Confessions of a Marketer: How to Spark Creativity. What will Change with YouScan Visual Insights?

Clients always know best what they need. That's the whole truth. They don’t always understand this and sometimes cannot tell you directly, but they will certainly provide you with a hint or give you a sign. Seeing what your customers say about your brand on social networks is the same as eavesdropping on people who really trust each other, and such insights are extremely difficult to find somewhere else.

Zhanna Isaieva

Zhanna Isaieva

Content Marketing Manager

29 September 2019

Spark Your Creativity

The majority of people who don’t work with marketing directly think that all marketers are creative loafers in an eternal search for fresh ideas on how to sell their product to clients regardless of whether they need it or not. All true, but not really :)

Feeling unqualified? Professional burnout is real.

You cannot even imagine how often people tell me something like, “we need something completely new,” “this is not trendy,” “let's create something with a WOW factor,” “well, each of you is to come up with 10 completely new options to declare who we are." Of course this is my job, and I love it no matter what. But just imagine. You’ve been working at a company for 5 years, and the company produces, for instance, sofas. In such a case, it is really difficult to generate (and then, by the way, implement) new ideas given the fact that sofas always remain sofas regardless of the way you choose to write, describe or present them.

This is when technology comes to the rescue.

Social networks shape the future! Or not.

Just 10 years ago, social networks were just a tool to show yourself off by posting photos with a new hairstyle, with the Statue of Liberty in the background, and with the sweetest memories of your wedding. It’s so different now. Social networks are now a powerful tool for advertising, they can help draw attention to a critical social problem or get revenge on poor service from a cashier in a supermarket. Social networks give rise to trends and dictate fashion, they are able to destroy or elevate a brand in a matter of minutes, they will not allow anything to go unnoticed - remember the Reebok scandal?

I always wonder why so many brands still neglect social network analytics. Customers themselves tell you what they like and what they don’t, what they need and what they lack - 10 years ago, it could have been a great plot for a sci-fi film, but now it’s a beautiful reality. And although, probably, 97% of companies have hired an SMM manager who successfully creates posts and responds to private messages, this is not enough. What if you are not tagged, hashtagged and nobody contacts you personally? By the way, people tend to take pictures than write longreads now.

Who needs social media analytics? Everybody.

What do I mean by all of this? Now I use YouScan Visual Insights and, oh my God, I don’t want to sound dramatic, but now my career can be divided into “before” and “after”. The software allows you to recognize the brand logo in photos, as well as identify the scene, people (including their age, gender, etc.), objects, colors, etc. To back this up, I offer you a simple example:Starbucks, a well-known brand that will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2 years with tens of thousands of coffee shops all over the world, impeccable service and delicious coffee - how could YouScan Visual Insights be useful to them?

I decided to analyze the spring period when people go out more often and start switching from hot lattes to cool frappucinos. I also applied the English language filter to understand exactly what is being said.

Analytics on geography showed that Starbucks photos most often appear in the USA - more than 48K mentions, Canada is in second place - 4,737:

Geography Distribution

As expected, most people associate Starbucks coffee with breakfast or part of it, as well as with almost the only way to start a productive working day:

Starbucks Visual AnalysisStarbucks Visual Analysis

Although, it was quite surprising for me that one of the posts with the greatest audience engagement was devoted to the harmfulness of coffee for health:

Starbucks Instagram Post

Maybe Starbucks should think about the release of some healthy product line that will be at least half as tasty as the one on the right…?

The social networks where people mention Starbucks most often are traditionally Instagram and Facebook.

Starbucks - Sources of Discussions

I detected the biggest burst of activity with Starbucks photos on Earth Day - April 22. This day, Starbucks launched "reusable cups" (with English - refillable glasses) for both hot and cold drinks. Moreover, eco-conscious shoppers from now on may even consider the purchase of a reusable straw. Grateful customers happily shared news across all channels:

Strarbucks Reusable Cups - Discussions

However, there were also those who blamed Starbucks for the desire to just make some extra money:

Starbucks Reusable Cups - Negative DiscussionsStarbucks Reusable Cups - Negative Discussions - SourcesStarbucks Reusable Cups - Sources Distribution

And if you add a couple of filters and remove promo and commercial posts, you will see that the TOP list almost hasn’t changed, only Facebook and Instagram switched their places:

Starbucks - Sources of DiscussionsStarbucks - Sources Distribution

Women, as it turned out, mention Starbucks coffee on their social networks a little more often:

Starbucks - mentions by gender

By excluding all communities from the search, we can see that as many as 62.4% of posts made by a real person belong to women:


On the dashboard below, you can see that most of the posts were made by people aged 18 to 24.

Starbucks - Mentions by age

The word cloud that most often accompanies the mention of this brand in the photo looks like this:

Starbucks - Word Cloud

And yes, they are all clickable! Therefore, if you wonder what is behind the mysterious ‘flamingo’, then you can simply click on the word, and Youscan will transport you to all the fans of the fancy pink coffee, which appeared on the market in some countries on April 10:

Starbucks and Flamingo - Mentions

What I love most is the system’s AI capabilities, which can recognize the rest of the objects in the photo:

Starbucks - Visual Analysis

For example, I can add a filter for some other brand and see all the photos with Starbucks and, for example, Apple logos:

Starbucks - Instagram Post

This is a very handy tool if you need to see in which photos you intersect with competitors, or to identify the need for a joint marketing campaign.

Furthermore, if you are going to share the photos you found somewhere, you may need to filter them by color. Here's what I found with the light pink filter:

Starbucks - Instagram Post

And here is a complete set of light brown colored photos:

Starbucks - Color Set Photos

By the way, the number of photos with dogs is amazing. If I were Starbucks, I would definitely think of how this can be used in further product development:

Starbucks - Instagram Post - DogStarbucks - Instagram Post - DogStarbucks - Instagram Post - Dog

By choosing the “architecture” scene, you can see many beautiful photos of tourists with a cup of coffee in their hands:

Starbucks - Instagram Post - ArchitectureStarbucks - Instagram Post - ArchitectureStarbucks - Instagram Post - Architecture

Probably everyone knows about the Starbucks’ Been There Series souvenir cups. And if, having looked at these photos, they would launch such custom one-time cups with beautiful city illustrations? I would buy one, for sure, because, as you know, marketers are the most vulnerable to marketing tricks:)

And in the next photo, it immediately becomes clear that the investments that were made to design this building are justified at least by the fact that people take photos like this:

Starbucks - Instagram Post

And here's a photo selection that shows people like to drink coffee at the wheel.

Starbucks - Instagram Post - WheelStarbucks - Instagram Post - WheelStarbucks - Instagram Post - Wheel

Clients always know best what they need. That's the whole truth. They don’t always understand this and sometimes cannot tell you directly, but they will certainly provide you with a hint or give you a sign. Seeing what your customers say about your brand on social networks is the same as eavesdropping on people who really trust each other, and such insights are extremely difficult to find somewhere else. This is why I think that it is extremely irresponsible to neglect such a resource.

The most important conclusion is that social networks help brands understand the target audience better and provide you with unlimited insights on what your next step should be, starting with a topic idea for your next blog post, ato maybe a new idea for a product line. And it does not matter at all whether your company is a small startup or a multi-million dollar corporation - everyone will find their own unique benefits. Only by adding visual analytics to the standard analysis of social networks by engagement, likes, comments, mentions and hashtags, you are able to see the most complete view of your brand on social networks. Thus, the company drives customer loyalty, and marketers get their second wind☺