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Snapchat-Pinterest coupons

In the not-too-distant future, getting a coupon for your favorite products could become as easy as posting a photo of those products on social media, then waiting for the offers to roll in. Do you drink Coke? Then post a selfie of you holding a can, and the company might reward you!

Sound cool? Creepy? Well, either way, it could become reality.

Snapchat and Pinterest are among the social media services tinkering with the idea of offering ads and coupons based on what photos you share on their platforms.

In a newly-published U.S. patent application, Snapchat describes “object recognition based photo filters” that could identify items in photos that you take, and serve up content accordingly. That content could include fun things like animated overlays, helpful information about the subjects and locations of your photos, and brand-based content like ads – and coupons.

In one example, Snapchat describes a user taking a photo of a cup of coffee. Presuming that means the user is a coffee drinker, Snapchat will then be able to serve up a coupon that can be redeemed at a local coffee shop. The offer “may include a remaining number of times the coupon can be used,” to keep you from taking the same photo every single day in the hopes of an endless supply of discounted coffee.

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If more than one local coffee shop hopes to win your business, they could even compete against each other for the right to offer you that coupon. Companies would be able to bid on particular objects featured in images – your local coffee shop might end up competing against Starbucks for snaps featuring a cup of coffee, for example. Whoever has the highest bid, would win the right to display their ad and coupon.

News of Snapchat’s interest in couponing comes a few months after Pinterest tantalized advertisers with the possibility of offering ads and coupons based on what users are pinning.

In Pinterest’s case, the platform would identify users’ interests based on their pinning activity, and serve up content accordingly. A recent advertiser presentation describes the addition of “digital couponing”, which Pinterest said has “never been done before”. Pinners whose behavior targets them as pet owners, might see a photo or short animation of “Royal Canin cat/dog food being poured into a bowl,” followed by “a call-to-action that gives the pinner access to a Royal Canin coupon in-store or online.”

Pinterest insists the addition of digital couponing to its platform is purely conceptual, for now. “We often discuss creative ideas with agencies but this is just a hypothetical example and not something we’ve implemented or productized,” Pinterest spokesperson Dyani Vanderhorst told Coupons in the News. “This is a creative concept and not a product we’re building.”

Snapchat, meanwhile, has not commented on its idea, or how close to reality it might be.

So the next time you share a photo on Snapchat, or pin it to your Pinterest board, know that advertisers just might be watching. And if you’re not creeped out about getting coupons based on what’s in your personal photos, you may find that the ability to save money on things you already like, just might be worth it.

Image sources: Snapchat / Pinterest

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