The Value of Visual Insights

This is a guest post contributed by YouScan, a sponsor of SMA.

Visual content dominates the biggest social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, and it usually doesn’t include text with the brands that appear in it. Visual analysis adds image recognition to social media intelligence, so brands can find and work with these mentions.

Researchers have proven that people remember images better than text, and posts with photos typically get a higher engagement rate than the ones without them. And as people spend more and more time sharing and interacting with visuals, the importance of analyzing them and the number of business opportunities are constantly increasing.

Visual Analysis 101

Visual analysis is the technology of collecting and processing photos, and then using machine learning to label what it sees: objects, scenes, participants, activities, brand logos, optical character recognition. Then software turns it all into data that you can work with.

Social media intelligence software with visual analysis capabilities finds the visual content that would overwhelm manual search methods, giving companies the ability to measure or respond at scale. YouScan monitors 500,000 resources, and 500 million mentions on a daily basis. This is the scope of the challenge.

The post below portrays a couple drinking Heineken beer while driving. The brand is neither tagged nor mentioned, but it is easily identifiable in the photo. The image itself does the harm. And the more photos like this one appear online, the bigger the impact is. Visual insights can help companies understand whether there is a broader problem. If there is, it may suggest a strategy of educating the audience and promoting responsible behavior. Without visual insights, the problem images may escape notice until they lead to a more serious problem.


Let’s have a look at some of the other benefits of visual analysis.

Find Real-Life Use Cases

Consumers generate great ideas that you might then use for your business. Who would have thought that someone would include Pringles in a gift box for their boyfriend? But this is exactly what happened, and this is a great example of how people use and document products in their day-to-day lives. The brand could potentially include this idea in their communication strategy and activities before St. Valentine’s day or adjust the concept for a different occasion.


Discover genuine feedback

What do people say about your company when they showcase its products without tagging you? That is one of many questions that you can finally answer with the help of social listening and visual analysis. There is no more need to monitor social media feeds manually searching for what you need or struggle while trying to figure out what to look for.

The logo recognition feature enabled us to discover the two following posts about Burger King. Neither of them mentioned the company in the written descriptions, but both of them can be considered relevant feedback.

The first post criticizes the latest Burger King initiative that invites its customers to eat at McDonald’s. The aim was to boost sales at other fast-food restaurants in order to support the industry overall, but not everyone agreed with this idea and supported it. Seeing such feedback is valuable, because it helps you understand where people stand, what you need to clarify in your communication activities, why and how. It is especially so when such content gets a lot of traction, and this tweet had more than 8,000 likes and 2,000 retweets at the time of writing this article.


Also, when you use social media intelligence and discover such posts as they appear online, you get an opportunity to analyze the situation and come up with a thoughtful and timely response. Sure, you cannot and should not talk to every single person out there, but interacting with some of the active social media users that comment on what you do from time to time is a good idea.

A second example of Burger King being criticized without being tagged or even mentioned appears to attack one of its products: nuggets. While it is not news that people can doubt the quality of fast food, detecting the post creates a chance to respond and provide information, when appropriate.


Improve Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a tool that can be extremely effective when decisions are based on precise requirements and data, not just personal preferences or random searches. Technology can help you do that. How? By introducing you to content creators that already love what you do and appeal to your target audience, and then by enabling you to monitor their results in an organized and efficient way with the help of social listening. Visual analysis extends the tools to conduct this analysis in visual media.

For example, here is Marques Brownlee, one of the most well-known and successful tech bloggers, wearing a pair of Nike sneakers as a part of his Halloween costume. He doesn’t mention or tag the brand. It was possible to find this post quickly, thanks to a Nike-focused search query and several nuances, such as logo detection, English-speaking content, and images only.


At the time of writing this article, the tweet had more than 32,000 likes, almost 1,000 reposts, and 362 comments. Someone like Marques who is influential for consumers that are interested in the latest tech products might be a great fit for Nike. It is one of those companies that is always ahead in terms of collaborations, not only with huge celebrities, but also with content creators that vary in terms of the number of followers.

Evaluate Sponsorship Reach

Even though the event industry had to take an unexpected break in 2020, it will catch up as soon as the pandemic will slow down. People crave community more than ever before, so there is no doubt that they will rush to crowded spaces and sports events whenever they will be able to. Potentially in 2021.

Visual insights help companies plan and evaluate sponsorship deals by tracking logo appearances in user-generated content. The same data enables comparisons of results across different events and with competitors. Use this information to get a better understanding of what you actually achieve in terms of your campaigns’ reach.


The Power of Visual Analysis

Social media intelligence software with visual analysis features has a number of advantages for business. It can help you find out how your current customers use your products and what they truly think about your company. It can reveal relevant content creators and potential collaborators, as well as evaluate their performance. It is a great tool for measuring the efficiency of your sponsorship campaigns and their reach.

As much of the world is going through another lockdown and preparing for long-term uncertainty in the future, visual communication will continue to become more important, and its potential will continue to grow. People will have to keep on spending most of their time at home, in front of their screens sharing visual content and interacting with it even more. This challenging situation can create a lot of opportunities for companies that are ready to implement tech solutions.

All in all, adding visual insights to your social listening can help you improve your products and relationships with your customers, remain relevant, and achieve better results.

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