. Conference organizers also received a gush of pleasure from Pivot’s generally hard to please speakers to this implementation, as many asked to include additional content within their pictures on the site.

For more information visit ThingLink.com. For a copy of the report visit the Pivot Conference.

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ThingLink and Discovery Communications, the world’s #1 nonfiction media, have announced a partnership for deploying ThingLink-powered interactive images and display ads across the digital destinations for Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and other networks in their portfolio.

To enhance the partnership, Discovery, ThingLink, and Flite announced an integration of ThingLink inside Flite’s Ad Studio. Flite publishers like Discovery, as well as advertisers, agencies and brands with ThingLink premium accounts, can now deploy ThingLink-powered rich media display ads for desktop and mobile through Flite’s ad server platform.

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Discovery is driving digital advertising innovation by utilizing Thinglink’s interactive tagging capabilities to enhance their content and to deliver value for partners. By using custom-designed images, Discovery can tell more compelling creative stories that offer clients and brands the chance to integrate more seamlessly around sponsorship initiatives or custom-produced programs.

Key to their strategy is organically driving views and engagement beyond traditional advertising techniques through SEO and increased fan engagement that extends to social connections.  Discovery will strategically target these new rich media ads to compliment their image-based editorial content thereby creating a cohesive user experience that feels very integrated and blurs the line between content and traditional ad spaces.

ThingLink’s Premium platform enables publishers to serve 3rd party content over images. Publishers can use custom graphical icons on ThingLink images and build proprietary in-image applications for shopping, content marketing, and social connection. ThingLink’s real-time metrics allow for invaluable data collection with click-through-rates that continually outperform standards. ThingLink images are also viewable across social channels and web pages and shareable to social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.  Four of the top ten newspaper publishers and ten of the top fifty global brands use ThingLink for creating and sharing interactive images.  ThingLink publisher partners also include CBS Interactive and New York Magazine.

Flite empowers their publisher and brand clients to easily publish brand assets and messaging directly into their paid media. Flite has an expanding library of third party ad components, which allow clients to easily bring in content from providers such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and more. With the added integration of ThingLink, Flite continues to offer interactive functionality within display advertising for both clients and partners.

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urlWhen Twitter launched Twitter Cards last year, ThingLink was the first interactive image solution approved by Twitter. Thanks to you, we’ve expanded the possibilities for engagement on Twitter beyond even their expectations.

While Twitter continues to evolve and refine the Twitter Card program, the Player Card that enables ThingLink is being scaled back to focus on video and audio solutions only. As a result, ThingLink will transition to an interim Twitter Card.

Here’s how it works:  When you post a ThingLink image to Twitter, viewers on desktop and mobile devices will see the image with icons indicating interactivity just like before. Those icons will no longer be interactive inside Twitter.  A click on the image, title or the URL provided with the tweet will lead the viewer to the interactive image on the user’s channel at ThingLink.com.

Because a majority of viewers on Twitter click back to ThingLink anyway, we think this solution will advantage both viewers and brands sharing ThingLink images on Twitter.

The current Twitter Player Card will remain active until September 30 after which all ThingLink users will transition to the interim Twitter Card.

For more visual information, check our slideshare presentation about this transition.

In the coming months we will be working with Twitter to enable a new Twitter Card type that enables interactive functionality on Twitter and delivers a consistent performance on both web and mobile devices.

Twitter is also requesting feedback from ThingLink about the kinds of Card experiences our publishers want to see inside the Twitter channel. Please send us your feedback on how you would like ThingLink images to perform inside Twitter.

In the meanwhile, if you have any questions about ThingLink and Twitter,  please contact our COO Cyril Barrow.

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ThingLink Mobile, our iOS app, is constantly evolving and here’s a brand new feature for you. In addition to the ability to add video, text and @twitter IDs to your interactive images, we’ve added the ability to add image on image. Now you can tag a photo with images from your photo gallery.   This enables you to tell a deeper story through pictures like the one below, which was  created with an iPhone and ThingLink’s Mobile app.

Journalists, teachers, students, event bloggers and  iReporters can make full use of the new feature when creating interactive ThingLink images. Now you can tell a deeper story and capture fuller moments. Here’s my story about a Blackbird which had created a nest in an unusual place to feed her young ones.

HOW TO BUILD IT: Start out by taking or selecting the image on which you would like to overlay your other images. I had this photo with bikes on it so I started with that to tell my story.

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Tap anywhere on the image to add a tag and select which kind of tag you would like to make. We’re doing image on image so head over to your gallery by clicking on “Choose from gallery”.

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Pick the image you would like to add to the image as a tag.

image_3

 

As usual you can add a text tag.

image

 

Add a few more tags, either using text, video or images, and then you’re done.

image_5

 

The image is now shareable to social channels, and browsable either in the app or online at thinglink.com.

photo 1

How are you using ThingLink Mobile?

 

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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.

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About ThingLink
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

Contact: Neil Vineberg, CMO (+1 631 377 1494)

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ThingLink Mobile is the ideal iOS App for creating interactive images with embedded video players, text links and @Twitter IDs. This post focuses on adding live videos to images.

Take a picture with your iPhone using ThingLink Mobile (or use an existing photo). I saw the band Chicago at Westbury Music Fair this weekend and used ThingLink to capture videos of my favorite songs on images shot at the show.

 Here’s how you can take family and concert photos and capture moments around you daily by adding videos into your images.

1 Open ThingLink Mobile on your iPhone.

2 Take a new photo or use any image from your gallery.

3 Touch the image and two options appear:

photo

 

      Add Text - touch and add any text including #hashtags and @Twitter handles.

   Add Video – touch and you’ll see three video options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now lets add a video.

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  Take a Video – shoot your own 30 second videos.

  Choose from Gallery – add videos you’ve already shot with iPhone.

   Add from YouTube – touch and open up a search on YouTube – add your favorite videos from YouTube.

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS for Adding Live Video – to avoid seeing upside down or sideways videos inside the image:

Shooting video with the REAR camera, hold the iPhone with the HOME button to your right.

Shooting video with the FRONT camera, hold the iPhone with the HOME button to your left.

IMPORTANT: NEVER shoot videos with the camera held vertically.

photo 3If you see an iPhone image overlay while getting set to shoot a video, it means you’re holding the camera incorrectly.

The iPhone image overlay is an error message.  Flip the camera until that overlay disappears. When the image disappears, you’re ready to shoot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image below is what you see if you shoot video and have the HOME button on the wrong side.  The image overlay is an error message. Flip the camera until that overlay disappears.

photo 4

 

Here is what you should see when you’re holding the camera properly.  Now, you’re ready to shoot.

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Good luck shooting ThingLink Mobile videos.  Questions? Write to support@thinglink.com.

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ThingLink has today announced the acquisition of Pixboom, the leading interactive image tagging service for the Swedish fashion industry.

Pixboom, founded in 2008 by entrepreneurs Jonas Sujkerbuik and Daniel Aspers and based in Stockholm, enables interactive images on hundreds of Swedish fashion blogs.

ThingLink CEO Ulla Engeström said: “Sweden leads the way in fashion blogging, and we’re excited to merge our collective expertise to build innovative interactive image services for fashion brands in ways that engage consumers and communities.”

Pixboom CEO Jonas Suijkerbuijk said: “We’re thrilled to be part of ThingLink and look forward to providing Pixboom clients with full access to ThingLink’s rich array of media tags, including sound and video players, e-commerce and social tags, image embeds, and one-click image sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and email.”

Fashion blogger Lovisa Hansson added: “During the days I have been using ThingLink, my blog stats increased, and I personally think that the images now have a different function with these tags that I can add on them.”

Pixboom CEO Jonas Suijkerbuijk will join the ThingLink Advisory Board. ThingLink will also establish a community manager position for the fashion industry.

Since launching in 2010, ThingLink has innovated the interactive image category, enabling more than 20,000 publishers of interactive images, including leaders in music, publishing, entertainment, politics, e-Commerce and education.

For more information visit ThingLink.com.

 

 

ThingLink förvärvar Pixboom och tar steget in i Europas modevärld

ThingLink har i dag meddelat att de förvärvar Pixboom, den ledande interaktiva taggningstjänsten för den svenska modeindustrin.

Stockholmsbaserade Pixboom, som grundades år 2008 av entreprenörerna Jonas Sujkerbuik och Daniel Aspers har möjliggjort för hundratals bloggare att öka interaktiviteten på sina bilder på ett enkelt och snyggt sätt.

ThingLinks VD Ulla Engeström säger: “Sverige banar väg för modebloggningen, och vi är ivriga att sammanföra vår samlade expertis för att bygga innovativa interaktiva verktyg för modeindustrin i syfte att engagera nya konsumenter och grupper på nätet”.

Pixbooms VD Jonas Suijkerbuijk säger: “Vi är glada att vara en del av ThingLink och vi ser fram emot att förse alla Pixbooms användare med full tillgång till ThingLinks samling av medietaggar, inklusive audio- och videospelare, e-handel och sociala bildtaggar, bildinfogningar samt delning till Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr och epost med en klickning.”

Modebloggaren Lovisa Hansson tillade: “Under den tid jag använt ThingLink har min statistik på bloggen gått upp, och jag tycker personligen att bilderna nu har en annan funktion med de bildtaggar som jag kan sätta ovanpå dem.”

Pixbooms VD Jonas Suijkerbuijk ansluter sig till ThingLinks rådgivande panel. ThingLink anställer också en community manager för att assistera användare inom modesektorn.

Sedan lanseringen 2010 har ThingLink förändrat den interaktiva bilden, och möjliggjort taggning av bilder för fler än 20.000 utgivare, inklusive ledare inom musik, förlagsverksamhet, underhållning, politik, e-handel och utbildning.

För mer information besök Pixbooms sida på ThingLink.com.

 

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Originally published by O’Dwyer PR.

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Digital PR photos can be enhanced to include links and other content through an expanding service called ThingLink.

Neil Vineberg, the veteran PR pro who is chief marketing officer of Finland-based ThingLink and heads its North American operations, sees the service as a “generational shift” in how users interact with images.

“The job of photo editor becomes more interesting and puts publishers or PR professionals in a position to keep people on their own content,” he said.

With the service, users can embed website links, video content and pop-up info within images, without learning complicated Flash or programming. The “ThingLinked” images are then embeddable by fans, users and journalists within standard web publishing software, creating a trackable PR image unit.

“Instead of emailing a publicity photo to journalists, you can tell them to ‘take my embed code,’” said Veinberg.

Updates made to the images by ThingLink users are distributed to the embedded content so, for example, if a reporter embeds an ThingLinked image in a story, the creator of the image can update the image’s content.

While adopted early as a publicity vehicle in the music industry, use of the service is spreading to publishing and beyond as infographics and other news illustrations are given interactive and tracking capabilities with the service. The popular rock group Evanescence, for example, used ThingLink for its album release Oct. 11 to include embedded links in an image of the album cover to the band’s Twitter and facebook feeds, iTunes and YouTube, among others.

Mashable recently used the service for an infographic on the iPhone (below) while Canada’s National Post created a powerful graphic of the twin towers embedded with links to the windows where victims of 9/11 worked.

Vineberg believes ThingLink has vast potential for the PR sector because of its measurability, ease of use and ability to include information directly from a client (captions, links to websites) within an image.

“It’s a generational shift in how we interact with images,” he said.

(Roll your mouse icon over the image below to see its embedded content)

   

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One questions that we often get is: How do I tag the images in my post BEFORE I release the post? In short, how do I preview tag with ThingLink? We understand that many bloggers and publishers want their posts to be completely finished before releasing them to the world, so we decided to write down how to do this with some of the most common content management systems such as Drupal 6-7, WordPress, Typepad and Tumblr.

Enjoy!

DRUPAL:

1.  Log into your account on www.thinglink.com

2.  Copy your embed code

3.  Log in as admin into your Drupal site. [yoursite]/users

4. Go to the administration section of your Drupal website, and then into Blocks under Site Building [yoursite]/admin/build/block

5. Add a Block, paste the copied embed code into the contents, and set the input filter to Full HTML.  [yoursite]/admin/build/block/add

6. Set Block title to <none>, and select Show on every page except the listed pages.

7 Finally add the new Thinglink Block to the content zone of your Drupal site to ensure the Thinglink script is loaded on every page. Add it to every enabled theme to use it in both admin and regular sections of the site.

Note:

If you wish to exclude the Thinglink script from a specific page, add the path of the page to the Pages field under Page specific visibility settings.


Drupal 6 ~ Tag Images

1. Create a page that has an image field. Upload an image into it.

2. Click preview, and tag the image.

3. Once you have finished tagging, click Done and then Save the page.

4. As long as you’re signed into your Thinglink account, you can edit the tags for an image without editing and re- saving the entire page.

5. That’s it!

Note:

Be careful that you tag the correct image. Drupal pages have modes such as teaser and full. The images in each mode, if resized or dynamically generated (using a module like ImageCache), would have to be tagged individually. All build modes display in Preview.


Drupal 7 ~ Tag Images

1. Add content from admin dashboard. Select page type which has an image field. Upload an image into it.

2. Click preview, and tag the image.

3. The Done button, is hidden underneath the dashboard. However, the tags have already been saved. So click anywhere outside the Thinglink window to return to the page preview.

4. Save the page.

5. As long as you’re signed into your Thinglink account, you can edit the tags for an image without editing and re-saving the entire page.

6. That’s it!

Note:

Be careful that you tag the correct image since all build modes display in Preview. (Refer previous section)

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WORDPRESS

1.  Log into your account on www.thinglink.com

2.  Copy your embed code

3. Log in to your WordPress site as an admin

4. Install the official ThingLink WordPress plugin

5. Add a new post, insert an image and click Save draft

6. Click Preview

7. Tag the image in the preview.

8. When you finally publish the post, the image will show the tags as you tagged them in the preview.

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TYPEPAD

1.  Log into your account on www.thinglink.com

2.  Copy your embed code

3. Log in to your Typepad blog

4. Once you are logged in, select your blog from the dropdown selection or create a new blog

 

5. After you have selected your blog, click Settings on the right side

 

6. Insert the embed code that you copied on ThingLink’s page into the Blog description field.

 

7. All the images on your blog are now taggable with ThingLink. Click Compose to try it out.

8. Upload an image to your new blog post and click Preview down on the right

9. Tag the image in the preview view.

10. When you finally publish the post, the image will display the tags as you tagged them in the preview.

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TUMBLR 

Now, on Tumblr this is a bit more tricky to do but it works.

1.  Log into your account on www.thinglink.com

2.  Copy your embed code

3. Log in to your Tumblr account

 

4. Create a new blog or select an old one

 

5. Click Customize appearance

6. Click Info and paste your ThingLink embed code into the Description field

 

7. Click Save and close in the top right corner

8. Click to add text to your Tumblr

9. Add an image to your text post by clicking the image icon above the text field. Insert the URL of the image that you want to feature and set the dimensions (it should do it automatically). Unfortunately you need to host the image somewhere else, since Tumblr changes the URL of the image depending on if you view it in the preview or live.

 

10. Click Preview to view the image.

9. You should now see the tag indicator in the image’s top left corner. Tag the image in the preview.

10. When you finally publish the post, the image will display the tags as you tagged them in the preview.

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These instructions will simplify your preview tagging with Drupal, WordPress, Typepad and Tumblr. Blogger will unfortunately not allow preview tagging but normal image tagging works just fine.

If you have any trouble preview tagging please share your experiences on ThingLink’s support forum or in the comment section of this post and we’ll help you out.

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ThingLink, the Finnish-American innovator of image interaction tools, and Savalanche, a Finnish pioneer of social shopping, have joined forces to launch a new image-based social shopping model. The partnership enables anyone to easily set up a web store and become a retailer for their favorite things, and make their shop appear on images. The service is free for both publishers and sellers alike.

“Images have become a platform for many kinds of social activities, one of them being shopping”, says Ulla Engeström, founder and CEO of ThingLink. She continues: ” Collaboration with Savalanche serves our publishers, because it makes social media exposure convert into sales. ”

In the background of the cooperation between ThingLink and Savalanche lies a new emerging demand: consumers looking for inspiration and recommendations online want to immediately locate where the product can be bought while also being served with its price and other information. Speed is of the essence – the less clicks there are between for example an interior design product display and the product’s buy button, the bigger the chance that there will be a sale.

“Our cooperation brings the buy button straight into images – no links or searches are needed”, says Pasi Vuorio, founder of Savalanche. “Savalanche lowers the threshold of founding a web shop. Anyone can set up their own web shop supported by social media in order to for example sell design products through a lifestyle blog. It is a risk-free new distribution model for retailers”, Vuorio continues.

 

(ThingLink offers interactive illustration for your story. Try embedding the image by hovering the top left corner, selecting embed, copying the code and pasting it in your own html code. Voila!)

The revenue model of the service is attractive to both the brand and the web shop owner. A design blog such as Sisutusblogi.fi may become a retailer and start earning sales commission from all sales via their shop. While the consumer might be buying products from different brands on a blog store there is only one payment and one order, even though the merchandise is delivered from many different companies.

Examples of pioneering retailers include Finnish Design Shop,  Valleys and Tiia Arkko.

Teemu Kiiski, the CEO of Finnish Design Shop, welcomes the new service: “Inspiring images are key in selling design. A web store should exist where consumers actually talk about the products, that is on blogs, web publications, and within social media in general.” Teemu continues: “With the help of ThingLink’s tools and Savalanche’s social shopping, Finnish Design Shop will radically expand its distribution channels and reach new customers.”

“Interactive images create new kinds of long-awaited revenue model for web publishers”, says Harri Kangas, founder of sisustusblogi.fi, and continues; “ThingLink’s tools are easy to use, the image tags fit even the most elegant of images and it enables easy image sharing worldwide. ”

“ThingLink currently serves thirty million image views monthly. Our users mainly consist of music and lifestyle publishers ” Ulla Engeström says. “This cooperation adds value to private blogs, long tail producers, and online stores, and we expect new users from these fields”, she continues.

 

(ThingLink offers interactive illustration for your story. Try embedding the image by hovering the top left corner, selecting embed, copying the code and pasting it in your own html code. Voila!)



ThingLink develops image interaction tools that allow content sharing via online images. ThingLink technology changes the way people interact with photos by transforming them into a surface for navigation, commerce, and social connection. Brands, publishers and bloggers utilize ThingLink in their images to share links, drive traffic, and set up image-based advertising campaigns.

Savalanche is a new webstore solution that combines online commerce, social media and affiliate marketing in an effective way. With Savalanche, anyone can set up a webstore – even without any products of their own. Savalanche users can sell their favorite products imported and produced by external product suppliers. For importers, manufacturers and marketers, Savalanche offers a new kind of channel with the ability to reach a wide, targeted consumer base through the different social networks operating on the Internet. Savalanche is owned by Vuole Oy.

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