Imgur Thinks Its Nerdy Millennial Male Users Will Actually Love Its New Native Ad Unit

It may help brands find internet's 'lost boys'

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Imgur, a social platform for images and GIFs with 150 million monthly users, is announcing an ad product that doesn't have the most original name but seems to have intriguing potential. The ads, which are called promoted posts and are focused on mobile viewers, are inserted into Imgur users' content streams and can include video that plays in posts.

Interestingly, there's no data targeting for the ads, and that's just the way Imgur wants it. Launch partners eBay, Square Enix and New Form's promoted posts will essentially be seen by all "Imgurians," who evidently represent the world's largest digital army of male geeks. 

"They love the idea of a unifying stream, a single content stream that everyone sees, providing a shared experience that gives them all something in common," explained Steve Patrizi, vp of revenue and marketing at Imgur. "We believe promoted posts should behave in the same way, and each promoted post is inserted into that single Imgur stream."

The promoted posts add to Imgur's programmatic display ads that more than 30 brands have purchased, giving marketers another option to pitch products and services to an audience the San Francisco company characterizes as unusually nerdy. (Budweiser, Old Spice and SoFi represent a few of the brands that have bought its ads in the past.) Imgur calls its core users the "lost boys" of the internet, since brands apparently have a hard time finding them. It says 87 percent of its users self-identify as "geek" and millennial.

What's more, Imgur claims, two-thirds of its users who have voted on a promoted post during the ad unit's test phase have given it an upvote, the equivalent of a "like" in the platform's parlance. (A downvote expresses negative sentiment.)

"The community response to promoted posts has been overwhelmingly positive, with engagement rates reaching as high as 20 percent," Patrizi said.

Whether they continue to love the ads as they increase in number will be worth watching. 

Patrizi's team shared that mobile is Imgur's fastest growing and most engaged platform, as users are on its flagship app three times a day for an average of four and a half hours per week. 

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.