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    Since the dawn of time, we’ve used images to express ourselves. From cave painting to emoji, we share our emotions - fear, love, hate, anger, pleasure… 

    We share billions of images online. Often, these images contain brand logos, but they’re not the focus, and the brand isn’t tagged. Crucially, the intelligence they provide is valuable to brands. So it has to be captured.

    For instance… You’re sponsoring a sports event. Your logo will be everywhere - t-shirts, pitch-side banners, literature, food containers, etc. You’re hoping to increase brand awareness and recognition, but how do you know if it was a success?

    Is your logo being seen online in social media posts shared from the event? What’s the context - negative or positive? Is your logo visible?

    Let's look at a real-life image recognition example...

    Euro 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic. Following the event we analyzed how much social media exposure the sponsors earned.We all remember Cristiano Ronaldo swapping a bottle of Coke for a bottle of water, but Coca-Cola wasn't the brand that won the sponsorship battle.

    TikTok. Yes, TikTok was the stand out brand throughout Euro 2020.Using image recognition, we found the TikTok logo identified as a contributor to the official tournament branding. With 50K in engagement coming from user-generated content.

    Fans chose TikTok as the platform on which they shared their reactions. TikTok's sponsorship of Euro 2020 targeted existing users, and presented to its core target audience.

    Image recognition revealing consumer insights that show TikTok via official tournament branding, plus user-generated content.

    Image recognition found the TikTok logo via official tournament branding and fans sharing content on the platform. Proving a ROI of the sponsorship.

    Image recognition data will show you whether there was an increase in brand visibility, by finding those posts shared during and after the event. More consumers engaging with your brand is a strong indication that you have a ROI from your sponsorship.

    There are over 3.2 billion images shared online every day. This means more exposure to image data than ever before.

    Social media users have fully-embraced the concept of sharing photos alongside or in place of text. An image shared, which includes your brand logo but no mention, has to be found in real time. Has to be monitored.

    • A positive image, and you've found yourself some great user-generated content
    • A negative image, and you need crisis management. Quick.

    Evidence of this real-life explosion of, “a picture is worth a thousand words” can be seen in the growing popularity of video and photo-based social media platforms - I included Twitter, just because - such as…

    Being able to identify, analyze, and exploit this growing trend is essential if you want to protect and promote your brand. With the future of digital marketing dominated by visual data - image recognition technology has to exist. Without it, you're missing out on a whole heap of image data.

    Data that shows where your product is used, i.e., drinking Coca-Cola with pizza, eating pizza on the terrace, etc. Data that shows how consumers are using your product and whether they're crying out for features that you're not providing, but your competitors are.

    So much data!

    I'm going to list some awesome image recognition tools. They have different features, capabilities, and prices. I've included Talkwalker's proprietary AI-enabled image recognition technology because IMHO it's the best image recognition software on the market. Accuracy levels and ease of use, ensure it's the industry leader.

    Here's a quick spoiler...

    In 2021, following Mattel’s 2020 #ThankYouHeroes campaign celebrating frontline healthcare workers and other everyday heroes keeping communities safe during the pandemic, the brand chose to recognize six women who’ve been role models in the battle against COVID-19, by creating one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls of each.

    Most engaging images - Barbie's latest collection - found with Talkwalker's image recognition tool

    We used image recognition to find images of the dolls, and female role models like Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr. Jaqueline Goes, and identified high levels of engagement. Source: Market Pulse

    Conversations focused on the incredible women chosen by Mattel and how this initiative would inspire the next generation of female scientists.

    Table of contents

    What is image recognition?

    Definition of image recognition technology? A computer using its 'eyes', as you would use yours.

    Driverless cars, facial-recognition, and accurate object detection in real time. Without image recognition powered by machine learning models, none of these things would exist.

    Check out What is image analysis?, if you're looking for more in-depth information.

    Image recognition is the creation of a neural network that processes all the pixels that make up an image. These convolution neural networks are presented with multiple images of objects - already identified - so that the network can learn and recognize similar objects.

    For instance... Artificial intelligence - AI - would be shown thousands of images of shoes. The AI would learn what images of shoes should contain - laces, heels, buckles, studs, etc. When you show an image of an elephant, the artificial intelligence would compare all the pixels in the elephant image to all the images of shoes it's been presented with. Finding no or few matches, the AI would recognize the object as an elephant. 

    Deep learning, AI-powered image recognition software - computer vision - has been adopted by many businesses - pharma and healthcare, security, fashion and beauty, automotive, e-commerce. Let's look at some.

    Here are examples of object detection tools that you may have heard of, but didn't realize used image recognition technology...

    • Driverless cars combine image recognition software and computer vision to recognize vehicles, pedestrians, and road signs. 
    • Price comparison sites use photographs uploaded by consumers of something they're interested in buying. Using an app like Google Shopper to find prices and nearby stores.
    • Google Image Search works when users share an image or URL. The search engine then displays all instances where the image appears on the web.
    • Is it a dog or not? Not Hotdog - for those times when you really need to know if something is a... hotdog.

    Not Hotdog app using image recognition technology

    I can confirm that the image on the left is a hotdog.

    Why should I use image recognition?

    The data found with image recognition tools can be used in many ways. From understanding your customers and their interests and creating targeted ads for specific groups, to protecting your trademark and brand identity. Imagine being able to provide Facebook ads based on people’s individual preferences and passions. Think of the PR crisis you can dodge when you catch someone using your logo on fake goods.

    Just, WOW!

    Dog lovers could be exposed to advertisements for the trendiest new canine treats, while cat lovers could receive recommendations for the best cat foods.

    Image recognition tools will help you better understand your customer base - buying behavior, expectations, issues. Understand what would help you break into a new market, ensure that no one is misusing your logo, and analyze the true reach of your marketing.

    It can provide digital consumer insights you desperately need and open your eyes to new possibilities that you would have missed. A recognition system is the compass every business needs to navigate the complicated terrain of a modern digital world.

    This post will give you some insight into the various image recognition tools available, and help you decide which is best for your business and your brand.

    What can image recognition tools do?

    Image recognition tools can recognize, analyze, and interpret images. Don't take this the wrong way, but they're so much more efficient than you and your team.

    They'll save you time and money. Image recognition tools can sort through countless images and quickly return image data that's uniquely applicable to your brand.

    I’ve created a list of the 13 best image recognition tools and what sets them apart. Take a look!

    Benefits of using image recognition

    Image recognition involves recognizing scenes and objects, and detecting logos in an image, using machine learning. Achieved by comparing an object with those stored in a database.

    Avoid trademark abuse

    Image recognition tools protect your brand from trademark and copyright abuse. Your logo and reputation are your most valuable assets. Misuse of them will damage your brand image. Losing customers and trust.

    Use images your audience love

    Track the engagement of your visual posts to determine how popular they are. Does your audience prefer photos, infographics, illustrations, vector images? Choosing visual branding that resonates will persuade and convert consumers.

    Find untagged comments

    It may be a positive comment or a negative one. Regardless, you need to find it. Either to say thanks, or to apologize and fix an issue.

    As I've already said, consumers don’t always tag the brand they’re talking about. They share a video or a photo with your product in shot. Image recognition tools will find these untagged comments, so you can protect your reputation and potentially, find brand advocates.

    What are the types of image recognition?

    Image recognition is used for surveillance, security, image retrieval, machine inspection, and automated vehicle systems. Including… 

    • Optical character recognition - OCR
    • Tracking objects
    • Facial recognition
    • Self-driving cars
    • Emotion detection
    • Medical imaging

    Image recognition use cases

    Thanks to intuitive platforms like Talkwalker, AI-enabled image recognition is no longer a tool restricted to IT experts. The ability to train models means that industries across the board are able to meet their specific requirements. 

    Digital marketing

    Use AI-enabled image recognition to collect consumer insights. Throw sentiment analysis into the mix, and you’ll have a full understanding of how consumers feel and think about your brand and products. Even if they don’t tag your brand.

    Find the best influencers for your brand by looking at what they’re sharing on their accounts. The images they’re posting, and the brands they’re promoting.

    Train an image recognition tool to find inappropriate images - nudity, weapons, violent acts - content moderation, to ensure your branding guidelines are met.  

    Looking to measure brand awareness and visibility, image recognition tools trained to recognize logos can track how often your logo appears in images. 


    In grocery stores, image recognition can be used at check-outs to identify products, such as fruit and veg. Identifying the objects and the quantity.

    To improve stock management, image recognition tech can be used to scan shelves to find those that need restocking, to organize misplaced items, and track use-by-dates.

    Image recognition also came to the rescue of consumers looking to buy clothes. Imagine never having to strip off in a cramped changing room, trying to dodge the unnecessary stool without accidentally opening the curtain.

    Smart mirrors - digital mirrors, smart displays, visual mirrors - used in brick and mortar stores know when a person stands in front of it. It suggests clothes based on what the consumer is wearing. The mirror then shows them different new outfits. The shopper can choose different styles, colors, etc.

    Visual search has been adopted by several retailers - H&M, ASOS, and more - to save consumers having to spend ages searching websites for the perfect item. Visual search allows shoppers to upload an image of an item to the retailer's website, and find similar items.


    Home security systems stepped up with the introduction of image recognition technology. 

    While many homes have security systems, motion detectors aren't very discerning and the alarm can go off when your cat finds a mouse to chase.

    Image recognition technology overcomes this problem with facial recognition software. With some systems sending live video to your chosen device.

    Causing controversy, many police forces have also adopted facial recognition technology to monitor crowds when looking for suspects.


    Let's talk about autonomous cars. On the one hand, a scary prospect, driverless cars have a place in the world.

    Video cameras to monitor traffic lights, road signs, vehicles, and pedestrians. Radar - radio detection and ranging - and lidar - light detection and ranging - sensors, are driving us closer to a world with empty drivers' seats.

    The benefits are obvious - minimize accidents, reduced emissions, and eased congestion. Driverless cars don't break the rules of the road, don't get distracted, and react quickly.


    Image recognition software can be used in the agricultural industry to identify when and which crops need watering, which are infested with insects, and which have diseases. Faster and more effective than doing manually, crops can be rescued and money saved.


    Hospitals can get fast diagnosis of tumors, bone fractures, tissue anomalies, and some types of cancer with image recognition software. For instance, birthmarks and moles can be scanned for skin cancer, with any irregularities indicating that further testing is required.

    Check out Facebook's Automated Alternative Text feature and LookTel for image recognition tools developed to help people who are visually impaired…


    With increasing demand comes mass production. From car parts to bars of soap, safety and quality are essential to ensure the safety of consumers. Image recognition tools can be trained to create an image database of the correct product, to find defects - for instance, items are all the same size, color, etc.

    Image recognition tools

    Call me biased, but I'm going to jump straight in with what I consider to be the best image recognition tool on the market. Talkwalker's Consumer Intelligence Acceleration Platform, powered by our Blue Silk™ AI.

    Talkwalker | Proprietary image recognition technology

    Talkwalker's image recognition technology allows you to search a database of over 30,000 logos, as well as scenes and objects. Meaning you have access to virtually any company information you could possibly need.

    Beyond the sheer volume of imagery it can recognize, it also uses its adaptable proprietary technology to analyze both text and images, in conjunction.

    Help Me Protect My Brand With Image Recognition!

    From maximizing the reach and targeting of your advertising, to being alerted each time someone posts about your brand - text mention or not - Talkwalker's proprietary image recognition technology is a tool that'll add to existing knowledge you have of your brand, and help you use those social data insights as you continue to grow your business.

    Not every brand mention includes the brand name in the message. Talkwalker’s AI-enabled image recognition technology will identify a brand’s logo, text or not…

    Pernod Ricard - results over time and hidden mentions found with Talkwalker's image recognition tools

    Nearly a quarter - 1.1K out of 4.6K - of mentions around Pernod Ricard brands came from hidden mentions - visual results that don't include text mentions. 

    Do you know how your products are being used?

    During a 30-day period, the logos of many brands, including Evian, Danone, and Alpro, showed up in social media conversations.

    Most engaging posts - logos of many brands, including Evian, Danone, and Alpro, showed up in social media conversations, caught with image recognition.

    During a 30-day period, the logos of Evian, Danone, and Alpro,
    showed up in social media conversations.

    On TikTok, a vegan user posted a video of all the food they eat in a day. We used image recognition and captured the Alpro logo. 

    How many mentions of your brands’ logos are you missing by only tracking text mentions?

    We used our image recognition and found multiple logos from Nestlé’s brands in online conversations. The logos created a ton of traction, particularly KitKat. 

    Most engaging posts showing Nestle brands - found with image recognition tools

    Multiple logos from Nestlé’s brands found in online conversations with image recognition software.

    We found consumers sharing videos of the KitKat store in Japan, receiving over 4K interactions as people got excited about being able to personalize their chocolate.

     KitKat mention found with image recognition

    Yummy KitKat ice cream without brand mentioned, found with image recognition.

    One of the most popular images was of a KitKat ice cream, earning almost 10K engagements. With no text mention of the brand, it would have been impossible to find without our image recognition technology.

    Google Reverse Image Search | Search with image

    You've found the perfect image, but it's the wrong size. You need an image that's similar to the one you have.

    You need Google Reverse Image Search!

    As the name suggests, this image recognition tool allows you to upload an image and perform a search with it.

    You're searching with an image, rather than words. Cool!

    The great thing about this tool is that it's just as intuitive as a typical text-based Google search and it retains the power of Google.

    Examples of how you could use this tool include...

    • You need to find the source of an image so you can credit it correctly
    • Searching for improper use of an image that you own - trademark infringement

    If an image exists on the Internet, Google Reverse Image Search will help you find what you're looking for.

    Image recognition tools - Google Reverse Image Search

    Paste a URL or upload an image.

    Image recognition tools - Google Reverse Image Search

    Uploading the above screenshot from the F1, brings a heap of image recognition data.

    Google API Cloud Vision | Analyze images

    Google API Cloud Vision allows you to analyze images in many ways. From recognizing explicit content to detecting emotional cues in faces. With such a wide suite of features, it's a versatile tool that can be adapted to meet your specific needs.

    Beyond its flexibility, this image recognition tool carries with it the power of Google and all the name implies. This means it's one of the most powerful tools you'll find.

    Image Content Analysis -  Google Cloud

    Image recognition tool with the power of Google!

    Amazon Rekognition | Image & video recognition tools

    Another big name in the web-world, Amazon brings an image recognition tool to the table with unique offerings.

    Amazon Rekognition not only analyzes still images, it can also provide insight into videos

    It's a highly-technical program capable of...

    • Object, scene, and activity detection - playing football, bike, beach, city, etc.
    • Facial recognition - identify a person in a photo or video
    • Facial analysis - smiling, eyes open, glasses, beard, gender
    • Pathing - e.g. the movement of athletes during a game for post-game analysis
    • Unsafe content detection - identify unsafe or inappropriate content in images and video
    • Recognizing celebrities - identify the stars from your video and image libraries
    • Text in images - detect and recognize text such as street names, captions, product names, car number plates

    Amazon assures users that the constantly-learning image recognition tool is intuitive to integrate and use.

    A perk of Amazon Rekognition is that you only pay for data you use. This means there are no minimum fees in place. It allows you to use the program as you see fit and access all the benefits of a powerful system without breaking the bank.

    Image recognition tools

    Unsafe content detection and celebrity recognition.

    Amazon Rekognition - Video and Image

    Objects and scenes, facial recognition and analysis, person tracking.

    Talkwalker | Video analytics

    Amazon Rekognition isn't the only video analysis tool that can analyze images and videos. So, without shame, allow me to boast about Talkwalker's video analytics technology...

    "Today's brand captures. Tomorrow's business insights."

    Is your brand's logo missing in action?

    Talkwalker's AI-powered video recognition technology lets you capture the value of your brand in action. 

    If you use our video analytics technology along with our image recognition, you'll be able to find 3x the amount of brand mentions. Regardless of whether your brand is included in the written content.

    In our vast database, our visual recognition technology has access to over 30,000 logos, objects, and scenes.

    Campaign engagement up by 50%

    Exploit user-generated content to drive brand awareness. UGC can improve campaign engagement by 50%, increase email click-through by 73%, and conversions by 29%.

    Don't ignore free advertising.

    Crisis management

    Protecting your most valuable asset. Your logo.

    Use visual analytics to find every mention of your logo, be it in videos or photos. With or without a text mention of your brand. Protect your trademark and brand reputation. Find counterfeit products and logo abuse. Catch a negative issue before it becomes a full-blown PR crisis.

    Clarifai | Search for similar images

    This image recognition tool lets you search for images using other images. Imagine the potential uses?

    For instance, you might want to find images based on similarities, and words can only take you so far.

    I'll say it again - a picture is worth a thousand words, if not more.

    Try as you might to describe an image to a search engine, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to explain the image exactly and find what you’re looking for. The Clarifai image recognition tool does the work for you. It helps you to find similar images simply by choosing photos and telling the tool what to do.

    Clarifai - image recognition tool - search with an image

    The tool analyzes a photo and recognizes mammal, wildlife, outdoors, grass, animal, herd, ivory... elephant!


    Image recognition tools - search with an image

    Visual search, recommendation & discovery, customer analytics.

    LogoGrab | Logo and mark recognition

    With a name that is both catchy and descriptive, LogoGrab acts as a bridge for companies wanting to cross into the next era of marketing and consumer engagement. From its patented Adaptive Learning Engine to its benchmark as the speediest and most precise tool on the market, LogoGrab knows its niche and fills it well.

    Designed for tech companies, ad agencies, and brands, LogoGrab focuses on monetization and engagement on mobile platforms. Making it an ideal image recognition tool for those looking to get the most out of their social media presence.

    LogoGrab boasts that their tool integrates seamlessly into most pre-existing platforms. This means that the transition to LogoGrab and the valuable information it can provide, is smooth and painless — another perk of an already awesome tool.

    LogoGrab Brand Detection API - image recognition

    Build logo and SKU detection for images and video into any project.


    Show Me How Image Recognition Works!

    IBM Image Detection | Trainable image recognition

    IBM - a giant in the tech world - is at the forefront of developing cutting-edge technology that not only makes the modern world better, but also pushes it towards new possibilities.

    Its image recognition tools are some of the best out there. One of the main advantages of IBM Image Detection is how trainable it is. In other words, IBM provides a highly-customizable platform that can be tweaked to perform virtually any task you need.

    How awesome is that?!!

    IBM Watson Visual Recognition - image recognition

    Analyze images from scenes, objects, faces, colors, foods, and other content.


    Image recognition tools - IBM

    The image recognition tool will identify brands in a picture.

    Imagga | Categorize images

    Imagga’s image recognition tool provides multiple automated options for sorting, organizing, and displaying your images based on category, color, tag - which can also be automated - or custom input. This means you have multiple built-in options, but can also develop to meet your specific needs. The duality of Imagga allows it to fit any circumstance or skill level.

    Whether you need a way to keep things ordered without burning valuable company time, or you need to ensure no explicit content shows up on your page, Imagga has a tool for you, and if they don’t, you can make one!

    Imagga-Auto-Tagging - image recognition tool that categorizes images

    All in one image recognition solutions for developers and businesses.

    CloudSight | recognize, categorize, understand

    While some tools focus on highly-specialized execution and application, others try to maximize convenience while retaining impressive functionality. For those looking for an easy-to-use and self-described “effortless” tool, CloudSight is perfect.

    This image recognition tool streamlines the process of recognition, categorization, and understanding. It allows you to take a nearly hands-off approach to the use of visual elements.

    It could mean...

    • Allowing the program to write a natural-sounding caption
    • Integrating imagery seamlessly into your online retail space
    • Uncovering the key material in your video content

    CloudSight is intuitive to a fault, without sacrificing any of the functionality you would expect from a topnotch image recognition tool.

    Image recognition tools - CloudSight - recognize and categorize


    Image recognition tools - CloudSight - recognize and categorize

    Double awesome!

    EyeEm | Evaluate photo aesthetic rating

    For those of you who love photography while recognizing its potential in an increasing image-based world, EyeEm’s image recognition is the ideal tool. Especially for those using social media platforms.

    With automatic tags and captions, it's great if you want to tap into the tags that will not only best fit your images, but also contribute to increased exposure. EyeEm goes above and beyond this, by using image recognition to evaluate a photo’s aesthetic rating.

    Sounds cool, no?

    It's useful for those who base their success on photography and post interaction. Evaluating photos based on their aesthetic appeal can help you choose the best possible image to maximize engagement.

    The tool can be trained to recognize your unique style, ensuring that your posts keep the cohesive aesthetic you’re looking for when building an image-based page.

    EyeEm Vision - Computer Vision Technology API - Image recognition

    Image recognition tool that evaluates photos based on their aesthetic appeal.

    Facebook | Automatic Alternative Text

    Alternative text is vital for anyone who has visual impairments and has to use a screen reader or text-to-speech technology. When you add an image to a blog post or upload to social media, you should add alt text. It describes the image for people with visual impairments that use screen readers, and search engines can understand.

    Facebook alternative text feature - Talkwalker blog header uploaded, with alt text suggestion on left, identified using image recognition technology.

    Facebook Automated Alternative Text using image recognition technology.

    In 2016, Facebook introduced its AAT - automated alt text - feature. The process uses AI-powered image recognition with machine learning to find basic characteristics in an image and translate into alt text.

    LookTel | Recognition app for the visually impaired

    A suite of assistive smartphone applications for people with visual impairments. The real-time technology technology helps people scan and recognize multiple objects, including money, packaged goods, store fronts, soda cans...



    Real-time recognition technology enabling users to scan and instantly recognize objects.

    The LookTel Money Reader and LookTel Recognizer are currently available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Macs, with more apps on the roadmap.

    Go find your logo online

    Your takeaway from this list is that regardless of what you want from an image recognition tool, there is an ideal one for you and/or your brand.

    Image recognition technology will benefit any business, regardless of size, product, or market. From mega-corporations looking to maximize brand recognition to independent photographers wanting to expand their market via social media platforms. Image recognition is key to navigating our information-heavy world.

    What'll make you stand out from the mass of data? What elevates your brand above that of your competitors? How can you best identify the ideal market for what you have to offer, then reach it in a targeted and highly-effective manner? How can you ensure that your brand identity isn't used and abused?

    The answer is image recognition.

    A recognition tool that does the hunting for you. Allowing you to spend more time growing your business. A customized program providing digital consumer insights from your market. In a world of infinite information, image recognition tools sort through it all and open the door to endless possibilities.

    Click below and hunt down your logo online!

    Image recognition download button - free demo