How does in-image advertising work? And how does SmartFrame ensure a great user experience for your audience?

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Few would argue against the need for photographers and image rights owners to not only control their assets, but to be able to profit from them too. The difficulty has always been in trying to work out how best to achieve this.

In-image advertising allows individuals, brands and publishers to capitalize on the interest in the images they publish by serving relevant and contextual advertising within them. By doing so, they can quickly and effortlessly add a fresh revenue stream to their business. 

Here, we answer some frequently asked questions about in-image advertising.

What is in-image advertising?

In-image advertising is, quite simply, advertising served within a SmartFrame. The SmartFrame contains the image itself and interactive functionality.

Why is in-image advertising necessary?

Photographers, rights owners, media libraries and others who profit from their images have faced a number of challenges over the years.

The stock photography industry had traditionally allowed photographers and studios across the world to profit from their work in a relatively straightforward way. Due to a combination of different factors, however, licensing revenues have steadily fallen over the years, and made this less profitable for all concerned.

These factors include the microstock licensing model, and copyright-free image services, together with the ease with which images can today be stolen from search engines and social media platforms. The improvement in the quality of consumer-level photographic hardware and software has also played a part. 

Those with sizeable collections of in-demand images may well still enjoy a moderate income from licensing their work, but for everyone else there’s simply not enough demand from paying customers to make this a viable sole source of income.

In-image advertising helps to channel some of this lost revenue back into rightful hands. By serving occasional advertising in images, content creators, publishers and rights owners can all gain a share of revenues derived from this advertising.

How does in-image advertising work?

SmartFrame has its own ad network, and is able to control all aspects of the advertising, from the specific ads served within the images through to the number of placements and their frequency.

This is explained in more detail in the following sections.

What kind of adverts appear in images?

Thanks to a combination of AI-powered image, context and semantic recognition, ads served inside SmartFrames are relevant to both the nature of the image and the web page on which they appear. 

So, a SmartFrame image of a footballer that’s displayed on a sports website should carry advertising of a similar nature. 

This ensures that the advertising is relevant to the audience and is as seamless a part of the user experience as possible.

How does SmartFrame ensure this advertising does not impact the user experience?

Images should be easily viewable – this is what your audience expects. While it’s important to underline the value of these images, and ensure that they are not only protected against theft but also able to generate revenue for their creator or rights owner, any such measures must be balanced with optimal presentation.

For this reason, SmartFrame takes a number of steps to ensure that your audience continues to enjoy these images in the best possible quality and without an adverse user experience, in exchange for occasional advertising.

First, SmartFrames boast a number of interactive features that enhance their appearance. This includes full-screen viewing at the click of a virtual button, together with Hyper Zoom control that allows viewers to travel further into the image. These tools ensure that viewer is able to see images in their best possible quality, particularly when viewing them on large or high-resolution displays. 

Furthermore, rather than simply appear in every SmartFrame, ads are only included in a small proportion of these. So, if you have a web page with a number of embedded SmartFrames, ads will not take over all of your images and obscure their content. 

Their frequency is also capped so that the user does not see them more than once in a specific period.

These ads also automatically close after a certain period of time, and they can be hidden by the viewer if desired. Should a viewer wish to close an ad, all they need to do is to click on a small tab in the corner of the ad itself, and this will have an immediate effect.

How does SmartFrame ensure that the content of the ads is not offensive or harmful?

All ads are vetted by SmartFrame prior to publication to ensure that they comply with our standards. 

These standards concern three areas: the visual quality of the ads; the nature of the content within them (including images); and any claims, messages or calls-to-action.

Visual quality
All ads are checked to ensure that they are aesthetically high in quality so that they appear as seamless a part of the image-viewing experience as possible. 

Nature of content
Ads should not promote harmful products or ideas, adult content or viewpoints that are likely to cause offence. This includes:

• nudity/pornography

• extreme political messages/images


• diet pills or similar products

Messages and calls-to-action
Ads must not be misleading or promote falsehoods. Links from ads to any URLs are checked to ensure that they do not mislead the viewer in any way.

Have any questions about in-image advertising? Get in touch