Visual Search: An In-Depth Look at This Marketing Trend

Visual Search: An In-Depth Look at This Marketing Trend

Visual content drives the user experience online. People often engage with visual content more than they do with text-based information, as evidenced by the fact that nearly 3 billion images are posted on the internet every day. Whenever an individual has a free moment, they spend that time scrolling through their smartphones looking at pictures posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and numerous other platforms.

While some holdouts may think visual search will fizzle out like other marketing trends, expert projections illustrate the exact opposite. It is estimated that the image recognition market will grow to a $25.65 billion industry by next year, a growth rate of 216 percent since 2014. As investment in this sector continues to rise, the time is now to learn how to harness the power of visual search and put it to good use for marketing your business.

Why is Visual Search Important?

Sure, plenty of people still conduct online searches the old-fashioned way: by typing a query into a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. However, research indicates that users process images 60,000 faster than text. Nearly 75 percent of U.S. internet users either regularly or always search for visual content before making a purchase. Additionally, 74 percent of shoppers believe it is inefficient to conduct text-based keyword searches to find the right product online.  

Evidence also demonstrates that visual search yields results faster than text or voice searches. As more businesses invest in visual search and more apps and platforms integrate this technology into their software, these results will only improve as the engine learn more and improve search functionality.

Pinterest Lens: Innovating Visual Search

In February 2017, Pinterest launched its own visual search engine, Lens. The launch of Pinterest Lens created a lot of buzz, as the tool allowed users to snap pictures of items they saw and learn more about them, possibly even purchase them. While Lens is far from perfect, a segment of Pinterest users search with the tool every day, and the number of daily users has doubled in the last six months.

How Visual Search Impacts Marketing

Pinterest isn’t the only company investing in visual search. Google has prioritized its visual search development efforts. It’s only a matter of time before other websites and companies jump on the bandwagon. For those who opt not to integrate visual search best practices into their marketing strategies, they’ll soon find their competitors gaining ground and increasing their market share.  

With the ongoing advances to technology, visual search will play an even greater role in the user experience. In May 2017, the Google Lens visual search app launched. Google’s visual search engine allows users to take a picture of a business and discover everything about it, from its website to reviews and social channels. It won’t be long before people stop typing or speaking their search queries, and instead simply snap a picture of it and wait for the results.

As more people adopt visual search as their preferred method for finding anything online, it’s up to businesses to think of their content in terms of pictures, not just keywords. Your target audience wants to see images of its products and services, along with intimate glimpses into your brand and how it operates.

Storytelling is a vital component of marketing any business. As time marches on, visual storytelling will take precedence, meaning marketers must shift their focus. That means rethinking content marketing strategies, researching visual search engine algorithms, and increasing efforts to capture visual representations of brands.

Now more than ever the adage, “A picture says a 1,000 words,” rings true. Graphic representations of your brand will continue to impact your bottom line as visual search technology improves and grows. If your organization needs to reassess and redesign its visual identity, contact Alt Creative today to discuss your brand with our experts.   

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