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Research Spotlight: Social Media

An interesting/scary (depending on your viewpoint) piece of research has just been released that looks at the ways marketers can mine social media profiles to build up pretty accurate assumptions regarding the brand associations and attitudes we hold.

By mining millions of images and videos on social media sharing sites (specifically; Instagram & Pinterest) researchers have found it possible, using a self-developed algorithm, to assess customers “top of mind” attitudes towards a brand.

In English, that means that it is possible to produce an accurate representation of what associations we hold and our attitude towards a brand based on the pictures we share online.

This means that advertisers should (at least in theory) be able to effectively promote certain brands to us as individuals based solely on what we post onto social media sites – much like sponsored ads are targeted to us now based on the searches we carry out on search engines.

With the ever-increasing number of digital signage installations using cameras for audience measurement purposes, could we one day see a smart screen that can access our online profiles to select ‘appropriate’ content? It’s all very ‘Minority Report’ sounding – which is both very interesting and, perhaps, a little scary too.


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