Summary

Since 2010, when Ray Poynter famously announced the new era of research by declaring that "listening is the new asking," brands and advertisers have begun to understand the power of consumer and cultural understanding through social media platforms.1 Social listening tools have made great strides since then, allowing us to tap into public conversations on Twitter, forums and blogs in order to deepen our understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviors.

Initially dismissed by some as an empty marketing buzzword, ‘social listening’ has over time proven to be a legitimate research tool with many real-world applications and unique advantages. But all forms of research come with their own set of problems and limitations, and listening is no exception. Newfound awareness of the inherent limits of language-based listening models, combined with a broader cultural shift towards communication platforms like Instagram, have led to the rise of new social research tools that use image recognition technology to facilitate a new form of ‘visual listening,’ which we call viewing.