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What meets the eye: get granular consumer insights with visual analytics

How visual analysis helps brands better understand their customers

Social network and search engine algorithms favor images and video over plain text, which means visual content receives wider reach and better engagement from users now than ever before. Brands that only monitor text content online risk missing over 80% of relevant mentions – the ones that only visual analysis can identify.

Thus, when choosing a social media listening service, it’s crucial to have access to logo and object recognition in images, which would allow brands to see how, when and which customers interact with their products.

Visual Insights by YouScan uses machine learning to identify brands by logo or through optical character recognition (OCR). It can identify other relevant information in photos, such as objects, people, settings and even other brands. These details can help better understand how customers interact with a brand’s products or services.

Get the full meal deal on cross-promotion efforts

Traditionally, collaborative marketing campaigns are measured by total sales or customer reviews. Visual analysis can fill in the rest of the product’s journey by identifying logos and branded assets in user images. This lets brands know what the customers really think of the promotional efforts, and what creative uses they discover for the new product.

Take McDonald’s recent marketing campaign with the K-pop boy band BTS, in which the fast food chain offered a special meal with BTS branding on the packaging. The meals were hugely successful, selling out in minutes and drawing big crowds to McDonald’s locations. This success is evident among user images, with many people sharing photos of their BTS meals.

Further analysis of these images also reveals fascinating stories of how the BTS packaging was reused: people made the purple branded cups into pen holders and flower pots, and even incorporated packaging into clothing accessories.

McDonald’s/BTS paper takeout bags also spiked in resale value: users were charging as much as $40 for an empty bag with the coveted branding.

These insights tell a better story about customers’ interactions with the limited-time deal than just sales numbers. They can serve as inspiration for merchandise ideas or customer activations, such as contests or giveaways for the most creative way to reuse packaging.

Get an inside scoop on new consumption patterns

User-generated photos contain real-world uses of a brand’s products. Analyzing the settings in which these products appear can help brands find unexpected consumption patterns, or to spot any potential product changes necessary to better serve customers.

For example, some McDonald’s customers like a little salt with their dessert, as seen in these photos:

Spotting unusual combinations of flavors can inspire McDonald’s to create deals on fries and ice cream to give a nod to its customers’ preferences; create a special combo; or experiment with a special McFlurry topping with fries.

Incorporating a use case created by customers can help them feel heard and valued, while the brand can earn more customer loyalty and positive sentiment.

Let user images drive marketing campaign ideas

Sophisticated image recognition tools can help brands examine the objects and consumer behaviors that commonly appear alongside their products, and let them tell a story. The most common scenes and objects can later be used to find marketing campaign ideas to connect the brand with its audience.

For example, it’s no secret that people like the convenience of getting food on the go. Visual analysis reveals exactly which transportation methods customers use at McDonald’s drive-thrus – and some of them are quite unexpected.

This fun fact can help create marketing content. Customers going to McDrive on horseback or in toy cars highlight that they know they won’t be turned away from McDonald’s, no matter how they get there – which is exactly the kind of message the brand wants to embrace, as seen in its past campaigns. These user-generated images can serve as inspiration for future campaigns, or be used in ads as real examples of McDonald’s customers.

Another story revealed by visual insights of McDonald’s is the dearly beloved shared affection for fast food, demonstrated by many couples including the restaurant in their wedding festivities.

McDonald’s can show the couples some love by creating a special wedding menu, advertising a discount for those who can show their wedding certificate, or incorporate a wedding theme into its next creative campaign.


Examples in this article demonstrate how analyzing user images can help brands pinpoint what resonates with their target market and use this knowledge to develop successful ad campaigns. Detecting visual content using YouScan allows brands to gauge the real reach of their marketing efforts, get better insights about customer journeys and close the loop on communication with their audience.

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