By Carolyn Heneghan
In the art form of stippling, you assimilate dots to form a complete picture. In the art form of Stipple, you assimilate media to form a complete branding solution. Tech startup Stipple weaves together complex forms of media and tags this information to enriched web images for interactive and easily activated content at users’ fingertips. Content creators: Listen up.
Images are pervasive on social media and the web in general, so it’s no wonder that they are at the forefront of Stipple’s digital advertising strategy. You can’t log in to Facebook or Twitter without being bombarded by images from your friends and the brands that you follow. Wouldn’t it be a novel idea to be able to access still more content right from that image? And to take it one step further, wouldn’t it be great if that content remained attached to the image no matter where it might be shared?
While often labeled as a tagging service, Stipple goes far beyond typical tagging capabilities. Users are likely already familiar with tagging people and places in photos, say on Facebook. But once that photo is shared beyond its place on Facebook, the tags are lost on the blog, website or other social media profile it has been shared on. With Stipple, the content is woven directly into the very fabric of the image and thus travels right along with that photo wherever it might end up.
Just this past week at the Ad Age Digital Conference, the company officially introduced its new Stipple Shopping component to increase the ease and accessibility of ecommerce for brands and musicians. Reaching fans and customers has never been easier, as consumers can now purchase products, say albums and merchandise, from right within a photo posted on the band or musician’s website, Facebook, Twitter and the like.
“[Stipple Shopping] revolutionizes online purchasing by enabling brands to share the needed information for consumers to make informed purchase decisions,” says Stipple CEO and founder Rey Flemings. “Let’s stop asking consumers to open multiple browsers to hunt down, explore and compare products—steps that create friction in the sales process. Now, consumers will be able to explore, compare and purchase products without ever leaving the image that they’re looking at.”
And for musicians, he adds, “Instead of asking your fans to click to your website to checkout your albums and merchandise, you can now take the best of what your site offers directly to them through images everywhere.”
While Stipple might generally be more brand-facing, musicians stand to benefit in their own unique ways. According to Flemings, “Music is part of Stipple’s DNA.”
“Stipple enables musicians to package relevant content and deliver it through photos to their fans across the web and social media,” says Flemings. “This means musicians are no longer limited to sharing just a song; with Stipple, in a single image they can share a video from the latest tour stop, backstage pictures, the ability to like the band on Facebook, purchase the latest album on iTunes and more.”
“It’s a win-win,” Flemings continues. “Fans get richer interactive content at their fingertips, without ever needing to leave the image or web page they’re looking at. Musicians drive much deeper engagement and ensure that their content is presented exactly how they want it, including the ability to drive revenue.”
Stipple continues to further the reach of images and in-image content through its Editorial offerings. Flemings says, “Stipple’s Editorial offering enables brands and musicians to place interactive content and messaging in images that contain their products. For example, if a band gets reviewed in Vibe and other websites, Stipple enables the corresponding band to place a video, buy on iTunes button, Facebook ‘like’ button and more within the editorial photo that accompanies the article. This is a great win-win-win. Consumers get more relevant content regarding the story they’re reading. Bands reach consumers in an editorial context and further engage consumers that are interested in their music. Publishers get deeper reader engagement and the opportunity to drive revenue from their images.”
This venture is not one simply in the works for bands here and there to dabble with. As an established web tagging, ecommerce and advertising solution, Stipple currently works with “many talented musicians and labels,” says Flemings, “Including Justin Timberlake, Warner Music Group and others.”
Stipple has produced a case study to take a closer look at their successes with Justin Timberlake and his promotions for his latest album, tour and appearance on Saturday Night Live. With three posts each on Facebook and Twitter, Stipple’s interactive images engaged an average of 74% of viewers with a 7.5% click-through rate and 146 sites reached through sharing, including premium sites like Glamour, Paste, Vibe and The Hollywood Reporter. This is a huge number of engaged users from just a few posts and nearly 540,000 image views. These clicks are equivalent to 40 million in ads, and the engagements are equivalent to 400 million in ads. You do the math.
The possibilities of this service for brands and musicians are limited only by their content and imaginations. Check out this presentation from Stipple’s appearance at the Ad Age Digital Conference last week to learn more about the company and how it is “Rethinking Digital Advertising.”