The future of social intelligence: image recognition and analysis

When it comes to uncovering valuable insights that help marketers target the right audience, text analysis isn’t enough anymore. Columnist John Donnelly discusses the impact and evolution of social media image recognition and analysis.

The future of social intelligence: image recognition and analysisAs marketers, we all want to be storytellers. We want to capture our brands’ unique journeys and share them with the world in hopes of resonating with our target consumers. And sure, we could talk about how social insights help us do that. But let’s be real: Social text analysis might not be enough anymore.

The reality is that while analyzing social conversation is undoubtedly valuable to marketing and advertising professionals, we may be missing out on half of the story. Enter: image recognition and analysis.

The facts don’t lie

People are sharing more of their lives on social media, often using images. In fact, 1.8 billion photos are shared every day, and more than 10 percent of all photos in history were taken within 12 months at the beginning of this decade.

That’s a huge testament to the impact that Generation C is having on the sharing economy. People prioritize creation, curation, connection and community, and we’re seeing huge spikes in consumer-created content.

That’s a huge amount of content and intelligence just waiting to be captured to inform your campaigns and strategies. So, why aren’t you leveraging those untouched insights as a brand marketer?

Logo detection opens the door to new insights

Many photographs relating to a brand do not mention that brand explicitly, reiterating the fact that it’s vital for a brand to have the ability to detect its logo in shared images. Whether that logo is front and center or placed discreetly in the background, that content is incredibly impactful when trying to gauge the conversation around your product or service.

Someone may post a photo on Facebook with the caption, “Love my new shoes!” — but if you’re Nike, you can’t analyze that content without a specific brand mention in the text caption — until now. Logo detection gives your brand an entirely new scope of content that may benefit your brand in more ways than one.

The feedback in these unbranded photos may not always be positive, either. Maybe when your customer receives her product, it’s damaged, incorrect or late, so she takes to social media to express her disappointment. Without an explicit brand mention, you may not be able to address that customer’s concern in a timely manner.

But by picking up on logos in your social analysis, you can notice that post immediately, so you can maintain quality customer service and brand experience. Logo detection opens the door to entirely different insights and demographics, allowing your team a more comprehensive understanding of your audience.

Don’t miss out on the unbranded conversation

Image analysis is changing the game when it comes to having complete clarity into not only how your brand is being discussed on social media, but also into the unbranded conversation. If you’re Starbucks, wouldn’t it be helpful to know that when people post photos of coffee, it’s usually next to a muffin?

Even an insight as simple as that can affect your marketing promotions, advertising creative, product development, store placement and more. You now have the ability to get an immediate snapshot of how your industry, product and competitors are being talked about, allowing your marketing efforts to resonate with the right audiences more than ever.

As image analysis technology advances, you can take your social intelligence strategy one step further by looking at not only what’s in a photo, but also the environment of that photo.

Let’s say you’re a company that manufactures hula hoops, and you’re about to launch a campaign targeting families with young children, since that’s the traditional use. However, if you take a look into how people are sharing hula hoops in social images, you’d find that those photos are often taken by young women at music festivals. Just like that, your entire strategy needs to be reconfigured to target a new demographic.

Finding new ways that a product is trending can change your entire marketing strategy in terms of segmenting your audience and addressing expanding use cases.

We’ve been digging into volume sentiment and trends on social for quite some time, but the fact is that’s just not enough anymore. Plain and simple, content with images paints a different picture than text posts, and without taking a deep dive into how your product is being shared visually, you run the risk of missing out on half of the story.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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