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A selfie-centred attitude to digital marketing

Taking ‘selfies’, a photograph of yourself with a mobile device, has exploded in popularity over the last few years with the trend being taken up by celebrities and ordinary people alike, but  marketing companies are now able to use the images to better target their campaigns.

Many firms in the sector are also going further, by using the online images taken from social media sites for their own advertising needs.

Actively searching and downloading for images that can be used for their clients, digital marketing firms are able to store photographs of the public, often their own customers, to be repurposed for campaigns and initiatives in the pipeline. The stored images are also useful for analytics.

They can be used to isolated and identify trends, for example; be it in places being visited, drinks being drunk, or food being eaten. They can even extend to geopolitical hot topics. It’s a natural progression from what firms have been doing for a number of years since social media became the popular platform it is today.

Largely led by start-ups, posts to social networks have been text data-mined to enable trend spotting.

Image-mining takes this to the next level, but adds extra, with emotions able to be captured far more easily through an image than through a passage of text.

The move towards image-mining has seen many people raise issues over privacy and control of personal data. However, the likes of Pinterest and Instagram all have settings allowing users to flag images as non-public, which would remove them from the repository available to accredited marketers.

Regards the publicly available images, there are no rules in place to prevent these from being analysed and used. However, state authorities are likely to want greater transparency moving forward as personal privacy becomes an increasingly hotly discussed topic on the world stage.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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