BetaKit last covered Swedish startup Foap when it secured $500,000 for its crowdsourced stock photo app that lets users monetize their smartphone photos, selling them to media agencies and others. The company today announced the launch of its new ‘Missions’ service for brands, which lets companies tap into the startup’s community of 75,000 active users, encouraging them to snap photos that match a given criteria in exchange for a monetary reward. With 2.4 million photos uploaded since launch, the startup is already working with brands like Puma, Rebtel, and VisitSweden for the new service.
“We have seen steady growth and we have super active and engaged users…that’s why we really thought Foap missions will work,” said CEO David Los in an interview with BetaKit. “We have tried out a light version of missions and we saw high engagement on a local level and in the same time we already know that brands are looking for new, fresh, local, and natural content they can use for marketing and social media, and we know they’re ready to pay for that content since it’s hard for them to find.”
Photos submitted for missions are still subject to Foap’s crowd ranking approach, where they must be voted on at least five times and receive a total rating of 2.5/5.0 before being able to be considered for the prize. The winning photo is selected by the brand with the winner receiving a predefined monetary reward. For brands trying to leverage the community of photographers, their photos are geo-tagged, so they can target missions based on a specific area.
Despite there being only one winner, all the photos submitted are stored in a single repository for the brands, giving them their own user-generated stock photography library at the end of the mission. When a brand decides to use a photo for marketing purposes the process works the same as Foap’s current marketplace model, where they pay $10 per image, with the revenue split evenly between Foap and the user who took the photo.
Other developments in the space that we’ve seen at BetaKit include the launch of Pixoto’s own crowd ranked stock photo service and embeddable images for bloggers, in addition to the launch of 500px’s iPhone app late last year. And with the outrage Instagram users displayed when they thought the company’s updated terms of service meant it could sell their photos without any reference or compensation, it’s clear that attribution and compensation are as important for users of casual photo apps as they are for stock photo apps like Foap.
Down the road the startup will be adding the ability for brands to offer more than monetary rewards to the users who win their missions, potentially coupons, vouchers, and different promotions for their product or service, expanding the many ways as Los put it that brands can say thank you to their most engaged customer base. “We have enabled them to build their own image libraries…so it’s a platform where we want to keep this engagement and branding they get in other social media [apps] like Instagram, but we’re also adding the value in the sense they can also build their marketing content and very soon make real conversions,” Los added. Whether users will want discounts instead of cash is another question, since not every photo will be taken by someone who wants to use that particular brand’s products.
Foap’s new service is one of many in the new arsenal brands are using to capitalize on the visual web, where a number of platforms are enabling them to drive campaigns on Pinterest, Instagram, and the like. However, with its crowd ranking and incentive-driven approach to user engagement, it seems to be on the right track to build a community of brands and users looking for compensation for their smartphone photos.