Social Scanner: Why Yahoo may be interested in Imgur

December 12, 2013  |  Russ Martin  |  Comments

What Imgur has to offer: A young, fast-growing audience

Business Insider reported on Monday that Yahoo is in serious talks to buy the photo sharing site Imgur. If true, Imgur would be the latest in a string of about two dozen acquisitions the company has made since Marissa Mayer took the helm in July 2012.

For those unfamiliar with the platform, launched in 2009, Imgur is a bare-bones site that allows users to easily upload and share images, not unlike a streamlined version of Flickr – a pre-Mayer Yahoo acquisition. The site was popularized by Reddit and brings in revenue from its ad units, styled like the user-uploaded images, that are available either on the homepage or through a run-of-site model on all its ad-supported pages.

Though it has advertising, like Tumblr, Imgur has yet to prove its mass capabilities to marketers. While Tumblr has introduced several ad units, including a native ad product launched just 11 days after the acquisition, many marketers still see it as an organic tool. Unlike more mature platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it has yet to transition into a more advanced (and lucrative) pay-to-play model.

What Imgur and Tumblr both have, however, is a lot of potential and a young, quickly growing audience. Last year Imgur brought in 364 billion views and it hit 100 million monthly users this October. It also has a reportedly tiny staff of about 10, meaning if it’s able to build on its current ad platform, it has the potential to scale up its ad business without being bogged down by large operational costs.

Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes on what not to do on social

Any customer complaint has the potential to snowball into a PR disaster on the social web. Just last week, an angry YouTuber whose phone that caught on fire posted a video that garnered over 700,000 views and, likely, caused a series of headaches for Samsung. Then there was British Airway’s now-infamous Twitter war with an customer who lost their luggage, which Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes recaps in The Wall Street Journal this week. According to Holmes, social media has made customer service everyone’s job, which means brands need teams dedicated to listening for problems and addressing them before they gain traction and turn from a one-to-one complaint into a PR nightmare.

‘Liking’ a charity makes consumers less likely to donate

Social media has long been heralded as a boon for non-profits and charities thanks to its comparatively low cost to entry. However, a new study from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business shows that consumers who “like” a charity on Facebook appear less likely to donate. Further, it reports that the more public a show of support offered on social media is (such as adding a breast cancer or AIDS icon to a profile picture), the less likely consumers are to give financially. By contrast, more private shows of support (such as signing a petition) correlated to more financial donations.

From Marketing this week

• Rethink made a very cool advent calendar using Vine
• Twitter Canada’s Kirstine Stewart is set to write a book on female leadership
• Telus created a Twitter-enabled vending machine as part of its new partnership with the WWF

The Numbers

Pinterest is quickly gaining market share on social media, according to a new report by Gigya. Here’s a look at how the social network is faring against its peers.


Content shared by consumers on Pinterest, versus Twitter (30%) and Facebook (41%)


Gain of overall shares Pinterest made in Q3 over Q2 in 2013, compared to Twitter’s 6% gain and Facebook’s 9% drop


Pinterest shares from ecommerce sites vs. other networks, beating out Twitter, Facebook and Google+


News media and publisher content shared by consumers on Pinterest, vs. Facebook (40%) and Twitter (30%)


Content shared overall in the Middle East and Africa, the only market outside North America where Pinterest registered

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