Online Marketing & The Future of Microstock with Yay Micro

Linda: is an online marketplace where photographers around the world can sell their images directly to customers. YAY offer over 1 million Royalty Free images and illustrations, prices start at $1.50. The site is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian. Japanese, German, French, Danish and Swedish are available as search languages. YAY focus on usability and keeping it simple for both photographer and customer.

YAY is located in Oslo, Norway. Jan Ole Kjellesvig and Linda Johannessen, both former employees at Scanpix- Scandinavia’s largest image agency, founded YAY in 2008; Oddbhjørn Sjøgren joined the team as partner and CTO in January 2009.

Bob:Yay Micro started 3 years ago now, with a fantastic clean design and a simple user-interface generating a lot of excitement among contributors. Reports from contributors on sales have since been mixed, so I’m wondering about how you use technology to market the business. Do you market online, if so, what methods do you use?

Linda:We have tried and tested several online marketing tools. Main activities have been Pay-per-click, banner ads, being active in social media, and direct e-mail campaigns to new and existing customers. Mostly we’ve tested the different tools, trying to find the configuration that will lead to sales and growth. Many companies lack knowledge on how to be successful with online marketing tools, hopefully we’re really getting the hang of it now. Recently we’ve been applying what we learned so far in a broad online campaign.

Bob:Is online marketing proving effective, and what advice do you have for others looking to get their business seen by more people online?


Online marketing is very effective when done right, but the margins for right and wrong can be very small.

We would recommend people to read up on the different topics to begin with. You should read about pay-per-click campaigns & landing pages, how to increase page rank (without cheating), usability and design. You’ll find great books and blogs on these topics, just try a Google search! It will take time to implement everything you learn and to get results, but it will be worth it. Having your own blog, and promotion trough actively engaging in social media can also be effective tools.

Bob:The YayMicro twitterstream pops to life for a few weeks every few months, is this something you’ve investigated and decided to drop, or are you planning more with social media down the line?

Linda:We’ve been a bit on and off different social media. There are several reasons for this. The number one reason is time – it takes time to engage in social media in a meaningful way, i.e. being part in a dialog and discussion. When we don’t have time to fully engage we see that the use of social media at YAY becomes more of a one-way promotion channel, and thus less effective and interesting for all parties.

Since we enjoy taking part in different social media we’ve decided to make this a prioritized task. As a stock agency we’re part of a large, helpful and knowledgeable community, and we’re happy to finally have more dedicated time to connect with the community soon!

Bob:What do you think will be the new big technologies coming into stock photography over the next few years, is there anything on the horizon you see as a game-changer, or has the stock-revolution ended since migrating online to a crowd-sourced model?


As a marketer I look at what possibilities technology provides us with. Microstock came to be as a business model due to the possibilities with the Internet. Companies were able to create marketplaces where buyers and sellers would interact, supported by different features (Such as ebay, but microstock takes a higher commission and provides more features to the users).

I think we’ll see a growth of network companies and hub-economies, and less traditional b2b and b2c way of doing business. Technology is changing the way we think about business, sales and profits.

We think the improved cameras and the connectivity to the web on mobile phones will make for a successful growth of user-generated editorial content. Several agencies, newspapers and other media companies, YAY included, have tried to get editorial news images, but as far as we know no one has been very successful, yet. As people get used to the technology, and user generated content in general, we think we’ll see a change in the Editorial industry similar to the one we’ve seen in the Royalty Free industry.

We also see changes for other media types, such as video and audio. Improved technology and lower prices, combined with the microstock marketplace will increase the supply, and hopefully the demand, for different media types. In the near future we will see 3D technology being accessible and put to good use.

It’s impossible to know for sure what the future will bring, but here at YAY we enjoy discussing different future scenarios, both for the industry and the world in general; we have many passionate discussions at lunch and on coffee breaks! As George Bernard Shaw said:

“Some men see things as they are and ask ‘why’.. I dream things that never were and ask ‘why not’?

Profile: YayMicro Microstock Photography Agency

YAY offer over 1 million Royalty Free images and illustrations, prices start at $1.50. The site is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Dutch and Norwegian. Japanese, German, French, Danish and Swedish are available as search languages. YAY focus on usability and keeping it simple for both photographers and customers.

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