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Just as brands have finally accepted social listening as a necessary part of operations they’re asked to change things up and focus on visual listening as well. In case you’re tempted to “wait and see,” here’s what image recognition and analysis does for your brand.

1. Validates extremes of sentiment

The value of consumer sentiment is a well established part of social analytics, so image analysis should actually be an easy sell. Why? Because images are sentiment. In the same way Broadway musical characters break into song when words alone are not enough, social users share images when what they’ve got to say can’t be conveyed with text – or text alone.

And just as it does with all social data, that understanding of sentiment gives way to other insights upon which to build brand strategy.

2. Clues you in to content preferences

That content is decidedly visual is not news – every social network has made visual content a major part of their user experience. But the type of content your audience most loves becomes easier to spot through image analysis. And as with any other engagement, you can further segment by image type.

Female gamers who love Star Wars and memes will be delivered different content than male Game of Thrones watchers who love sports GIFs.

This differentiation is important to keeping everyone happy – and feeling seen as individuals. It’s also crucial to follow the evolution of personal snapshots, memes, GIFS, and emojis into the realm of streaming video and augmented reality (AR) imagery. The latter up-and-coming tech will change the way visuals are used yet again.

3. Reveals consumer behavioral triggers

According to eMarketer, “Around three-quarters of US internet users regularly or always search for visual content prior to making a purchase; only 3% never do.”

If this is true, you’d better have a handle on what images trigger which consumer actions so you can influence the path to purchase through your marketing. If nothing else about image analysis sways you, this should.

4. Leads you to new influencers

Influencers – both “real world” and celebrity alike – are the life’s blood of today’s brand marketing. But what if your biggest potential influencer never mentions you by name? What if every picture they post features them eating at your restaurant chain? Or sitting behind the wheel of your car?

Your brand may not be the focus of the post, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. And where there’s love, there’s power – don’t throw it away! Be sure your social analytics tools have logo recognition capabilities.

Image of Stumptown Cold Brew carton

No mention of the brand name, but Stumptown Cold Brew would probably want to know Jimmy Fallon loves them…

5. Beefs up your competitor analysis

Knowing what the competition is up to is a huge advantage of social listening – and it’s no different with visual listening. Maybe one of your competitors is often pictured alongside another brand – one you’d love an association with.

That’s something to watch, so you can break in as soon as consumers have a problem. Or you can learn what consumers see in your competition – and deliver a better version of it.

6. Secures brand health

The great thing about rapidly advancing image recognition technology is how it spots iterations of your logo – like the “not quite right” versions saboteurs create to damage your reputation.

Social monitoring is critical for keeping yourself apprised of the tiniest red flags – but without including image analysis you miss what could be the most damaging reputational threats out there. Not everyone will take the time to read a disgruntled customer’s rant – but an image conveys the message immediately.

Not all image recognition platforms are built alike

It should be clear by now that you must incorporate image recognition and analysis into your brand operations. Not all social analytics tools have this capability, but it’s a sure bet the number of tools that do will increase steadily, and soon.

As you consider which platform to use, also consider this caveat: Because this is evolving technology, some analytics vendors will add image analysis via a 3rd party solution. This might seem like enough, but there are some drawbacks.

For starters, your analytics provider won’t have control over the 3rd party add-on – meaning you won’t either. Innovation, bug fixes, and the product roadmap are dictated by the technology party – which, among other things, could go out of business. When this happens – and it has – where does that leave you?

It’s better to choose a tool with image recognition built organically into the platform – as ours is. This is proof of innovation – that the technology you’ve hung your brand’s success on will evolve as your needs do. And you’ll never be left hanging without the analytics you count on.

So don’t wait for your competitors to show you what image analysis can do. Show them.

Ready to see for yourself? Get in touch and we’ll show you how our image recognition tool will transform your brand.

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