17 January 2019
Visual data can help marketers gain a deeper understanding of customers. Photo: Salesforce
Visual data can help marketers gain a deeper understanding of customers. Photo: Salesforce

A picture is worth a thousand insights

Visual media such as images and video content are dominating social media. People are uploading 1.8 billion photos per day that display higher levels of engagement than written content. This is driven by mobile’s ease-of-use and the ability to instantly upload images.

Notable is the success of 9GAG, a Hong Kong-based site that hosts and distributes viral pictures, videos, and memes, highlighting the power of visual content. Even Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without images.

Images people post are often personal – vacations, celebrations, family occasions and much more. From these, we get a glimpse into their lives; we see what they’re eating, watching, and using.

Photos on social media show consumer behaviors, preferences, wants and needs that often go undetected because marketers are unable to capture their meaning and act on them. For example, if a person posts an image of their new favorite product without the relevant caption, usually a brand won’t see it. Companies risk missing out on important opportunities to improve customer engagement, resolve potential customer service issues, and identify new key influencers and fans.

Previously, marketers would have to either manually sort through thousands of images or analyze associated text to gain some insights. However, in today’s digital era, no one expects this anymore. Social media marketers are looking for a tool that will enable them to automatically sort through millions of images and react appropriately, which delivers AI-powered image recognition directly within a social media marketing solution that can improve customer engagement by looking for specific moments of interaction.

With the right tool, marketers can uncover images relevant to their brand using four auto-generated classifiers, including two million brand logos, 60 scene settings, 200 types of food, and 1,000 everyday objects. By understanding the photos that consumers post, marketers and service professionals are empowered to reach customers where they may not have specifically mentioned a product, brand or service by name. Companies can process consumer insights, brand tracking and social care on Twitter.

Consumer insights

Companies now have visual data at their fingertips, getting a deeper understanding of their customers in order to make smarter business decisions. For example, health awareness has been on the rise in Hong Kong. For a company launching new food products that target female vegans, a good place to start would be uncovering women that are local vegan influencers. Using photos on social media, a brand can identify key opinion leaders and food options that suit the local target audience.

Brand tracking

Marketers can analyze brand integrity, better understand reach and evaluate the effectiveness of social advertising campaigns. For example, if a company sponsors a sporting event, when and how the company logo from that event is showing up in an image shared on social media channels can be detected. Now, marketers can quantify the brand lift associated with sponsoring a particular event like never before.

Social customer service

Marketers can monitor social feeds to understand where and how products are being used to deliver proactive social customer service. For example, if an auto manufacturer has a recall for a defective globe compartment mechanism, a useful tool can help uncover cases through images on social media channels. From there, the marketing team can leverage on the tool to engage with customers for resolution.

“The most mature social businesses are both more profitable and have more loyal customers compared to social business laggards,” said Ed Terpening, industry analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet Company, a marketing consultant in Hong Kong.

“Those companies that adopt new, innovative and integrated social media solutions will be better prepared to keep up with the constant innovations in social media and consumer engagement scenarios as they emerge.”

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VP Product Marketing, Social and Advertising Products, Salesforce

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