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How Visual Search Can Uplevel Your Marketing Game
  • Contest Factory
  • May 25, 2021

Visual Search

The use of visual search technology continues to surge to the point that 74% of online shoppers believe traditional keyword searches are no longer effective for finding the best results.

Bottom line, if you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to find ways to integrate visual search into your marketing approach. Here is how visual search technology works and 4 simple techniques to make sure your images show up, front and center.

How Visual Search Works

In contrast to using keywords or text to do an “image search,” visual search platforms use actual images and live footage to identify identical or closely related visual content. The technology uses artificial intelligence in a way that mimics how our brains work- establishing patterns in an image and then identifying other images that contain the same patterns to produce search results.

How Visual Search is Benefiting Brands

Visual search is improving the customer experience by reducing the time consumers spend sifting through irrelevant content while shopping, which is why 69% of young shoppers prefer visual search to content search- they can find exactly what they’re looking for five times faster than text searches. To put this into context, one study showed that it took a customer two minutes and 37 seconds to find the dress they were looking for using keywords and only 27 seconds using visual search.

And research shows that the average person can recall 65% of the visual content they see up to three days later, which translates into better brand awareness and impact for your marketing campaigns. It’s no surprise that Gartner predicts a 30% increase in digital revenue for businesses that update their websites to support visual search technologies in 2021.

The Leading Brands in Visual Search Technology

Moz SERP History results show that during the month of April, 2021, images appeared in 40.7% of Google Search queries. This is exactly why savvy businesses are investing heavily in visual search platforms. Major players like Google and Bing have already capitalized on visual search technologies, creating innovative ways for users to easily upload images from their cameras or devices to search for everything from landmarks to barcodes to plants and animals.

One of the biggest contenders in the visual mix, not surprisingly, is Pinterest. Pinterest Lens has raised the bar as far as creativity and customer experience go, and virtually transformed the way people shop online. Pinterest users can access Pincodes to find inspiration while shopping in a store or flipping through a magazine or dive into Lens Your Look to get help orchestrating their outfits.

Pinterest also paved the way for what could easily be the new normal for online shopping with their Shop the Look  feature, creating shoppable pins that link products directly to retail partners’ checkout pages.

Snapchat quickly followed suit, partnering with Amazon to sell their products to snapchatters directly from the app. No doubt, these types of partnerships will continue to flourish, providing retailers with countless advertising opportunities as app users eagerly share their latest purchases with their social following.

OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE IMAGES FOR VISUAL SEARCH

No matter what industry you’re in, if you want to come out on top, you need to optimize your online images for visual search.  Don’t worry, you don’t need to start from scratch. In fact, just a few simple tricks will have you visual search ready in no time.

1. Optimal Image Size & Format

Optimizing the size and dimensions of your images will speed up your website’s page load time, which will not only improve your SEO ranking, but also your users’ experience. Simply use an image compression plugin to reduce oversized images, making sure you adapt them to meet mobile requirements, as well.

2. Descriptive Image Filenames

Your image filename is how search engines determine the context of your image, so make sure to change the default name of “IMG_1234.jpg,” for example, to something more descriptive, like “”womens.black.sandals.jpg.” Best practice is 2-4 descriptive words using underscores or dashes in between.

 3. Succinct Alt text & Descriptions

Alternative text on images is still heavily used by search engines to determine image context and will do wonders for your SEO. Your alt text needs to include targeted keywords, painting a clear, concise description of your image as if you were describing the scene to someone who couldn’t see it.

Exp: “Succulent plant in a ceramic pot.”

Adding descriptions and captions to your images is another good tactic for getting noticed in visual searches, helping search engines index, organize, and rank your images. Just make sure you don’t repeat the exact same thing as your alt text, which can do more harm than good for your SEO.

4. Shoppable Content

If you sell online, make sure you’re incorporating visual search into your social media strategy, making your social channels shoppable in every way possible. Take advantage of the shoppable features on Instagram and Snapchat. and make sure your products on sites like Pinterest link directly to your website’s shop page.

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Visual search is gaining popularity at a rate that can’t be ignored, offering a more enjoyable shopping experience for consumers and exciting new marketing opportunities for brands to get noticed. Use these simple tips to make sure your website and images are primed to win over those searching for product and services just like yours, artificial intelligence included!

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