When Photobucket redesigned its site and user experience with better uploading and new social features last fall, it did so in the hope of reestablishing itself as the go-to site for photo sharing and storage after falling in popularity relative to its competitors.
The ten-year-old company, which filed $5.67 million in equity funding in May, is now launching a mobile app that extends the full capabilities of its service to smartphone users. Recognizing that photo taking and sharing is fractured between people’s devices and services, Photobucket’s plan is to create one cohesive ecosystem to incentivize users to convert (or reconvert) to the system.
“Photobucket has a history of being an open, highly scalable [platform], and we wanted to build on that. We looked at two real market problems: photos are everywhere on multiple devices and services and platforms, and people are losing photos because it’s too hard to back them up,” said David Toner, Photobucket’s head of marketing.
Photobucket relaunched its mobile web app last month. It now serves as an onramp to the native app, which allows users to back up, edit, organize, and share their photos. While the app can serve as a quick organizational tool, users are still going to want to do major organization on the website.
In a few weeks time, Photobucket will be rolling out the next phase of their development: use as a social hub for event-specific photo uploads, for which people may be using various services like Instagram, Facebook, and Google+. They remained fairly quiet about the specifics, but the aim is to allow people to discover each other’s photos in a way that doesn’t require people to change their uploading behavior.
Photobucket’s U.S. monthly uniques stood at 20.85 million in October, up from 20.2 in September and 16.5 in April. But it still has a long way to go relative to other leading photo sites like Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Shutterfly. Of those sites, it showed the highest bounce rates during April through September of this year, according to numbers from SimilarWeb — likely the result of bad traffic from search.
It’s also behind Shutterfly and Flickr in page views per visit (Instagram is too, probably because its scrolling feed doesn’t require much clicking). On average time spent per visit Shutterfly and Instagram also came out on top of Photobucket.
[Image: Flickr / Pedro Ribeiro Simões]