All about Flickr titles, text, tags, and views

There are three major waves of "views" that your Flickr image will get. Understanding each is key as to whether your photo gets viewed a lot, or a little.


The first wave of views of your Flickr image is from your contacts. There's actually two sub-waves here. First, your close contacts view things quickly, either immediately or within the day. Second, your less-close contacts will visit sporadically, from a couple of days to months. The first group will tend to "keep up with you", whereas the second only looks at what is immediately recent at the time they look. It's not uncommon for Flickrites to get 100-300 views from their contact network, and a few may get 500 or 1000. In the end, the number of views from your contacts depends on 3 factors: (a) how good your photo is, (b) how many contacts you have, (c) how strong a recipricol relationship you have with them.


The second and third wave can happen at the same time.


The second wave of views is from group postings, and there are two types of groups, awards and non-awards. If you max out posting to award groups you can get maybe another 300 views, if it's a great photo.


Non-award groups have varying impact. In many, you'll get no or a couple of additional views. Others may yield 100s of more views spread over a long period of time. For example, the "Thru the Viewfinder" (TtV) community doesn't view each other's works very much, whereas the Fisheye and Pinhole communities are great for tons of views over time.


So far, maybe you have 500+ views. The only way to get into the atmosphere now is by having your photos show up at the top of search engines, and that depends on two things: how popular the photo has been, especially in your first wave of views from contacts, who tend to be the most likely to give you faves; and how good your text, title, and tags are.


Learning about titles and tags is best done by example...


1. "Each war is different..." has over 12,000 views because it shows up as the most interesting photo in all of Flickr when searching for "iraq war", and the fourth most interesting when searching for "war". Right topics, right text, right title, right tags.


And since my photos are Creative Commons, ones like this get re-published a lot, which yields yet more views to my photostream. (More on that in other post).


2. You can be topical--this pic of Beijing smog was hot right before the Olympics. It shows up as second most relevant to a search for "Beijing smog".


3. The lucky tags... This cloud shot is good, but good enough to get 75 views a day, day in and day out? The title is "Bowl of Clouds" and it turns out there is some doll called Blythe that has a "Blythe Cloud Nine Bowl" version, and so teenage girls searching for "cloud bowl" see my pictures as second most relevant in the search.


4. This photoshop experiment, which is actually one of my faves, has over 7000 views because I put celebrity tags on it. Go searching for Britney Spears or David Beckham or Colin Powell, and this monster is going to pop up.


5. This bokeh of a Wonder Woman doll has over 4000 views because I put sex tags on. What can I say, it's what people search for!


6. This photo of Stage 28 at Universal Studios has about 3500 views and is an example of a niche search jewel. Not many people search for "Studio 28", but when they do, this shows up at the top.


7. Here's another example of being popular by accident. This Christmas light shot has over 3000 views primarily because people mispell Christmas as "Chirstmas", and I also mispelled it so I had that as a tag.


Two other types of tags will increase traffic. First, you can add tags of different languages; second, you can add adjective tags, like "best", "excellent", "awesome", etc.


I've purposefully left tags off of this pic--go ahead, TAG ME!

  • debbie T 7y


    I have my Flickr settings set to not allow 3rd party searches. I have thought and thought about it, and I am not sure I want to open up my photos to public searches. I guess I will just have to be satisfied with less than 1000 views for most of my shots.

    Seen on your photo stream. (?)
  • _SweetSkylerNova_ 7y

    Kevin you are a sweetheart for taking up so much of your time and explaining explore to us Kudos to you : )
  • Pam Riess PRO 7y

    Great analysis! I think I'll try putting subliminals into my pics and see what happens! Now I can understand why I don't get 3000 views - I would need to quit my job to be on top of everything. : )
    And not to forget - cool photo!
  • David Glaves (ExeDave) PRO 7y

    Great image and very interesting, thoughtful info!
  • Catherine 7y

    Wow, Kevin, for the photo and for the information. Liked your post on creative commons too. Just how many hours do you spend on Flickr a day though, I wonder??
  • i_still_believe_in_u PRO 7y

    highly informative!
  • John Whitney Rood 7y

    i enjoyed your viewology treatise... nice analysis
  • jandarmor 7y

    good info. Thanks a bunch
  • Rickard Gillberg PRO 7y

    Thanks for sharing this very well though-through information. It's indeed a helpful reference when it comes to tagging and uploading new shots.

    Great capture of the sky as well. Very dramatic and well compositioned. I like it for its vivid colours and the low-key feeling.
  • Eni Turkeshi Imagery 6y

    man you're cool:) and so unselfish to share this:)
  • Werner Schnell 6y

    a very interesting lesson :)
  • Sweet Mo 6y

    Thanks for the lesson
  • Amy PRO 6y

    It figures that someone who is jazzed by complexity would figure this all out. Thanks for explaining it to the rest of us! :)
  • Robert Harwood PRO 6y

    Some interesting suggestions. But I must say that I find the notion of mislabeling or mistagging photos for the purpose of increasing the number of views very troubling. This sort of process must weaken the usefulness of the image search function for everybody. It promotes dishonesty (for, if one wishes to compete for image views, one would probably need to adopt similar strategies - and so the process snowballs). In this way it undermines integrity - and dilutes the value of Flickr as a reliable catalogue of images. Or, at least, so it seems to me.
  • Robert Saucier 6y

    Very interesting pic and text. Happy New Year, Kevin!
  • Christopher 5y

    Great shot and an interesting explanation on "traffic".
  •  Handala HAMIM 4y

    wonderful Narration Kevin
    very deliberate information and well managed Compartmentalization
  • Steven Ng PRO 3y

    Cool shot!
  • Juliano Verardi 10mo

  • Myron Michael 2mo

    great image! and great post!
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