Image recognition is one of those social media analytics pieces that most social listening companies either can’t get right or charge so much for, no one can afford access. Brandwatch may have cracked the code. It’s new Image Insights feature provides the best image recognition and accompanying analysis I’ve seen in any social listening or analytics tool. It’s price point is on par with its other products — midrange and reasonable.
According to product manager Mark Rogers, Brandwatch didn’t want to go to market with an image recognition tool that was a sub-optimal solution. Brandwatch has been working on this a while. Their trick is the system looks at images, turns any logos or symbols in them to black and white vectors, then matches those to the ones you’re searching for.
So, you have to start with your brand logos or images. Once they’re loaded in the system and learned, Brandwatch’s image recognition processes images across Twitter (with more networks coming soon, including the all-important Instagram), matching any to not just the loaded logos, but portions, permutations, folded versions, reverse versions and even similar or knock-off iterations.
The result is you can now quantify how many times your brand’s logo or imagery has appeared in front of social media audiences, analyze the accompanying text for context, how many times a given image has been retweeted or posted along with other posts (tying analytics to the single image). The standard set of Brandwatch analytics can then be applied to the images — cross-referencing it with demographics, geography, authors or influencers and more.
Think about this: For the first time, really ever, a brand can actually put some degree of success metrics around their sports sponsorships (logos on jerseys, banners at arenas, etc.), at least in terms of social media reach and impressions. And all for just a few hundred dollars a month.
Which leads me to pricing. Brandwatch’s pro platform is going to start in the $800 per month range making it, I believe, the most reasonably priced advanced social listening tool on the market. To add image recognition, you’ll pay an additional $480 per month for up to 1-3 brands and multiple logos can be included in each brand. The more logos you track, the more the price-per-logo drops, going down to $160 per month if you’re analyzing 21 or more.
Expect that pricing to eventually normalize once competitors catch up, but most of them are charging as much as 10 times that rate for inferior tools at this point.
Brandwatch even benchmarked their image analysis against both Ditto Labs and an artificial intelligence technology they wouldn’t divulge the name of, reaching twice the accuracy an up to 10 times better coverage (read: total results). Again, I’ve seen nothing on the market that matches it to date.