What’s the second largest search engine on earth? Nope. It’s not YouTube. It’s Google Images.
As the online world becomes increasingly competitive, businesses need to be findable by their target audiences. One of the best ways to ensure your business is visible online is through visual search, a type of search engine that allows users to perform an image search instead of using keywords.
That means if someone is looking for a product or service that you offer, they can simply enter an image into a Google search, and your business will come up as a result.
There are many benefits to using visual search for your business. For one, it helps increase your visibility online and makes it easier for potential customers to find you. In addition, it can also help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
One of the best ways to ensure your business’s visual content is visible online is to make sure you use high-quality images. That means that your images should be clear, sharp, and free of any distracting elements. You can use the Google camera icon to take high-quality photos of your products or services, or use a professional photographer. Then you’ll want to store your camera images in Google Photos.
My Google Photos is a cloud-based storage service offering users unlimited storage for their photos and videos. In addition to providing a convenient place to store and share images, Google Photos can also help you boost your business’s visual search ranking. When you upload photos to Google Photos, you can include keywords and descriptions that will help Google index your images and make them more visible in image search results.
Another great way to improve your company’s visual search visibility is to use social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow users to share images, which can help increase your reach and expose your brand to new audiences.
Finally, you can also use paid advertising to improve your visual search visibility. Google Ads allows you to place ads on Google Images and can be targeted to specific keywords and search queries. While cost is associated with this approach, it can be an effective way to reach potential customers who actively search by image for the products or services that you offer.
As you can see, you can improve your business’s visual search visibility in several ways. Taking time to optimize your images and use social media and paid advertising ensures your business is seen by more potential customers online.
Visual Search: The Origins
We can trace the origins of visual search back to 1967 when Sperling conducted his famous [partial report experiment](https://psych.hanover.edu/javatest/cle/Cognition_js/exp/partialReport.html#:~:text=Partial report is an experimental, single glance%2C if you will.). In this study, participants were presented with an array of 12 letters arranged in a 3×4 grid. After the letters disappeared, participants heard a tone that indicated whether they should report the content. The content included either the entire array (the target), the left-most half (the probe), or the right-most half (the distractor).
When asked to report the target, participants could correctly recall an average of about nine out of 12 letters. However, when asked to report the probe or distractor, they could only correctly remember an average of about four out of six letters. These results suggested that the left-most and right-most halves of the array were encoded in separate memory stores.
The finding that separate memory stores encode the left-most and right-most halves of an array has important implications for our understanding of attention. For instance, it suggests when we are looking for something in a cluttered environment, we may need to search both the left and right sides of our visual field to find it.
Additionally, this finding provides insight into why it can be so difficult to remember where we put something down when distracted. If the item was on the right side of the room, we may only recall it if we search the right side of the room and vice versa.
When searching for items in a search display, research goes far back to the late 1970s, when Anne Treisman and colleagues first proposed the features integration theory. This theory suggests that when we first see an object, we process its features (e.g., color, shape) separately. Then we integrate these features into a single perception of it.
For example, if you were looking for your friend in a crowd, you might first look for someone who is roughly the same height, then you might look for someone with the same hair color. You might recognize your friend by their unique combination of the two.
Over the years, many studies have supported the features integration theory. However, one key finding emerging is that it can be hard to find an object when its features are not clearly defined, or it’s not within our field of view.
Do you run a residential home services business? Do you need help focusing on the features of your product or service? Do you want to gain the attention of your customers? Then you need to book a call with Wizard of Ads® today!
When we search for an object, we often conduct what is known as a parallel search. That means we look at many different ones simultaneously and compare them to the target. Studies have shown that when we conduct a parallel search, our eyes tend to dart back and forth between objects rather than fixate on one for an extended period.
If you were looking for a specific type of object, such as a bright blue plunger, you would likely use a serial search. In this case, you would scan the environment from left to right (or vice versa), looking at each object carefully until you found matching profile pics of your target.
Studies have shown that when we conduct a serial search, our eyes tend to fixate on each object for an extended time without moving to others. It’s likely because we are trying to carefully examine each object to see if it meets our search criteria.
However, serial searches can be very time-consuming, especially if there are many objects in the environment. For this reason, we often use parallel searches when looking for something in our everyday lives.
You can segment visual search users differently, but some common ways are by industry, business type, and use case.
Some industries that use visual search include:
- Retail: To better serve customers, eCommerce retailers can use image recognition. For example, shoppers on Amazon can take a photo of an item they want, and Amazon will show similar products.
- Travel and hospitality: hotels and airlines can use it to allow customers to find specific types of rooms, environments, or flights.
- Marketing and advertising: companies can use it to show targeted ads to potential customers. For example, if someone searches for an air conditioner on Google, they may see ads for air conditioners from different suppliers.
- HVAC: Homeowners use it to find HVAC specific parts, products, and how-to repairs.
Companies can use visual search in many different ways to better serve their customers and businesses. Some of the most common uses include retail, travel and hospitality, marketing and advertising, education, manufacturing, and health care. With so many different applications, it is clear that it’s a powerful tool to use in several industries.
AI at Work
As businesses strive to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of technology, many are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help them stay ahead of the curve. You can use AI in many ways, from chatbots that provide customer support to predictive analytics that help businesses make better decisions. One area where AI has major impact and power, quite literally, is in the realm of visual search.
This technology relies on machine learning, a type of AI that can adapt and improve over time. It enables visual search engines to understand the content of an image and its context.
Visual Search vs. Image Search
As mentioned above, visual search is a type of image search that relies on machine learning to understand the content of an image and its context. This understanding allows visual search engines to provide relevant results when users search for an image.
Image search, on the other hand, simply returns pictures that match the keywords used in the search. Image search results are often less relevant than visual search results because they don’t consider the image’s context.
Visual Search in Marketing
Visual search transforms the world of marketing. Going from a text-based search engine like Google to a different visual search engine like Pinterest is a game-changer.
Marketers can now target their audience based on the images they share and the content they are interested in. This type of targeting was not possible with image search because it didn’t consider the context of an image.
For example, let’s say you’re a plumber and want to target customers searching for leaky faucets. You could create an ad that appears when people search for images of faucets.
This ad would be much more relevant to the searcher than a traditional text ad, and it would be prime for turning into a click.
With visual search, you can take a picture of the item and search for similar products. It’s much more effective than traditional image search, which would simply return images of the same product.
There are several visual search engines for marketers, such as Google Lens and Pinterest.
Google Lens is a visual search engine built into the Google app. Use it to identify objects, landmarks, and other items in picture format. This search engine improves visual search by allowing users to search for related images and products.
You can use Google Lens to find similar products by taking a picture of the item and then searching for similar images. It’s also much more effective than traditional image search.
Google Lens also improves ads and product pages by allowing users to see related items and products. This search engine is still in its early stages but has great potential for marketing purposes.
Pinterest is another visual search engine to use for product discovery. It allows users to take pictures of items and search for similar products. Pinterest also offers a Shop the Look feature, allowing users to buy products featured in Pins.
To use Pinterest for visual search, you can download the app and take a picture of the item you’re interested in. You can then use the Pinterest search bar to find similar products.
If you’re a retailer, you can create Pins that feature your products, too. Users can share these Pins, which can help increase your reach and brand awareness.
For example, if you’re a landscaping business, you could create a Pin that features one of your landscaping projects. Users could share this Pin, which would help increase your reach and brand awareness.
Marketing with Visual Search – Work Smarter, Not Harder
Visual search makes marketing smarter. With marketing, we are always trying to find new ways of showing our product or service in the best light and to the right people. But with visual search, you can do both those things more efficiently.
Visual search also means you can work smarter, not harder. It improves the SEO process, helping you target the right customers effortlessly. It also improves advertisements because you can target ads more specifically to what a customer is searching for.
In other words, visual search makes marketing easier and more effective. And that’s why you should be using it in your business.
Wizard of Ads® is in tune with visual search. We can help you get started with it and show you how to search an image. We are happy to teach you how to use visual search effectively in your business. Book a call to learn more!