Visual Search. Today, skimming has become the new normal and too much text is seen as a burden. Visual search is emerging as the future of how consumers will engage with your brand. As Pinterest’s CEO Ben Silbermann has previously said, “the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and never has this been truer than today’s digital landscape as consumers seek instant gratification in their searches. AI and Machine Learning advancements enable innovations in visual search, and marketers should be preparing to meet consumer demands and shifting behavior.
How Does Visual Search Work?
Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, search engines can identify objects related to a presented image in a search. For example, with today’s technology a user could present an image of a chair and results would be returned with identical or similar options. With Google Lens, you’re not only able to find similar objects but you can also identify retailers, reviews and listings to follow through with a purchase. As user engagement increases in this realm, so too will the amount of data and learning that the engines garner to further increase relevancy in results.
Stats on Visual Search
Visual search is on the rise, as you can see from one recent article:
- 62% of Millennials want the ability to visually search over any other new technology
- 19% of search queries on Google return images
- Pinterest hosts over 600 million visual searches each month. and image-based Pinterest Ads have an 8.5% conversion rate, and Pinterest is projected to clear $1 billion a year in ad revenue by 2020
- The image recognition market is expected to grow to $25.65 billion by 2019
- By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.
Five Ways to Fire Up Visual Search Visibility
As a marketer, what can you do to ensure you’re visible for visual searches? Below you’ll find 5 surefire ways to show up when your consumers seek image-based results.
1. Use high-quality Images
Test several images on your site to showcase your products clearly. Incorporate photos from multiple angles and perspectives to improve your chance of appearing in visual searches.
2. Include image search with your web inventory
To allow consumers to browse products easily, image search should be built into your web inventory. Only 8% of retailers have this built out today with big brands like Amazon, Macy’s, ASOS and Wayfair are leading the way.
3. Optimize for organic image visibility
Ensure your images are crawlable for the search engines. Leverage schema markup and metadata to inform search results with relevant keywords and descriptors.
4. Place Ads on Pinterest
Pinterest is a perfect way to dip your toe into visual search. With a growing audience and positive forecast, it is one of the leaders to invest in for maximum return.
5. Submit images to your sitemaps
For technology to properly process your images, it’s key to optimize them for ideal size, file type, and titles. By adding images to an existing sitemap you don’t need to create a new one, just include additional information about the images on each page.
Prepare for the Future of Visual Search
Visual search promises to be one of the ways marketers can meet the demands of an increasingly short attention span of consumers. While it is not expected to replace keyword-based search completely, it should be part of your consideration set for future strategies!