13/05/21 Jack Foster

Unsplash for Brand Awareness

For those that don’t know, Unsplash is an online platform that allows photographers to upload their images, which can then be used through a royalty-free license across the web. There are currently over 2 million images on the platform, which generates more than 17 billion impressions per month.

Early last year, I came across this blog post by Harry’s Marketing Examples. Feeling inspired, I decided to give it a whirl for 43 Clicks North.

Here's a thread I wrote earlier this year...


Testing the Waters

We’re a relatively young agency and, when I moved into my new role, one of my goals was to increase brand awareness in the city. This was not only to put us on the map for local businesses but also for local up and coming talent.

Hull businesses tend to be quite proud of their roots, meaning they often share various content about the city through their own channels, be it on their socials or their site. However, at the time, Unsplash was pretty scarce for Hull related images, giving us the perfect opportunity to target those keywords and allow other businesses to share our imagery.

Like most agencies who generate creative content, we had a bank of unused, Hull-related imagery collecting dust on our drive. It made perfect sense to transfer them to Unsplash - after all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Drone shot of hull

The Numbers

Since launching our content, we’ve clocked up over 840k views and 5k downloads. Not bad for an hour of uploading old content!

As the majority of our imagery is hyper-local, the footfall may not be as large as the content surrounding more popular keywords such as coffee, fitness, or beers. Broad terms like these do however provide a great opportunity if you’ve recently launched a new brand in one of those sectors!

If you’re happy to share your content for public use, I feel it makes perfect sense to utilise Unsplash to distribute your content across the internet.

Unsplash stats page

How Does This Impact Brand Awareness? 

One of the best features for creators on Unsplash is the fact they push people to credit you with each image they download. Naturally not all users will link back to you but, for those that do, it equals a brand mention with every share.

Let’s say you have 10k downloads and 1% of users credit you online, that’s still 100 brand mentions for very little work. Here’s some of our work in the wild:

43 Clicks North Images
43 Clicks North on Yorkshire Times


Unsplash For Link Building

For startups or businesses with small budgets, Unsplash is not only a great way to gain brand awareness but it can also be used as a tactic to grow your backlink profile.

Here’s our quick, three-step guide to building links through Unsplash!

1. Select a popular image on your profile

The best place to start is with your most popular downloads. The higher the number of downloads, the more likely it’s been used online.

Google search from Unsplash

2. Reverse search your image on Google

To find your images online, you can reverse search using the image on Google. You’ll then be shown a list of websites using your most popular image..

Reverse image search google

3. Outreach to author or owner for link

From here, contact the people using your images. Images on Unsplash are free to use, however, a friendly DM or email might land you a link back to the site.

Used Unsplash image

Final Thoughts

You’re probably not going to change the world with the above tactic, however, it’s a nice move if budgets are low and you have a bank of great content to share for your brand.

It’s also something you can revisit every few months and outreach in batches, rather than using a method that needs continuous maintenance.

Thanks for spending your time with me, I’ve been your host, Jack Foster. If you wanna stay up to date with me waffling online, you can follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Jack Foster

Head of Brand with over 10 years experience delivering campaigns across a range of channels including; web, social, email, print + video.