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Three reasons why now is the time to start seeing visual search opportunities
If we told you that more than half of people surveyed have not used visual search, but are somewhat interested or very interested in utilizing it, our guess would be you may have one of two potential responses.
Response 1: “Cool. That’s something we should start looking into capitalizing on in our marketing efforts.”
Response 2: “Cool. What’s visual search?”
If you find yourself among those who aren’t fully familiar with visual search, you’re in good company. Though the technology has been around for a little while, only recently have individuals started to perform visual searches with more frequency.
For the unfamiliar, visual search basically is when users submit images as search queries rather than text. Google, Amazon, and eBay all have some level of visual search functionality. Some social channels, such as Pinterest and Snapchat, also employ some visual search tactics.
So, now that you know what visual search is, here are three things to keep in mind regarding how you may want to utilize it.
Most people aren’t using it . . . yet
If you are one of those who are unfamiliar with visual search, you won’t be surprised to know that most people aren’t using visual search yet. In fact, according to an eMarketer survey, only about 10 percent of people have ever used visual search. Younger generations (ages 18-34) are slightly more likely to have had experience with visual search, with about 13 percent of respondents claiming they have submitted a visual search query. About 9 percent of those age 35-54 and 5 percent of those ages 55+ responded similarly.
Visual search is more desired by consumers than other technologies du jour
We’re assuming you have heard quite a bit about augmented reality and live chat options as they relate to creating an online shopping experience, but consumers aren’t exactly jumping on the bandwagon to utilize these technologies. In fact, the eMarketer report finds that 61.7 percent of 21-34-year-olds and 62.2 percent of 18-20-year-olds would be comfortable with visual search being part of their digital shopping experience.
On the other hand, a much smaller percentage of respondents said they would be comfortable utilizing augmented reality (28.6 percent of 21-34; 36.8 percent of those 18-20) and live chat (30.6 percent of 21-34; 24.8 percent of 18-20) in their digital shopping experience.
You can start now
Just because visual search is not yet widely used, this is no reason to ignore the technology and its potential. According to the eMarketer survey, while only 13 percent of 19-34-year-olds have used the technology, more than half (53 percent) of those in this age group say they are either “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in using visual search.
Like we mentioned above, Snapchat and Pinterest both allow users to perform visual searches to learn more about — and ultimately purchase — products. At Web Summit 2018, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann spoke about why visual search is becoming an appealing option for users.
“I think that the opportunity is exciting,” Silbermann said. “To me, a lot of the most futuristic technology, once it’s out, feels immediately familiar. So, it’s really familiar to people to walk into a store after seeing something in a window and talking to somebody and say ‘Hey, I’m looking for something like that’ . . . Pinterest has been able to do that but on a much, much wider scale.”
So, go ahead and start to explore Pinterest and Snapchat options. And go ahead and see how visual search works on Bing and Google. The road ahead seems to indicate that visual search will be a major player in the future, so the more work you can do now to learn about it now, the better off you will be later.
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