Tool tracks pics of brands
Pongr’s social-network search aids companies
By Donna Goodison
The Boston Herald
June 25, 2011
A new visual search engine lets companies track what consumers think about their brands by analyzing online photos.
Pongr Inc.’s ImagePulse technology scours the billions of Web photos posted from mobile social applications. Its “computer vision” image-recognition technology instantly identifies those that include companies’ brand logos or packaging — whether it’s someone inside an Apple store, showing off a Gucci bag or drinking coffee at Starbucks.
“It’s designed to passively monitor all the brand activists and brand evangelists who are already taking pictures of brands and products when they’re out and about,” said Jamie Thompson, founder and CEO of the Boston mobile marketing company. “As far as we know, it’s the only one of its kind to use computer vision to measure and monitor who’s checking into product as opposed to location.”
Anything openly available on the Web can become part of Pongr’s search index.
“Just like Google indexed text, we’re indexing the world of brand-related photos across any of the mobile social properties that are of interest to us such as Twitpic, yfrog, img.ly, Color, Instagram, Hipstamatic and a variety of others,” Thompson said. “We’re adding to that list on a weekly basis.”
Pongr plans to market ImagePulse to large advertising agencies and directly to companies.
“A lot of consumer brands are getting interested in these location-based services and trying to figure out how to fold mobile social engagement into their marketing plans,” Thompson said.
ImagePulse helps brands not only get a sense of whether or not consumers are engaging with their products without being prompted, but what other products they also enjoy. It analyzes the photos, accompanying text and a person’s history to index their buying intentions.
“If your biggest fans are switching between adidas and Nike on a weekly basis, that might tell you there’s not enough loyalty to the brand as you would like,” Thompson said.
ImagePulse discerns a person’s age group and maps their location in real time. It even has a “happiness detector.”
“We have developed emotion-detection algorithms to help us infer what someone’s sentiment might be based on their expression,” Thompson said.
Pongr designs, develops, markets and supports a variety of mobile marketing and image recognition products for brands and advertising agencies. The core Pongr game platform enables brands to leverage image recognition in direct-response marketing programs designed to reward brand advocates for promoting the products they love.
Image recognition technology is useful for scaling and automating the mobile marketing messages that are built into Pongr’s brand picture engagement engine. Some brands build campaigns around consumer engagement and loyalty models, whereas others seek to drive immediate, in-store special offers and redemption, or m-commerce opportunities. If you are a brand or advertising agency looking for ways to leverage your traditional media spend and are considering the use of image recognition, contact us today.