Brand Monitoring

Visual Listening: Uncovering Hidden Demographics

Visual Listening: Uncovering Hidden Demographics

Reading Time: 5 minutes

First of all, what is Visual Listening?

Visual Listening is essentially the same thing as Social Listening or Social Media Listening, but instead of analyzing text-based mentions, it analyzes visual mentions, i.e. shared images, GIFs, and videos containing brands or their products. Many Social Media Monitoring companies, such as Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon, have recently integrated Visual Listening tools into their offering. Why? Because we are currently living in a Visual Age on social media. We are constantly sharing images and videos online. In fact, over 80% of social media posts contain images or videos. Additionally, around 88% of logos that appear in images do not include any mention of the brand in the accompanying text.

In response to this evolution in digital communication, brands are now starting to ask: “how many of these posts contain my logo?” Visual Listening that uses logo detection technology can, depending on the offering, tell a brand who is talking about their products with visuals, what they are saying, where they are saying it, and more.

instagram influencers_B2B ephemeral content

In this blog-post, we are going to explore a specific insight that brands can use Visual Listening to find: demographics. Some Social Media Monitoring companies are currently providing their customers with vital data that will reveal hidden demographics they would otherwise be unaware of without visual analytics. A brand might have an untapped demographic out there and visual analytics will help that brand to find them. This will provide them with insights about the customer experience which can assist marketers with future strategies.

Be Sure To Also Read ->Brand Monitoring Use Case Overview

It already works for text-based monitoring

Social Media Monitoring company, Netbase, recently published a case study all about how the QSR (quick service restaurant), Arby’s found the demographic of hunters for their new venison sandwich using textual analysis. So how did they do this? Firstly, they created a venison sandwich and offered it in test markets. They then measured the number of posts and impressions from their test restaurants, as well as Net Sentiment and Passion Intensity of diners who want something unique from QSRs. The main result was that they discovered this new demographic. So if it can work for textual analytics, can it also work for visual analytics?

Without a Visual Listening tool, brands are missing out not just on insights, but also on key consumer demographics. Let’s explore what we mean by this. So clearly researching new demographics works for text-based analysis. But by monitoring visual mentions, a completely different target demographic could be uncovered which would help marketers to come up with new campaigns such as this one. And it’s not just restaurants; any brand can discover demographics and psychographics using Visual Listening. Visual mentions are extremely important to monitor if brands want to find these “hidden” insights.

Another way in which brands can uncover new demographics is by monitoring popular hashtags to isolate a niche segment. For example, within the running community, brands can find out if they are qualifiers for that audience based on their visibility within that segment. Demographically, most brands render a 50/50 split between male and female runners. However, with a Visual Listening tool, they could yield completely different results. When a neutral outcome such as this occurs it can be difficult for brands to figure out which direction their marketing teams should take in terms of strategies.

And it’s not just this segment. If you are a brand that uses Social Listening and text-based analysis and you want to determine which gender is more likely to buy your product, it could be the case that the results from your analysis are neutral. In other words, by using textual analysis, you find that both men and women have an equal interest in your product. However, using image analysis, you could discover that women are posting more photos of your product than men. Having insights based on visual analytics and textual analytics allows brands to see the whole picture.

You can also take this a step further and use sentiment analysis, object detection, or scene detection. Not only are more women posting photos of your product than men, but you also find out where those products are being used and how the people using them feel about a product. Are they looking annoyed, happy, angry, or upset in the shared image? This can help brands to find out which demographics are responding positively or negatively to new products they release that they wouldn’t be able to with textual analysis alone.

Brands may even discover that a demographic they have been targeting for years they thought was the most dominant segment among their existing and potential customers isn’t posting any images of their products on social media at all.

Let’s look at some examples of demographics found using Visual Listening


Brandwatch’s logo recognition guide analyzed the days men and women each share images of their Starbucks drinks at work using logo detections from visual mentions. Monitoring text-based mentions alone could tell a completely different story, so it’s important for Social Listening companies to integrate image recognition into their existing platform.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon also used Visual Listening to discover that their target demographic (beer drinkers) enjoy drinking with their dogs. With this information, the brand created a social media campaign targeted to beer drinkers and their pets. Without visual analytics, it’s likely that Pabst Blue Ribbon would have missed this lucrative marketing opportunity.

Carlsberg, Nissan, and Emirates

A report conducted by Brandwatch revealed that Carlsberg, Nissan, and Emirates generate the highest volumes of images from males, mainly thanks to sponsorships of male-dominated sports. With this information at these brands’ fingertips, they can analyze those images from their predominantly male audience and generate insights based on further sentiment analysis.


This Instagram account of a fashion influencer has posted an abundance of images of Nike shoes, like this one. If they aren’t sponsored by Nike, they definitely should consider a sponsorship deal as the majority of posts contain Nike shoes. The account doesn’t include textual references to Nike in the accompanying caption, so logo detection would be needed to find this image. Female fashion could be a whole new demographic for Nike that they have yet to tap into. And without a Visual Listening tool, this brand wouldn’t be able to find any of this Instagram account’s posts.


Crimson Hexagon recently held a webinar centred around image analysis. During the webinar, they ran both their image and text analytics tools on a large bank. What they discovered was that their textual analytics rendered completely different results in comparison to their visual analytics in terms of demographics. Text-based monitoring revealed that the bank’s target demographic skews more male (75%) who are largely over 35.

Visual-based monitoring, however, found that the bank’s demographic is predominantly female, the majority of which are under 17. This would provide lifetime value for the bank as this demographic is very young. If they became customers, they would likely remain their customers for years to come. Without monitoring their visual mentions, this bank’s perception of their target demographic would have been completely biased as a result of only monitoring text-based mentions.

Get the whole story by monitoring visuals

The amount of visual content online is increasing among social media users and is bringing with it huge volumes of data for brands to analyze. According to Sysomos, to miss this data is to miss out on a number of insights including customer preferences, shared affinities, consumer demographics, trends among consumer interests, locations, and experiences among other data points.

What brands need is rounded insights generated from both textual and visual data. Visual Listening allows brands to get the whole story of what is being said, not just by their customers but also by their competitors’ customers. The demographics that can be uncovered using visual analytics are unprecedented. The future is visual and brands need to be equipped with the insights these visuals will create.

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