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Entries in visual marketing (2)


Image attribution and social networks: a pet peeve

\/ by Thomas Leuthard


It's time I got over my pet peeve with image attribution (i.e. how images are credited and/or linked back to the source) on social networks. Perhaps documenting it here will allow me to move on.

Facebook, for intance does not make it possible to add attribution or a click-through link to an uploaded image. I've found it most effective (and least disruptive to user experience) to add the attribution/source information as a comment on the image (which is less-than-ideal).

Twitter poses a similar challenge. Tweets with images perform better than without but how do we credit the source of the image effectively when an image must be uploaded to accompany our tweet (and therefore stripped of click-through links for attribution)?

Here's an example of a recent tweet I shared. I think this is ugly and a less than optimal user experience. Ultimately this feels like a missed opportunity to me. Afterall, these social networks are hardly hurting for resources and could provide an elegant solution (as opposed to this clunky work-around).


Tumblr has struggled with attribution since almost day one. There are far too many Tumblr users who don't know the difference between a Reblog (the one-click action that a user takes to share someone else's Tumblr post on their own Tumblr) and a Repost (when users download another user's post and then re-post it as new to their own Tumblr thereby removing the links and attribution). This illustration does a great job of explaining.

I don't want to be a creep and not give credit where its due regardless of which blog, CMS, email marketing platform or social network I'm using.

In my early days with Tumblr, I followed an academic who shared great content and perspective. She quit in a rage and removed her blog from Tumblr. She was fond of the platform yet not able to reconcile her professional ethics with the rampant problems with attribution.

Sigh. Time to move on.


Best Practices to Attribute Images Online and in Social Networks

As with many things, a search revealed some decent best practices.

First, from Creative Commons themselves, comes this guide to attribution.

A great guide comes from Foter (click to embiggen):


How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter

Yikes. This means that a correct attribution for Creative Commons includes three different links. Complying with this best practice is entirely possible/feasible in a blog (only done 1% of the time according to the Foter data) or Tumblr post, but practically impossible for a Tweet, Facebook status or LinkedIn update.

My Google-fu has not yet yielded any best-practice resources for how to attribute images on social networks. So for the near term, to attribute is to put up with the ugly less than optimal source details. We continue to skate as the technology on some social networks (ahem - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) continues to make linking and attributing an image less-than-straight-forward. Of course, you can always use your own photos (without needing to worry about attribution at all) or source an image through a plethora of free image sites (thanks to the good folks at Buffer for the list).

"Dutch Skaters" engraved by A.H.Payne after a picture by Cottrau, published in Payne's Universum ..., 1845.






Book Review: The Power of Visual Storytelling

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jesicca Gioglio 2014, McGraw Hill Education. From Amazon: Attention is the new commodity. Visual Storytelling is the new currency. Human brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than text. Web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without. Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos. Filled with full-color images and thought-provoking examples from leading companies, The Power of Visual Storytelling explains how to grow your business and strengthen your brand by leveraging photos, videos, infographics, presentations, and other rich media. The book delivers a powerful road map for getting started, while inspiring new levels of creativity within organizations of all types and sizes.

I'm a content marketer and I'm totally sold on visual storytelling as mandatory. So I said yes when pitched a review copy by McGraw Hill Education, the publisher of The Power of Visual Storytelling.

I use visuals personally and advocate their use with my clients. In fact I have three different client projects on the go that touch on this very topic/trend.

While this book didn't rock the foundations of my (albiet advanced) content marketing world; it does provide practical tips and useful tool recommendations, how-tos, examples and comprehensive platform best practices. A good desk-side reference for tactitians that includes solid advice on strategy, planning and metrics.

I need statistics I can easily recall and rattle off in presentations and with clients. There are lots of statistics included for each of the platforms as well as for visual storytelling as a whole. Here then are a handful of stats from the book that I found interesting/useful.  (Made with as recommended by the authors.)