How Technology Helps Identify Needed Imagery

Posted on 7/20/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In a story by Rick Boost published in Campaign Asia-Pacific, a publication providing insights and intelligence into the ideas, work and personalities shaping Asia’s marketing-communications industry, Kumi Shimamoto, Asia vice-president for Getty Images, says that one of the reasons for the company’s position as the largest image supplier in the world is its audience research methods.

“We try to anticipate what our customers are looking for,” Shimamoto explained. To do this, the company depends on sophisticated analytical tools and keyword logging to examine over one billion annual customer searches.

“If there is a sudden boost in certain keywords that are being searched more than before, then we know that is a recent interest," Shimamoto said. "Especially if their search result is 0, that means there is a demand that we currently can't fulfill.”

For example, with the growth of VR Getty’s search data showed that there was a huge interest in visuals that create the illusion of being within an image’s environment. Or as Shimamoto puts it, “a sense of virtuality.”

Getty provides image creators with the results of such research in very broad terms, but usually provides little in terms of what specific images are being used, or the images in its collection that have been viewed, but not used, by its customers.

Shimamoto said that while keywords like ‘Authenticity’ (847,480 images in the collection), ‘Awkward’ (9,015 images), and ‘Imperfection’ (2,124 images) were up by a major 31% this year, the company’s numbers show that demand for traditional commercial photography - with beautiful lighting and perfect models - has been dying out for years.

“They started to go out of date. People lost interest in photos that look like they were created in a studio. People tend to be more interested in images that look real, authentic.”

In addition, Shimamoto pointed out that, “We're developing a service (using Picscout) where our customers can locate where their pictures are being used and how,” Shimamoto states. The technology will be able to track the entire lifecycle of a picture’s use across social media and advertising channels. Getty Images can then help advise customers on the potential longevity of certain image types.

No mention was made of sharing such data with image creators so they might have a better understanding of how their images are being uses and the degree to which images that are acquired for very low prices are used across a wide variety of platforms.

To read the full story go here.

Copyright © 2017 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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