What content strategy and technology will leading brands use in 2024?

The state of digital content 2024

Photo management

Image tagging – Automatic keyword implementation

by Casey Schmidt  |  September 22, 2019

3 min. read
Hands typing on a keyboard.

Using image tagging gives you the chance to create easily searchable photos. How does it work and how do companies benefit from it? Here’s a complete breakdown.

What is image tagging?

Image tagging is the process of labeling or keywording images based on figures within a certain picture. Image tagging software automatically tags images, though it’s possible for users to fulfill image tagging processes. It makes images on websites more searchable through keywords pertaining to that photo.

Here’s a real life example explaining how image tagging works. Imagine an entire home photo album is scanned and uploaded digitally to a computer. Then those images are uploaded all at once to a personal website. As each image is uploaded, a program fills in details about them. If a picture has a wedding cake in it, the keywords ‘cake’ and ‘food’ are tagged. When the process is complete, the user can search the entire digital album using keywords the program implemented.

Picture of tagged images in image tagging system
Tags for the images are on the right – these are automatically added in Canto.

How companies benefit from image tagging

A company benefits from image tagging because of how quickly they organize images and how accessible their images become to users. When a user searches their website, they can find what they need based on simple keywords. The time saved on keywording is immense.

An example of this in action is a company receives a large amount of digital photos and it needs to get them operational for team members. This requires sorting and organizing. Before this can happen, the images need to be tagged. Without the right software, they would have to manually apply keywords to them. Image tagging automatically analyzes and tags, saving thousands of hours. Automatic tagging comes standard in a digital asset management or file management solution.

A visual example

Note the first image below. The bigger words are stronger keywords and the smaller words are secondary. These were automatically sorted and ranked by an image tagging program.

A picture of a dog with descriptive text imposed over objects.
Image tagging software generates keywords and secondary keywords.

In the second image, there’s only one object. This gives the image tagging program a chance to easily rank the keywords by a percentage or decimal because the object is an exact something (dog).

A picture of a dog with keyword rankings.
Image tagging software can sort the keywords by strength.

How image tagging relates to metadata

Metadata describes other data. It is the keywords used to describe an image. In that way, metadata is related to image tagging as it is the end result of some of the keywording processes. Image tagging in itself is a process, while metadata is not.

To illustrate this, think of a cash register. Every time the cashier swipes an item through, it’s given a price on a receipt. Image tagging is the swiping of items. Keywords and metadata are the prices. Therefore, image tagging is the process, and metadata is simply a product of the process.

The time saved and efficiency with image tagging is too much to pass up on. Make sure your company implements an image tagging system as soon as possible.