Search marketing is constantly evolving, requiring businesses to adapt their digital marketing tactics accordingly or risk falling behind. Not only is Google known for continually adjusting and improving their search engine algorithm (often requiring SEO strategies to be adjusted to keep up), but new forms of search are emerging. Over the past few years, we are all becoming accustomed to the rise of voice search; however, visual search is advancing in leaps and bounds as well.
Visual search has been around for a few years now. According to a report published in 2017, 27 percent of all searches across ten major online platforms (including Google Images, Google, Amazon, and YouTube) were visual searches. With that in mind, visual search should be implemented into your digital marketing tactics.
What is Visual Search?
Visual search is exactly what it sounds like — performing a search on the web using a visual. While this might not seem very convenient when done on a desktop or laptop, it makes a lot of sense when done on smartphones. Essentially, a consumer can take a picture using their phone’s camera of a product in-store to perform a search on that product. If the company producing the product has optimized for visual search, then that customer should be able to pull up valuable information on their phone. This isn’t the only way visual search can be accomplished. For example, someone could take a picture of a tree to find out what type of tree it is.
What are the Benefits of Visual Search?
Brands that sell products that are more visual have the most to gain from implementing visual search. For example, some of the most common products that users perform visual searches on include fashion, home decor, art, food, animals, and vehicles. One great example of visual search in action is Pinterest. They allow users to take pictures of objects in the real world, which will then pull up results of similar-looking objects featured on Pinterest. The following are a few of the benefits of implementing visual search into your digital marketing tactics:
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Improve the shopping experience
There are several ways that visual search can improve the shopping experience. For example, a customer that sees a product that they want to buy can use visual search to find similar products and compare prices. Retailers can also make product recommendations based on the visual attributes of the products the customers have been searching for using visual search. This allows for a more personalized shopping experience.
Identify new trends and discover new marketing opportunities
While many businesses monitor social media for mentions of their brand, few employ visual search. Using visual search, allows you to look for your brand logo across social media. This can be very helpful, especially on social channels that are more visually-based, such as Instagram. Take for example, Starbucks. They used visual search to discover that customers were filling their Starbucks cups with whipped cream and giving them to their dogs. Such a trend can be taken advantage of as a marketing opportunity — and they would have never known about it without a visual search.
Building relationships with brand influencers is an effective way to gain access to large target audiences. However, finding those influencers can sometimes be a challenge. Many influencers do their “influencing” with visual content. For example, it’s well known that there are many influencers on Instagram. Performing a visual search can help you find influencers that are posting visual content related to your company’s products. It’s a more effective way of finding relevant influencers than through text-based searches.
Engage users more effectively
Simply optimizing for visual search can help you engage with your users more successfully. This is because people are visual beings. They engage with and relate to visual content much more than they do with text. This type of digital marketing can also improve your conversion rates. The ability to take photographs and obtain information or recommendations based on those photographs will go a long way toward keeping your brand on the top of their minds.
Attract more mobile users
Considering how important the mobile market is, visual search is an excellent way to attract more mobile users. Visual search is a very mobile-centric feature, after all. Few people are going to use visual search on their desktops or laptops due to their static or bulky shape. Smartphones and tablets make it easy to snap photographs whenever users want.
Visual search grows more prominent by the day. The ability to perform searches using images can help to greatly improve your user experience in many different ways. If you have a visual product, then you should begin thinking about how you can employ visual search into your digital marketing tactics.