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Imgur: The social media platform killing it with millennial men

January 19 2016

Kacha Azema

You know that voiceover in epic movie trailers? The deep, reverberating voice that begins: “In a world…”

“In a world…of 150 million active monthly users.1 Where people engage with posts 10x more than on Facebook.2 Where the community is positive, funny, and even…nice.3 Where users spend 3-10 hours per week4 consuming content in average blocks of 10 minutes.2 A world that’s overtaken Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch as the number one site on the internet for American millennial men…”5

The screen goes black with the chime of a single bell. And one word blasts onto the screen with a symphonic TA-DAAAAA! That word is: Imgur.
I’ll pause for a second while you say to yourself, “What’s Imgur? Never heard of it.” (It’s ok, you’re not the only one!) Imgur—pronounced Imager—is an increasingly popular image-sharing site and mobile app that can claim all the stats I described above. But what is it, really? Think of it as the millennial guy’s go-to social media destination for memes, inside jokes, and wasting-time-in-line-at-the-grocery-store.

imgur
Imgur was started in 2009 by now CEO Alan Schaaf as a photo storage site for Reddit users.5 But the Reddit community began to get creative with it and Alan followed their lead. Imgur transformed into a community-centered image sharing platform where users vote each other’s posts up or down. The homepage is the same for everyone: a democratically determined collection of the community’s current faves. This community is half the size of Twitter, and they rack up 5 billion page views per month!3

After accepting a $40.1M investment from Andreessen Horowitz,1 Imgur is now working on the delicate balance between keeping their essence and growing their business. As you can imagine, brands are highly interested, and Imgur is now working with them to develop sponsored content on its platform.5 Given the quirkiness of Imgur community, it’s a tricky tightrope. But brands that get it right are seeing engagement rates of 1-4 percent, 10x more than the industry average.2 Some highlights include:

Father’s Day & Drones post by eBay. Note the whopping 715 comments in the comments section! Also note that most comments are like the one from @RichBaker, “I would like to say, this is advertising done right.”

Blunt Talk featuring Patrick Stewart post by Starz. This post pitched the new comedy through a series of still images, animated GIFs, and captions. The community filled in the rest, approving the advert and talking about their plans to watch the show.

Cat Taxapalooza post by Old Spice. Of course, leave it to Old Spice to nail this demographic! But, more importantly, they invoked the “cat tax,” an inside joke that’s completely unique to the Imgur community.

The social media landscape can be a nightmare for marketers—so many platforms, so many audiences, so many ways to do it wrong. Imgur is a bright spot for CMOs because its community is so singular and simple: millennial men who like funny and interesting stuff. Speak their language, honor their traditions, and the Imgurians (yes, that’s a word) will welcome your brand into their world.