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Snapchat considers image recognition to push brand ads

Tue 19 Jul 2016

Snapchat app

Snapchat is looking into using image recognition technologies to better deliver targeted ads. In its recent patent application, titled ‘Object Recognition Based Photo Filters’, the social media company proposed a series of tailored filters to push commercial offers related to the photo a user is sharing.

The patent, which was first filed in January 2015 and published last week, describes a situation where a user posts an image of a cup of coffee, which Snapchat will be able to recognise and send a coupon for a free drink.

The company suggests that brands could compete for the opportunity to have their filters included for certain objects, in much the same way as they do for search results. A user’s snap of a cup of coffee could lead to a bidding war between Starbucks and Café Nero for example, battling to get their ads offered to the user.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 15.37.52Counting over 150 million users, Snapchat already leverages its popularity with filters and augmented reality to enhance user/brand interaction. The messaging app saw particular success from its sponsored Gatorade Super Bowl campaign which saw over 160 million impressions.

The new deep image recognition software is expected to go beyond simple filters, gathering data about what the user is posting and where they are located, among other information to improve targeted advertising.

The patent is yet to be granted, but it is a confident step for the app which is exploring new ways to reach out to its growing global audience. In this same push, Snapchat has teamed up with international media and sports brands, such as Sony pictures, the NBA, Universal Pictures and EA Sports.

Its newly introduced ‘Discover’ feature seeks to target its young audience, publishing editorial posts from the likes of Buzzfeed and Sky News. This channel contains news stories and behind-the-scenes footage, but has recently been accused of exposing youngsters to sexual and offensive content.

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