You snap photos to post on Instagram, or add silly filters and share them with your friends. Now you can also scan images to search for information on Google. The search engine isn’t the only one that’s using this online feature. Pinterest, Snapchat, Amazon, Bing, and eBay are also making it so users can search for products/information using visual search technology.
Visual search is taking off at the speed of light, and it’s changing the way people find information and shop online. Is your business ready for the change?
What is Visual Search?
When you want to know the actor in a movie or are curious about when chocolate was invented, you just have to type your query into Google’s search bar.
Now going forward, you can get that same info by capturing an image with Google Lens (available on Android). Google will pull up search results based on what it sees using AI and visual recognition technology. A pop-up also comes up for you to enter your question.
Let’s say you found a cool retro toy from the 90s at a garage sale. You can use Google Lens to scan that toy and ask Google, “What is this?” The SERPs will show results related to that toy and may even tell you if it’s worth any money!
Who is Using Visual Search?
Google is just one brand with a visual search feature. You can also take advantage of this technology through:
Basically, any company that has search functionality would benefit from offering a visual search feature. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so people will definitely use this technology to find information and/or products.
What is Google Lens?
Google Lens is a downloadable app on Android that’s becoming more popular. In fact, there are an estimated 8 billion Google Lens searches every month. People are definitely becoming more visual in this digital age, so this method of searching could easily become the new normal.
How Your Business Can Use Visual Search
71% of small businesses have a website, and that’s not even counting the nonprofits, restaurants, and large retailers that are also competing for rankings on the web.
Visual search is going to be an important factor in your company’s SEO. You can optimize for this new feature by doing all the following:
Make Your Website Visual
Do you have photography or graphics on your company’s website? Google images account for an estimated 20% of online searches. Now’s a great time to start if you’re not already using original imagery on your website. Be sure your images also use structured data, have alt tags, and are given descriptive file names.
Put Your Logo Everywhere
If you want to increase traffic to your website, then it’s beneficial to print your logo everywhere – coffee mugs, t-shirts, banners, lunch boxes, tote bags…anything someone could quickly scan with their smartphone. Google is smart and will be able to identify that logo as belonging to your company.
Your company logo could be on the sidelines of an NBA game. Think about the millions of people who are walking around the arena to go to the bathroom or concession stand. When they pass by an object printed with your logo, they just need to whip out their phone, scan it, and they will be immediately connected to your business.
Try a Pop-Up Shop
Pop-up shops are proof that your brand is willing to have fun. Visitors will want to take pics of any cool props, displays, or games you have set up, which means a ton of opportunities to scan. Those pics will also be posted on social media, which means even more visual real estate that your company will be taking up online.
Enhance Your Print Media
Offline marketing isn’t dead! Be sure that your magazine ads, mailers, brochures, and any other print media use clean, crisp images that could be scanned on a smartphone. It’s even better if you include some kind of coupon code that users could apply to their online order.
These marketing avenues are a great way to take advantage of Google’s new visual search technology. Remember, people are only going to take pics or scan your logo or ad if it looks cool, so take the time to really invest in creative content.
Why is Visual Search Important?
Visual search technology isn’t a passing fad. This method of finding information has already been lucrative for many companies.
Take for instance, Forever 21. The trendy clothing retailer created a module on their website called “Discover Your Style” where users could look for dresses, pants, shorts, jeans, and tops after seeing them in the store. Visual search helped increased their average order value by 20%.
Forever 21 isn’t the only brand benefitting from visual search. BooHoo, Amazon, and Tommy Hilfiger also saw an increase in web traffic, engagement, and conversion rates using this technology.
Why It’s a Good Time to Order Promotional Items
It’s easy to think you can only advertise your business online through PPC or social media, but with the rise in visual search popularity, tangible items are more important now than ever before. Print your logo on a ton of company swag so that people have the chance to scan these items and get to your website. Think of it as a glorified QR code!
35% of marketers plan on optimizing for visual search in the future. Millennials and Gen Z’ers in particular are latching on to this feature, so now’s a good time for your company to get on board.
People with their cell phones are everywhere, and at any time, they could be scanning an image. After all, this is a generation of selfie takers with their hands permanently glued to their hands. They might not read, but they’ll definitely take a picture!
Put your logo out there, and make sure your website is ready for all the traffic heading its way!
Carter, C. (2022, June 29). SEO in Real Life: Harnessing Visual Search for Optimization Opportunities. Retrieved from, https://moz.com/blog/seo-opportunities-visual-search
Benitez, M. (2021, August 26). 19 Useful Website Statistics Every Business Should Know. Retrieved from, https://fitsmallbusiness.com/website-statistics/
Taylor, G. (2018, August 23). Forever 21 Increases AOV 20% With AI-Powered Visual Search and Navigation. Retrieved from, https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/digital-marketing/mobile-marketing/forever-21-increases-aov-20-with-ai-powered-visual-search-and-navigation
Top Draw. (2020, May 21). Visual Search in 2020 & Beyond. Retrieved from, https://www.topdraw.com/insights/visual-search-in-2020-and-beyond/
Eisenberg, H. (2014, September 15). Humans Process Visual Data Better. Retrieved from, https://www.t-sciences.com/news/humans-process-visual-data-better Mohanadasan, S. (2020, April 2). Visual Search Guide: Who Uses It, Benefits, and Optimization Tips. Retrieved from, https://www.semrush.com/blog/visual-search-guide-benefits-optimizatiion/
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