What is an image intelligence platform?



Connecting with your intended audience – in a compelling way – is one of the biggest problems digital marketers face. That’s where an image intelligence platform can help.

The internet is a funny thing. People have never been more connected. But to digital marketers, audiences are still so far out of reach.

This is especially true when it comes to display advertising. Display ad performance is catastrophically low. Even worse, if you try to get more targeted, CPM skyrockets.

Why is there such a big disconnect?

The problem, at its core, relates to the images we use in our ads – whether stock or proprietary. And that’s where image intelligence comes in. But before we get into what image intelligence is, let’s talk about what it’s not.

Image Metadata vs. Image Intelligence

Every photo has metadata or information that helps describe the image in some way. This includes technical attributes like height, width and pixels. But also metadata that describes the content of the image, name of the photographer or date and time when the photograph was taken.

When you search on a traditional stock image site, results usually populate in order of relevance, matching your search term to this image metadata.

Image intelligence, on the other hand, returns results based on the context of the images, not the image itself.

For example: Instead of searching for “dog” and getting all the images with “dog” in the metadata, you’re getting an answer for this question: “Is this a good image for an ad targeted to pet food buyers?”

Image intelligence is all about the audience. And by leveraging this contextual, audience driven data, an image intelligence platform automatically generates images with the highest utility in a given context.

Why You Need an Image Intelligence Platform

Traditional stock photo sites have close to half a billion images. That would take decades for a human to wade through.

Image intelligence platforms use AI and machine learning to recommend images based on a specific audience model. In short, the engine looks through all the photos so you don’t have to.

This solves three problems:

Ineffective Ads

The failure to connect with your audience leads to ineffective ads—and money on the table. We are seeing increasingly lower rates of success in digital ads. These costs add up significantly over time.

Wasted Time

Busy marketers and designers simply don’t have the time to sort through the millions of stock images at their disposal – so they stick to the first few pages of results. Prospects see the same stock photos again and again. And marketers fail to capture their attention.

Subjective Selection

Why did you pick a given image for use in an ad?

Even the best designers can’t predict how people are going to respond to an image. At the end of the day, digital marketers have very little insight into which images will work and which won’t.

For digital marketers, this subjective selection process can’t – and often doesn’t – hold up to client scrutiny. Image intelligence was developed to help marketers and creativespick images that will drive results, in dramatically less time.

So how does it actually work?

How Image Intelligence Platforms Work

An image intelligence platform operates very similarly to Google Search.

Most people stick to the first page of Google’s results—maybe even only the top three on page 1. This is because Google’s algorithm knows what the best content is for your search. Google indexed everything on the internet and doesn’t expect us, as searchers, to have the expertise (or time) to wade through millions of results to pick the right one.

The same concept can be applied to images. Again, there are millions of images out there. Why should it be up to the searcher to pick the best one?

An image intelligence platform does the same thing as Google. It provides the best results at the top of the search, aligning with your search intent (i.e., the images most likely to resonate with your target audience).

Using AI and machine learning, an image intelligence platform can generate contextual ranking data on images in a large set – from 50 to 50 million. The platform then scores images through the lens of an audience model. In short, it sees and ranks the images the way your audience would.

A search for cars targeted to an outdoorsy audience, for example, will return very different results than a search for cars targeted to a travel audience.

The image intelligence platform does all the work, so the marketing team can focus on other more important tasks. For you, it’s as simple as:

  1. Deciding your target audience.
  2. Searching in the image intelligence platform.
  3. Receiving the best results for the intended audience.


Finding the right image – one that will drive clicks, leads or purchases – is a guessing game played by creatives. Image intelligence offers a data-driven, AI-powered way to narrow down the selection process.


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