Snapchat Plans to Serve You Useful Ads, Coupons Based On Your Snaps
A snap of your favourite soup bowl at a restaurant could soon prompt a useful rundown of nutritional information or give you a coupon for another menu item.
That’s according to Snapchat, the vanishing video messaging mobile app that’s been so popular among teens.
The company has filed a U.S. Patent for an advertising system that personalises user experience based on the objects they capture on camera.
Snapchat’s visual search technology would identify items on a picture, then generate image overlays related to these objects from different brands.
Think of this alongside Google’s AdWords program. The images are the visual equivalent of the keywords in Google searches. While AdWords would look for text in search terms like “smartphones” or “dishes”, the Snapchat technology would actually be looking for the object itself.
How it works
When a user takes a photo of a recognisable object such as a well-known restaurant, the technology would suggest geofilters from that business and suggest them to the user.
The user would then have access to various consumer options such as prices and even promotions available at the time.
According to Snapchat, if you take a photo of food, the technology would present you with photo filters allowing you to view related information such as price, calories, fat content, and other relevant details.
Moreover, the restaurants, in turn, could assign a reward for a particular number of snaps of a given product. Reaching this target would earn the snapchatter the assigned digital equivalent of a voucher.
The company gave the Empire State Building as an example. In taking a photo of the building, the Snapchatter was given a fun filter of King Kong hugging the tower, holding a victim in hand and swatting at aircrafts.
The user would then have the option to apply this filter to their snap.
Snapchat further says that fun filters are able to rotate to correct the image’s overall perspective in relation to your position.
Suppose you are standing at the south side of the Empire State Building, you could be given a filter showing King Kong’s back.
In the same way, if you’re facing the north of the building, the filter will have King Kong facing you.
The filter could also include animations along with an appropriate theme tune or audio effects.
Development on existing filters
Snapchat already offers custom filters that corporations can buy and individual users can access free of charge.
Currently, Snapchat’s filters are location based. This means image overlays are customised according to location. On-demand geofilters must first be submitted for approval, which could take one business day.
Visual search – an ongoing process
The proposed technology seems attainable, now that Snapchat has already has an image recognition technology in its Memories update.
Sources from the subscription business information website The Information say Snapchat is working on visual technology with help from engineers of Nest and Google.
The team, working in the company’s Snap Lab, is led by Snapchat’s Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Bobby Murphy.
Why now is the best time
Image recognition technology comes at a time when digital photography is growing exponentially.
There’s been significant shift from text to videos and photos. Just recently, Facebook’s ad executive Nicola Sharon Mendelsohn said that text posts in the network are decreasing, while video and images are on the rise.
Deloitte also recently reported that over 2,000 photo-sharing apps were available by the end of last year.
In 2015, well over 1 trillion photos were taken across various devices including smartphones. A huge chunk of this were shared across social media.
In addition, reports say social media users upload approximately 2 billion images each day onto platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Flickr.
Analysts also predict that by 2019, more than 80 percent of total consumer internet consumption will be video content.
Collective shift toward visual search
Given this, it’s no wonder Snapchat is not the only company exploring the visual search technology.
Other companies have equally made substantial efforts to make digital images more useful for internet users.
Snapchat’s most daring competitor Facebook has a standalone app called Moments which encourages sharing between friends and uses facial recognition for group photos.
Pinterest is taking the same direction. It recently offered a preview of a visual identification tool that would soon allow users to search for specific products based on the images they took.
Apple also just recently rolled out a similar function, integrated in its camera roll update.
Google led the way in 2015 when it launched Google Photos, which enabled users to automatically organise photos by labelling them for quick and easy retrieval and sharing.
All these initiatives aim to integrate a better user experience and visual content.
Visual media use is becoming popular fast. And every tech giant understands the underlying power it holds when applied for search and other forms of online engagement.
Given this, apps like Snapchat already enjoy inherent video/image advantages. They can leverage that potential to unlock benefits that are not possible with traditional search.
Click here to learn how to use Snapchat as a powerful marketing tool for your business.