Heads up: Tumblr is going to analyze your pictures.  Companies are constantly looking for ways to better understand customer sentiment for their brand, so brands analyzing social media messages is not breaking news.  However, a deal struck between Tumblr and Ditto Labs reveals that now, not only are written messages studied, but images posted to Tumblr will also be analyzed. 

Don’t worry: your cat gifs are not going to be analyzed to determine what kind of person you are (we already know).  But, that Coke can sitting by your window and the NIKE sweatshirt you are wearing will be recorded.  As will into which age group you fall, and what kind of “sentiment” you seem to present.  An interesting note is that (reportedly) the data scans are not going to be used to instantaneously present you with tailored ads.  Rather, companiess want to understand how their brands are being perceived to ensure their products are generating the right kind of “buzz”.  For example, if a lot of teenagers post pictures smiling while holding a Coke can, Coke can assume that their product is pretty well liked and has a positive association for teenagers.  However, if it is mostly surly goths who post pics of themselves holding Coke cans, Coca Cola may decide to change its advertising strategy.  

Initially, Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr seemed kind of strange, and not exactly one of the best moves on Yahoo’s business side.  But this recent deal with Ditto will likely benefit Yahoo to the same extent as the brands that want to track users’ information.  Several big brands, such as Cadillac, Kraft, and Coke have already been utilizing Ditto’s services to track interest and sentiment in their respective brands.  

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out with regard to postings on Tumblr.  Of course, it remains to be seen how the unwitting research subjects will react if they discover that their postings  are being scanned for brand research.  


Sources: Engadget  and The Verge