Programmatic Advertising At Getty Images

Posted on 1/31/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Getty is adding Programmatic Advertising content to its site. In June 2016 CEO Dawn Avery pointed out, that “Over 97 per cent of visitors come to our websites to look at – not purchase – amazing imagery.”  Getty is trying to find a way to earn some money from this 97% of users.

According to Getty people are often drawn to the site not because they have any intention of ever buying images, but just to view some of the world’s most compelling news, sport, entertainment, archive, travel or creative imagery.

The only way they can get some money out of this 97% is to also show them ads that hopefully they will click on – and click enough times to convince the advertisers to pay a decent advertising rate to place their ads on the Getty site.

Getty is telling its photographers, “We see potential to increase our revenues and your royalties by growing and monetizing these consumer visits, so to appeal to them we will be presenting curated content which will be linked to advertising.”

Currently many of these ads are appearing next to editorial content.

If you want to see how this works go to the Getty home page and click on the “Superbowl” image or any of the specifically curated galleries of content in the “featured groups” of images below. At that point you get a selection of thumbnails. Click on any of them and you get a preview along with the standard pricing information. However, if you scroll down you come to “Similar Images.”

Click on any one of the Similars and you see an ad at the top of the page. Scroll down and you’ll see a grayed section with three enlarged thumbnails and an arrow to view more. Next to this gray box is another ad.

Scroll on down to the “Latest and Trending” images. They may have nothing to do with your original “Superbowl” search, but in this case, at least, they all have to do with sports. Click on any of these images and the searcher can easily embed any of them on the searchers own site.


Getty says, “we are now testing programmatic advertising through our Embed offering to support the free usage and the photographers and content owners who create the content. Testing is on a limited basis, using an overlay ad format that is highly engaging – to see an example check out our FAQ. The aim of the test phase is to ensure the technology is working, gather data to establish pricing models and monitor the impact on usage and adoption. These tests will be monitored carefully in order to inform our next steps.”

Readers may want to review some of the articles here, here and here on the embedding program since it was launched in 2014. Six months after the launch Craig Peters, Senior VP, Business Development and Content told the audience at a PACA conference that images had been embedded on about 60,000 websites and this resulted in almost one billion page views. It is unclear what has happened since then. While these images receive greater exposure, it is unclear whether that has resulted in much increased revenue for Getty or creators.

In this pursuit of advertising revenue Getty will need to be careful not to interrupt the purchase path for visitors who do choose to license imagery. They will not want to make it more difficult and time consuming for them to find the images they want to buy.

Getty says, “We’re just getting started so there are only a few sections where you can view ads now – if you are interested in seeing a live example explore our 2016 In Focus pages.” Frankly, I can’t see much use of ads on these pages and not nearly as much as through the editorial search I described above.

Programmatic Ad Revenue & Royalties

Contributors will be paid royalties on these advertising revenues according to current agreements. Payments will be calculated on the number of times an image is viewed alongside paid ads over a 24-hour period. Tracking between images and paid advertisements is already in place, but since programmatic ad revenue traditionally works on a “cost per 1000 views” model, royalties will be processed on a quarterly basis. They will accumulate quite slowly in aggregate and are likely to result in small incremental royalties for individual contributors.
Getty intends to provide more detail prior to the first quarterly advertising royalty payout, which is scheduled to appear on royalty statements in the second half of 2017.

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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