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How Image Recognition Is Going to Improve Your Social Media Ads The technology may strike users as a bit creepy but it could be a big plus for you to zero in on the right customers.

By Syed Balkhi Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

wonry | Getty Images

Today, more and more companies are realizing that capturing the attention of their audience on social media is the best way to promote their products, drive traffic to their websites and increase conversions. In fact, according to GlobalWebIndex, the average internet user now spends about 15 minutes longer each day on social platforms than he or she does watching TV.

Related: 17 Amazing -- and Surprising -- Uses of Facial Recognition Technology

Overall, the power of social media is increasing day after day and with that comes more powerful and effective social media ads.

Because of this, Facebook has recently acquired a new patent for image recognition technology that will change the way advertisers obtain photos on social media. This new technology will have the ability to scan thousands of images on social media at once and sort through them for signs of your product, competitor products, logos and so on.

While this technology may strike most users as a bit creepy -- it's basically stalking their photos on social media and sharing those photos and profile information with advertisers -- it can provide many benefits for your business. So, when it arrives, how will you be able to use this futuristic technology to better advertise to your target audience online?

Here's how image recognition will improve your social media ads.

Identify users' favorite products.

As mentioned, Facebook's image recognition technology is able to scan photos on social media and identify certain products and logos within the images. So, this technology has the ability to help you find out the exact favorite products chosen by your target audience. For instance, you could use the technology to discover if your target audience is using a competitor's product.

Discovering this information could help you tailor your social media ads to those users and encourage them to switch.

On the other hand, you could discover users online who are already using your product and posting photos of it online and use that information to upsell or cross-sell related products to them.The technology could even encourage repeat purchases: For example, if a user posted an image on social media with his recent Starbucks order, a Starbucks ad could be displayed on social media soon after to convince this coffee drinker to return again.

Determine buying behavior.

Image recognition can also help you find more of your target audience by determining buying behavior. Picture this: Image recognition software scans images on social media and finds a user who posted a photo of herself wearing a Cartier bracelet and holding a Louis Vuitton handbag.

Related: Can Artificial Intelligence Identify Pictures Better than Humans?

This information will tell you that this social media user is interested in purchasing luxury items and may have a higher income than average. Instead of wasting time promoting your luxury brand to users who aren't interested, your use of image recognition software gives you a good idea who is most likely to become your customer.

For instance, the following Rolex Facebook ad wouldn't get clicked on by everyone. But if you're in the luxury products segment, using image recognition software lets you display the ad specifically to luxury shoppers.

Image source:

Don't forget that image recognition software can scan images for other types of logos as well. So, if someone on social media posts a photo of herself in her kitchen, image recognition can scan and identify the labels of products in the background. If the products seen are generic-brand, you can guess that that user values affordability.

Find new product uses.

You can also use image recognition software to discover new ways your customers are using your products that you've never thought of before. Not only can image recognition scan social media images for products, but it has the ability to identify other objects in images as well.

As an example, imagine you've created a backpack that's designed with campers and hikers specifically in mind. But, when image recognition software scans images on Facebook for your product, the tool discovers something in common with many of the images: Your backpack made for hikers is being used by many high school and college students for everyday use. Finding these new fans and this new use for your product will allow you to better market your product to those previously undiscovered audiences.

Related: How to Do a Reverse Image Search From Your Phone

Over to you

As you can see, image recognition will soon have the ability to supercharge your social media ads. Instead of targeting ads towards general demographics such as age, gender, location and interests, you'll be able to take a peek into the lives of social media users to find out exactly where your target audience is and what they want. Creepy? Sort of. Effective? Absolutely.

Syed Balkhi

Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of WPBeginnerOptinMonster and WPForms

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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