Knowing what image will help you sell more products to which audience and where your logo is appearing around the web are just two examples of how insights from visual analytics software can drive growth for businesses.

“Driven by the increasing use of smartphones, people today are more visually literate than ever. In our image-saturated world, the demand for authentic quality imagery that tells a story and cuts through the clutter is greater than ever,” said Uri Lavi, General Manager PicScout. “These new developments in technology make images and the ability to find, analyse and identify trends and gain knowledge about them more important than ever.”

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Israeli-based PicScout, which was acquired by Getty Images in 2011, is pursuing a new strategic direction providing businesses data insights based on visuals. PicScout was originally focused on identifying image use, metadata and licensing information on the web and is now using that heritage to refine customer engagement tactics.

“Human brains are wired to understand visual content faster and better than text. Once applied correctly, visual analytics can multiply the impact of the visual content; ultimately having a more profound impact on the end users then text,” Lavi told Which-50.

“The insights — or outputs — discovered through visual analytics add additional levels of message consistency. Visual analytics gather signals around composition of visual content, whether this be colours, shapes and structures – or in more advanced form, visual and photographic styles, preferences, facial elements and concepts. These are both something you cannot do by analysing text.”

Using innovative methods of artificial intelligence and machine learning PicScout’s offering Insights for Business and Insights for Everyone provide detailed intelligence taken from visual content for customers ranging from consumers through developers, to businesses of all sizes.

PicScout will be targeting a broad range of businesses, but Lavi provided the following examples of business applications for visual analytics:

“A sportswear company that had yet to start selling a new product, but already published the images that show how the shoes look. In this case, we scanned our sources (web, social media etc.) and built an anticipation score in every country with its demographics showing which are the most engaged countries and which are not.

“An alcohol company that wanted to measure the reach of its sponsored event, and wanted to know which image(s) will best represent the spirit of the event, and hence be more engaging.”

Social media is another platform where visuals paint a broader picture than text-based data analysis.

“In the era where social media is the new content medium, businesses have to understand the trends of their visual content, as it’s the most engaging mechanism to better position themselves and their brands/products,” Lavi said.

How does it work?

“Our product gathers and extracts many signals from the web, whether it be from editorial websites, blogs, micro blogs or social media. Deep learning analysis is then applied on the images, and then further traditional machine learning techniques help summarise and output insights that address the needs of our customers,” Lavi said.

“The system does get smarter over time, we are continuing our R&D work to find more models that can help the platform to derive better insights.”

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Fighting copyright infringers

PicScout’s Images for Everyone product is a leaner version of Insights for Business, which tells image owners where their images are on the web and insights about their use. One possible use is making internet users more accountable and deterring them from using copyrighted images.

“It allows users to get informed about the usage trends of their data. Through Insights for Everyone, you can learn patterns of your most successful images and understand popularity. The product provides a call to action which in the future could be extended to many usage monetisation functions, such as the above. The other usages could be future licensing (of the found usages) or any other forms of future monetisation that will benefit with the end users.”

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