Sharon Lawson, 27, hailing from California, isn’t a model, nor is she some celebrity riding the waves of glamor– she is a mere assistant working for a contracting company. But companies pay her every day to snap photos while engaging in different activities, be it brushing her teeth, gorging on her favorite cereal, and even mopping her bathroom. If Miss Sharon takes enough photos with her iPhone and uploads it to a special app, she gets $20 extra at the end of each day.
These mundane images coupled with countless others, incorporate insights that companies use to mine data. A Chicago-based company, Pay Your Selfie, collects all this insight, compiles it into a report, and presents it to a focused group of consumer behavior experts to delve into a treasure trove of priceless information that even surveys and research cannot hope to dig up.
The much-hyped 3D Crest White campaign that requested users to submit their selfies for a content, concluded that much of the users brush their teeth between 4 – 6 p.m which is labeled as happy-hour fresh breath. When does Crest decide to post social media updates? Can you guess the exact time they prefer based-upon this minute detail? No surprises there!
“Selfies are a great way to get information from people who can’t or don’t use focus groups or follow any traditional research methods.”, Ravi Dhar, director of the Center for Customer Insights, Yale School of Management.
Selfies reveal certain rituals and inadvertent customs that go along while people consume various types of products.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Facts
Just as research firms are actually paying consumers to take selfies, brands are altering their marketing strategies based on how consumers react to specific products & how they use those products.
When it comes down to understanding how customers are using the product, the picture is worth a thousand words. Seeing people use the products in your niche, even if they are choosing your competitor over you, gives insights into the preferences of the consumer.
Moreover, instead of just looking for your products, try finding actions or objects that relate to your product. For instance, Adidas might be interested in a consumer whois carrying a soccer ball in their photo, even if there is no Adidas logo on it since a user who is into sports might be persuaded to wear Adidas while doing so.
Apps that Analyze your Skin and Suggest Beauty Products
Skin Advisor is an app that analyses your skin, poses questions about it, and suggests products related to the health, skin tone, and texture of your face.
“The app has learned to perceive age and skin flaws by being shown tens of thousands of aging faces,” explains Jun Xu, app developer
It starts with a simple question, ‘How can we help?’ After you upload a bare-faced photo, this app goes through a ‘deep learning’ algorithm that is inspired by the way human brains work.
The algorithm learns from its mistakes and the success rate is better than what most expert dermatologists, who do this sort of thing all the time, can tout.
After one of my friends gave the app a go, the app conceded that while her forehead is in good shape, the zones around her mouth needed some overhaul. The assessment finished with the app concluding that my friend needed firming, lifting, and a regular application of an all-around day cream.
The first deep learning app was developed by Microsoft by the name ‘How Old do I look’, which is, in essence, a facial recognition software. Since it was the first app it was ridden with bugs, but it was a pretty great start.
Selfies that Reveal Cultural Barriers of Some Consumers
Your selfies can speak volumes about your cultural and geographical hurdles. In a study conducted by the Greenwich University, it was concluded that 41.9% of Chinese selfies did not reveal any location information. This implies that it is less efficient for marketers to obtain location information from Chinese consumers. Some Chinese consumer selfies even hinted that photo takers particularly hide the location information by using Photoshop to blur the background.
A Selfie That Can Predict Your Life Expectancy
Various life insurance companies are testing the bounds of Lapetus technology that uses facial analytics and other data to estimate the life expectancy of users.Insurers are using various life expectancy estimates for the approval of policies and other pricing decisions.
For instance, insurers pull out the prescription drug histories, vehicle records, and reports that are disclosed by individuals regarding their health history.Many companies are exploring new ways of using additional data, AI, and various other techniques to help consumers make quick buying decisions.
While going for a life insurance policy, consumers don’t like to wait in interminable queues. A huge pain in the neck for consumers is the protracted approval process. With Iapetus technology, this process has never been easier. This could appeal to consumers who want a quick way to buy coverage.
On the contrary, the largest photo-sharing websites assert that users are comfortable sharing photos with their partners, and the photos that are marked as private, are not available for the marketers.
There is a jungle of information out there. And the way we breathe, think, and snap photos over the internet gives marketers a gateway to judge the moods and buying preferences of users. And a picture may be worth more than a thousand words to marketers who live to mine them.