Visual Listening – What are the pictures telling us?

Published On March 23, 2020
In Market Intelligence, Customer Analytics, Blog Archives

Listening to Images?

In this age of social media, words are becoming less prevalent while pictures are gaining more popularity. Images can convey the message in just a glance when paragraphs need to be meticulously read. Visual listening is ‘listening’ to a ‘visual’. Here, the term ‘listening’ is used loosely. A more apt term would be ‘monitoring’. Visual listening is the mention of brands or firms in photographs.

Social media posts oftentimes contain images of brands and with so many images constantly being circulated around the internet, brands can use this free advertising to their advantage. Businesses can analyze these images and find their social standpoint. This information is invaluable for any company. It can be used to efficiently market, adhere to demand and eventually sell more products.

Visual listening gives helpful insights into various aspects of your brand. Businesses can view how your brand is being used by the general public. Whether your products are being used in the way intended or if it’s being exploited and shedding a negative light on your company. Accordingly, measures can be taken to either uses the popularity to boost the company or to remove any controversial advertising.

How can brands benefit?

Brands cannot afford to lose to their competitors in the social media war. Painting a positive picture of your brand on social media sites can make or break a company. It has a massive audience reach and a great influence on them.

Not only are the platforms very important in advertising, but also influencers in these platforms can be key to User Generated Content (UGC) marketing. The general public likes to follow celebrities. The brands associated with them, therefore, have huge spikes in business.

Listen to the unsaid words

Visual listening can be used in various ways. With it, we can find the good and the bad publicity of the brand. To properly use the technique, we must familiarize ourselves in key areas. These areas are:

  • Sentiment Analysis: Images are posted on social media every day. And with every image, an opinion is attached. Visual listening allows you to determine how your customers and the general public feel about your products and services. You can figure out whether your products are being appreciated or disparaged by social media. Many recognition software based on machine learning and computer vision are readily available to help in this field.
Visual listening for Sentiment Analysis | SG Analytics
  • Sponsorship Control: Sometimes people may associate your brand with another. Using visual listening you can identify better partnerships that can increase your audience reach. Also, sponsors take to social media to post images and videos. Occasionally they may not add any text to their posts. But the brand is still being promoted. With visual listening, you can check whether they are correctly endorsing your brand.
  • Finding Advocates: Social media influencers greatly affect the lives of their followers. The brands affiliated with them are popular among their supporters. Visual listening can help you select those that are promoting your brand. These influencers can sometimes unknowingly endorse your brand. For instance, a selfie of an influencer with Starbucks coffee without mentioning it is promoting Starbucks.

Who are using it?

Many brands use visual listening; and with growing opportunities in the field, many more will soon join. Some of the early users of this method are:

  • Starbucks: The coffee connoisseur has been using visual listening for a long time. They used this model to identify which days of the week which genders would post images with their brand. They shifted their marketing strategy accordingly. They also found out that many of their customers had pets and so came up with the ‘puppuccino’- a Starbucks’ treat for the four-legged friend.

Source: Talkwalker

  • Nissan: Using visual listening, this car company figured out that their client base was male-dominated, due to their sponsorship in sports teams. Armed with this knowledge, they shifted to a more male-centric advertising method.
  • Nike: This sportswear brand is very popular among athletic males. But they also have female products. Visual listening enabled them to scope out their female audience and market to this new demographic.
  • Adidas: Another sportswear giant, Adidas, also uses a lot of visual listening in their marketing strategy. This company is proficient in finding how their brand is being viewed by the public and using the technique to find brand ambassadors.
  • Banking Sectors: Text-based social monitoring tools may produce results dissimilar to the one generated by visual listening tools. One such example is that of a Crimson Hexagon webinar, wherein a bank’s image-based social media standpoint showed their audience base as completely different from their target audience.

Transform your business with these visual listening tools

With the exponential growth in machine learning and computer vision, more tools with visual listening services are popping up. This has made it difficult to find the tool best-suited to your business. The current top contenders in the field are:

  1. BrandWatch: This company partnered with a machine learning firm to find the best uses of AI in marketing and brand analysis. Brandwatch uses logo recognition and sentiment analysis to identify your key demographic, display audience feedback and find trends aligning with your business.
  • Talkwalker: Talkwalker is a social analytics company that provides insights into your social standpoint. They provide real-time assessment of your brand’s reputation in the public’s eye. Talkwalker tools are applied on all social media channels and across most languages.
  • Logograb: This company is trusted by its many clients across all industries. Logograb goes through a plethora of images across many social media sites to find where and how your brands’ logos are being used. They have specific services for sponsorship monitoring, social media monitoring and more.
  • Gumgum: Gumgum is an applied computer vision company that uses visual listening cooperatively with computer vision to identify your brand reputation. This tool can be used to find contextual images of your brand.
  • Curalate: It has a built-in visual search tool that skims through social and other forms of media to find your brand. Curalate provides solutions to leverage user-generated content to provide you the best marketing techniques.

Stop Looking and Start Listening

With social media increasing its indisputable hold on customers and target audiences, the reputation of brands, companies, and individuals on this platform has become key in lifting revenue. Using visual listening tools can greatly enhance your sales.

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Supriya Dixit
Supriya Dixit
About the Author

Supriya is a behavioral and data-led strategic marketing professional with over 13 years of successful leadership experience in various functions of Marketing across FMCG, Ed-Tech, Social Network and E-Commerce in both B2B and B2C domains. She heads Marketing at SG Analytics. She enjoys reading, writing, photography and traveling. Her wanderlust spree has taken her to over 41 cities across 18 countries and counting.

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