With the speedy advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, new features i.e. visual and video, have come to transform the way we search. As per 3M and Zabisco’s research, 90% of the information the brain comprehends is visual. Consumers grasp visual info much more easily as compared to text, hence responding to it faster.
While voice search has also gained traction in the last few years, visual or video search takes the trophy home. Whether it’s a part of an image or snapped through a camera or an augmented reality application, visual search works for all.
What is Visual Search?
Visual search technology is the latest feature companies like Google, Pinterest and Bing are developing. Previously, a text-based search was the only feature offered by search engines, in which the user had to type in a query. But later, the visual-based search came to allow users to upload and reverse search an image. With constant improvements in AI, users can now search an image pixel-by-pixel, and can also access the information retrieved by a search engine based on an image uploaded by them. Visual search hinges on neural networks that tap machine learning technology in order to refine its process. Google Lens, launched in 2017, has the ability to identify varied objects in a picture, then provide you with information like customer reviews, locations nearby, and product listings.
Search has never been this convenient. Just snap a picture of a random accessory, and lo and behold! You will have a barrage of information pertaining to that product unleashed: who sells it, seller’s location, prices, similar products, competitor’s product, etc.
Are traditional search tools going to go obsolete?
The quandary a user faces with text-based search is the user is required to remember the name or a snippet about what they are searching for, otherwise, the search engine finds irrelevant results. But with a visual, despite the user’s unawareness of any detail, the search engine will find what the user is looking for just with the help of the image or video. Visual search utilizes pixel-by-pixel technology, that enables users to search easily via an image, video or logo.
Visual search will not replace keywords and text-based searches, but it will completely revolutionize the
How it’s changing
According to a survey, 59% of users believe visual information is more critical and trustworthy than text and 36% of consumers perform visual based-search.
Previously, Google’s capabilities would only allow the user to upload an image or the URL of an image, and get a series of blue lines as results. But lately, Google has been gradually rolling out changes that are pivotal in transforming the way information is presented. Now at the upload of an image, the user sees a relevant compilation of videos, stories, and relevant captions. Featured videos are added to the search results to display trending topics, particularly of the variety the user may be interested in. Search a popular brand, and be sure to get video results at the top. Since the high-speed internet became rife, over a billion people have joined YouTube, and consequently, more users are finding videos much easier to view than textual content.
Search engine optimization is all about helping the user achieve quick and relevant search results. Visual search is just a step towards achieving that end game.
Optimizing a website for visual search could considerably enhance a user’s website experience, the acquisition and conversion rates, and online traffic. A website supported by images, infographics, and videos can secure around 94% more traffic than one topped up with plain old textual content. Also, visual optimization can help a website rank much higher on the index due to its quality images and videos.
According to Gartner, by 2021, brands that would have opted for redesigning and optimizing their websites to support visual-based search will witness e-commerce revenue growth by 30%. Unfortunately, despite positive results, the visual is often given very little thought by search engine optimizers, who usually dedicate their energies to optimizing for speed.
Presently, the chief visual-based search engines are Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, and Bing Visual Search. Pinterest, the leader, boasts more than 600 Million searches per month on its platform. Recently, Pinterest joined hands with Target and will utilize its own technology in Target’s app and website. Snapchat, in collaboration with Amazon, announced a visual search tool that will use Snapchat’s camera to search a product on Amazon.
Only 8% of e-commerce retailers utilize visual-based search for their e-commerce store; Neiman Marcus, eBay, Forever 21, and ASOS are also one of those early adopters. But soon we will see more companies in the visual search game. After all, for e-commerce stores, visual search galvanizes consumers further into the funnel. A consumer can be tempted to make a snap purchase decision, with some appealing images, customer reviews, and detailed product descriptions.
SEO and SEM industry have already been disrupted with the advent of visual technology. Brands now only have the choice to embrace visual search or be left behind. Although text-based search will always have a place, video and visual are the future.