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We live in a visual world. According to Seen & Unseen: How Marketers Use Computer Vision, a new report from GumGum, images are essential to any good marketing strategy: 80 percent of professionals have said that visual content is "very" or "somewhat" important to their plans. But marketers aren't taking advantage of technology that would allow them to harness the power of visual imagery, considering only 12 percent of the respondents said they use computer vision in their marketing.
Computer vision, also known as image recognition, is sophisticated enough right now to help brands reach consumers and help avoid negative associations. The world at large is already using computer vision through apps like Snapchat; the next step for businesses is to embrace that the future of machine learning in marketing is already here.
Serge Belongie, a computer vision expert in Cornell University's computer science department, tells GumGum, "Recognition deals with identifying faces, vehicles, pedestrians, products on grocery shelves, plants, animals—and it can do a remarkably good job on these tasks."
There is plenty of room for brands to use image recognition to better ensure brand safety, to quantify the reach of visual branding efforts and to target new potential audiences. And image recognition tech is capable of achieving this in a fraction of the time it would take for a human to do it. As the report points out, Canon used computer vision to place relevant ads near images related to cameras and videography in 2017, and those ad placements doubled the industry's average for user engagement.
Now that privacy laws like GDPR have changed the way marketers can use personal data, it's more important than ever for brands to look at tech like computer vision as a necessary component of a successful strategy. Brands that embrace the power of computer vision—that are willing to embrace the future now—are the brands with the brightest tomorrow.