Tap into New Revenue Streams with the Shutterstock API

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Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow platforms to leverage third-party data and functionalities to drive important metrics such as user engagement and retention. Along with product enhancements, the Shutterstock API also provides flexible partnership models to align with our partners’ needs on the business side.

For examples, reducing user drop-off rates at critical moments in their creative workflow is a major priority for many partners. To do so, these partners choose to fully subsidize assets so users can access images, video clips, and music tracks for free. By maximally reducing friction in the user experience, our partners can increase the volume and frequency of use which makes asset subsidies well worth the investment.

On the other hand, some of our partners choose to sell Shutterstock assets for use within their platform at a cost-effective rate for users to directly monetize the API integration. Still, there are others who want to leverage the Shutterstock API as an upsell for subscription packages.

However, each business is unique and the best business model is one that works in harmony with your platform’s existing monetization strategy, product, users, and industry. Some considerations include but are not limited to a platform’s vertical, relevant industry trends, usage volume, user experience, and their existing business model.

Here are the three business models discussed in detail in this post.

Contact our partnership strategists to learn more about our partnership models.

Increase platform stickiness with subsidized creative assets

Tap into New Revenue Streams with the Shutterstock API - Increase Platform StickinessImage by Roman Samborskyi

According to a 2018 survey, the top two challenges for marketers are having adequate resources and time. These statistics are not just numbers for marketers creating ads, content, videos, emails, landing pages, and more nor for the martech platforms that support their work.

When we shift our optics from an aggregate survey to zoom in on the actual creative process, we find marketers who are finding the process of sourcing multimedia assets important yet time-consuming.

With an API that delivers stunning and licensable images, video clips, and music tracks directly within your creative interface exactly when users need them, you can help marketers create more in less time.

Moreover, the resources and time saved by an API integration is likely something that many marketers are willing to invest in. In fact, 56% of marketers worldwide have reported projected spending increases on content creation in 2019.

Building new revenue opportunities

Tap into New Revenue Streams with the Shutterstock API - New Revenue OpportunitiesImage by ouh_desire

While most platforms opt for a business model that allows them to subsidize the licensing cost of our creative assets, other platforms use a revenue sharing model. The popularity of the subsidizing model leverages the significant decrease in campaign drop-off rates to boost user engagement, retention, and revenue. On the other hand, the revenue sharing model allows platforms to still deliver workflow enhancements and drive incremental revenue from asset sales on their platform.

Partners can also leverage the different media types that the Shutterstock API offers as additional upsell touchpoints. For instance, a website design platform integrated with images, video clips, and music tracks can monetize all three media types at different price points.

Contact us to get additional details about Shutterstock’s API partnership models.

Enhancing subscription packages

Tap into New Revenue Streams with the Shutterstock API - Enhance Subscription PackagesImage by romakoma

Many martech platforms offer end users the choice between a few tiers of subscription packages. To stay responsive to our partners’ needs, the Shutterstock API partner program also allows platforms to use a bundling model that compliments their existing subscription packages.

With the bundling model, end users can enjoy a selection of high-quality assets as part of their subscription fee. Additionally, partners with a Shutterstock Editor integration can include editing as a premium feature in the subscription tier of their choice.

For martech platforms, bundling allows them to provide additional incentives for users to upgrade to a higher subscription tier while reaping the benefits of a frictionless in-platform workflow.


The Shutterstock API partner program is designed to accommodate the needs of martech platforms so that you can support users in completing their tasks efficiently and effectively. One way we accomplish this is by offering flexible business models that can be tailored to your specific business needs.

Read more about our API and how it can help you increase revenue.

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