YouScan is looking for logos in photos
The startup started with a simple search for brand mentions in the texts of posts and photos published by users in social networks. Now, thanks to artificial intelligence, the system analyzes exactly what is happening in the pictures, what age people are present there and much more. This helps major brands to keep abreast of the attitude of consumers towards them.
YouScan company appeared in 2009 in Kiev. At that time, the startup employed 5 people. YouScan received its first investment from the European OpenFund fund, created with the support of Piraeus Bank (Greece), Microsoft and Google. After 3 years, the programmers were taken under their wing by the Skolkovo IT cluster. In 2015, the controlling stake of the startup was bought out Yell.ru, a service of reviews and recommendations. The exact amount of the transaction was not disclosed, but sources from the market say that the investment in the startup amounted to $1 million. The founders of YouScan became minority shareholders, but continued to work in the company. In the same year, a new office was opened in Moscow. The startup’s services are used by food giants McDonald’s, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and the mobile operator MTS.
A new twist
The initial idea of the startup was to search for logos on images that users publish in social networks.
In October 2018, one of the most respected research associations in the world, Esomar, released a report on the Internet analytics market. The report noted a sharp jump in interest in research on user behavior and the content they create in social networks from Russian companies. Marketers are now interested not only in the consumer’s attitude to the brand, but also in understanding the reasons for positive or negative emotions from the company’s products.
Following the market demands, YouScan has improved its Visual Insights service. Now the system can recognize not only brand logos, but also their surroundings. The range of capabilities of the technology has significantly expanded due to the ability to recognize people, colors, surroundings and events in photos. YouScan development helps large companies to better understand the mood of the target audience, adapt advertising to it, evoke emotions in the buyer and even motivate him to promote the product himself. In case of a negative reaction in social networks, the system is able to quickly detect the reason for such user behavior.
YouScan’s efforts were not in vain. This spring, the company entered the rating of the American recommendation service G2 Crowd in the categories of Social media monitoring and Social media analytics, where it occupies the position of High performer. This means that YouScan has already received high ratings from users, but has not yet taken a leading market position. The mention in the G2 Crowd rating is a huge success. No one has yet managed to achieve such recognition among Russian companies in this industry.
The power of context
After the update, YouScan Visual Insights can analyze in detail the context in which the logo appeared. Artificial intelligence finds the product image in the user content (UGC, User Generated Content), and then describes the photo in detail:
- category: selfie, portrait photo, monochrome, color photos, still life, macro photography, etc;
- the dominant color in the image;
- scenes and events: up to 430 types, including the situation, time of day, weather conditions;
- type of activity: about 60 types, from public speaking to sports;
- professions: up to 40 names of specialties and hobbies, from office workers to musicians, athletes and models;
- persons: gender and age category of the people in the photo.
The number of images of brands in the Network at times prevails over text mentions of companies, so this service will be in great demand, representatives of YouScan believe.
“It’s time for us to become a new major player in the international Social Listening market (literally – “listen to society”. – Editor’s note), – says Alexey Orap, founder and CEO of YouScan. — We have a strong product and team, the largest brands and agencies among our clients, and the accumulated expertise corresponds to the world level. There are hundreds of social media monitoring providers on the global market, but only about ten of them, including us, are able to offer solutions based on artificial intelligence, such as image recognition and discussion trends in social networks.”
Millions of opinions
The company believes that the technology will bring great benefits to large brands, whose appearance in social networks can exceed the mark of 10 million times a month. Analyzing such a large amount of information, brands can react more quickly to the rapid change of trends, negative reactions, build a clearer policy of relations with consumers, find a common language with them faster and, as a result, target (target) advertising of their product much more effectively.
Let’s say the company sponsored a sports or entertainment event. If earlier the main indicator of success was the number of tickets sold, then with Visual Insights technology, the customer can immediately analyze who specifically paid attention to the brand, in what environment the logo appeared, whether it worked for the public and what reaction the photos in social networks caused. Thus, the YouScan client receives a prompt and accurate answer to the most important question: “Was it worth the investment?”.
But even if you do not link monitoring to a specific event, in the modern world without such a service, it is difficult for large business players to understand the reach of their audience.
“For our company, it was an opportunity to see what real consumption situations look like. The analytical capabilities of the system allowed us to identify common consumption parameters, as well as to get interesting insights at the individual level, ” says Anna Gromova, market research specialist for the Eastern European region of PepsiCo. & #13;
The standard package of YouScan services for recognizing text mentions and the presence of a logo in images costs from $5 thousand per month. This includes automatic trend detection, full analytical functionality, Visual Insights, API, and more. The client can also make an application on the website with individual wishes.