Reinventing The Physical Experience With Social Pattern Recognition
Here's how marketers can use this technology to move from creating social conversations to generating actual online transactions.
The explosion of mobile technology has led us on a collision course, merging the physical and digital worlds as smartphones have become ‘intelligent’ enough to recognize visual cues and patterns. And it’s not just smartphones changing the online-to-offline experience: Smart screens in stores and in the streets are recognizing people, their traits and desires.
Pattern recognition is an umbrella term for this form of Artificial Intelligence that let users scan, discover and capture what’s in the frame, unlocking rich custom content in context as a result. Whether that means scanning a QR code in a social media app or visual discovery through image search via platforms like Pinterest Lens, the opportunities for marketers are massive.
But too many marketers aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to connect inspiration to physical sales through this type of content. Here’s an introduction to how marketers can use this technology to move from simply creating social conversations to generating actual online transactions:
Understanding Snapchat, Pinterest Lens And Social Image Search
An estimated 50 percent of searches will be made by voice or image by 2020, and tools like Pinterest Lens are helping marketers link that behavior with both online and offline sales.
Lens accesses a user’s camera so that they can point their phone at anything from a plant to a pair of shoes — and then see and shop related content. For example, snapping a photo of a high heels lets the user tap to see related styles as well as ideas for what else to wear them with.
Building on Pinterest’s Shop The Look offering, marketers who offer shoppable looks have the potential to close the loop around image-based discovery and an actual purchase; instead of just taking a picture or pinning a found image to a Pinterest board, users can actually purchase items online as soon as they see an item they like in the physical or digital world. Brands like CB2, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Target, Wayfair, and others have already started taking advantage of this feature — but it works for a diversity of brands, as over 75 percent of customers are inspired to make purchases by visual content.
Snapchat also recently rolled out an update indicating the furthering of its image recognition abilities: Last week, the company quietly rolled out filters that recognize content a user has snapped in order to provide a contextually relevant sticker or frame.
In the near future, this is set to open new opportunities for marketers to provide branded filters or shoppable options based on the exact content of a snap; but in the meantime, Snapchat already offers a suite of recognition features that marketers can use to generate a sale.
Marketers can incorporate Snapcodes into OOH creative so the audience can scan a code via Snapchat and unlock content (a link to buy a product; the landing page to purchase a ticket to a promoted film) — and Snapcodes can be printed on any physical item or product to create engagement; posters and smart screens are two common OOH options.
What OOH integration based on pattern recognition — also possible with Pinterest and Instagram — truly does is to allow for better mindset targeting: For example, if a customer is using their phone in an NYC subway station in the middle of winter, it’s easy to imagine a travel brand inviting them to snap a picture of a poster of a beach — which could then take them immediately to a landing page to enter and win a free hotel stay in warmer climes.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being contextually aware: If marketers can use mobile, social, and OOH to deliver content that users want based on their location and mindset, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase — especially if that purchase is just the tap of the camera button away.
**Benjamin Lord is a dynamic brand strategist with nearly a decade of experience and a regular contributing reporter at GeoMarketing, among other publications.