In this article, we are going to be exploring the concept of visual search engines. We will be expounding on its definition, advantages to website owners, and of course, the different and popular types of visual search engine providers that are present today.
A visual search engine is a technology that optimizes the science of AI to assist individuals in an online search. Visual search engines are known for using real-world imagery, instead of text search methods.
How Sites Can Benefit from Visual Search
Do you know that your website can leverage on the important benefits of visual search? This is because search is expanding from its default form, and modern technologies are continually being developed.
What exactly is the importance of a visual search to your business?
It positions you for discovery by the next generation
The best time to have your brand discovered outside of traditional search fields is today! This is even more so since over less than 60% of Generation Z are now discovering brands independently via social apps and 69% of them are intent on buying directly off the back of the platforms. It is obvious that visual search is greatly influencing the progress of the 21st-century businesses.
The relevance of this benefit of the visual search was corroborated by the senior forecasting director at eMarketer, who towards the end of 2018 said that: “Marketers are seeing Pinterest’s potential for reaching consumers as they’re considering products. Placing ads is one way they’re inserting their brands into that interaction”.
It allows you to establish a connection with prospective customers
Trust is a vital factor in making customers drift towards a potential purchasing direction. However, prospective customers will most likely do this when they achieve some kind of personal connection with a website. According to Amy Vener, who is a retail vertical strategy lead at Pinterest, she remarked that: “Visual discovery allows the consumer to generate a more emotional connection, which translates into less price sensitivity.”
In addition, you can also establish connections with customers via image-based content by using Google Cameos.
It is easy to sell to customers that have already reached a decision
When you make use of a well-optimized content via visual search, it is possible for you to use your site to interact with individuals who have already reached a decision about if they intend to patronize you. This is even more realizable when you are using Pinterest Lens or StyleSnap.
Advanced visual search technology, like the 3D feature that was used by Burberry in the UK to showcase their handbags, makes products compelling and personal. The customers are able to project the products into the real world surfaces through built-in AR technology.
The advancement of visual search further helps to bridge the gap between purchasing a product at a brick-and-mortar store vs. online. This process is usually termed “spearfishing”. It is how visual search is able to close the number of steps and work between a customer browsing for a product and then actually purchasing it from the website.
Visual search can help to boost your revenue
This is often regarded as one of the foremost benefits of visual search. How can visual search increase business revenue?
As reported by Gartner, “early adopters and optimizers of both visual and voice search could find their coffers increased by as much as 30% by 2021”. Thus, your website can look forward to the event of greatly boosting revenues.
In fact, an article in the Forbes Magazine had forecasted that the visual search market was bound to have a value of nothing less than $25 billion by the end of 2019. However, the results are still yet to be realized in this. Nonetheless, this demonstrates the financial potentials that are inherent in the visual search industry.
(Also Read: What is Visual Search – Guide)
Visual Search Engines / Platforms
Most of the common visual Search platforms differ from each other in just certain functional areas. This is why users often employ each of them to satisfy different purposes. Here, we will be giving comprehensive details on the major visual search engines highlighted below.
This search platform was launched three years back in 2017. Ever since its launch, Pinterest Lens has greatly grown that it now records a massive 600 million searches every month(1). In 2019, it was announced that the technology has the capability to recognize more than 2.5 billion items.
How exactly does Pinterest work? The USP of Pinterest’s visual search platform has been designed to enable users to take a photo of virtually anything, and they will be able to find, save, or shop for the items that are in the picture.
Without doubts, Pinterest is a major influencer of home decor businesses, fashion companies, retailers etc. Pinterest has in fact announced that ” 90% of users’ purchasing decisions are informed by the information attained through the technology”.
In order to make search results more beneficial, advertisers are enabled to use “shop the look” pins. The essence of this is to help users to, for instance, recognize and find individual items or clothing worn by a model in a photo.
In addition, the feature can also assist in finding related items especially if you feel that you do not want the same product but would prefer something similar to its design.
Google Lens is definitely one of the main players in the field of visual search engines. It was announced and introduced to the public in 2017 at Google I/O. As a result of the advanced visual search functions that are featured in Google Lens as a visual search engine, it has rapidly risen to become the most common visual search platform in the world. For Android users, Google Lens can be found in several applications such as Google Assistant, Google Search, and even in Photos.
The capabilities of Google Lens is almost without limits. This is especially due to its ability to integrate multiple apps. Still wondering what this means. Alright here’s the thing: when you take a photo of a road sign in a foreign language via Google Lens, you can request Google Translate to provide you with the information in your own language. Awesome, right?
In October 2018, Google Lens was incorporated into Google Image Search. In 2019, a report showed that its image recognition technology was more precise than almost every other top visual search application.
Given the popularity of Instagram among 16 – 24 years old people, and the rate at which images are being consumed on a daily basis, it is not so surprising to hear of the rapid uptake of this visual search engine.
“Instagram knew its strength is images and allowing users to use those images to search for and buy products without ever leaving the site is both a boon for it and for e-commerce that happens outside of Amazon,” Finkelshteyn says.
Basically, this visual search engine enables online shoppers to find products with an image. The Instagram Shopping features using a visual search to find related items that have been uploaded by a celebrity or an influencer.
Indeed, Amazon’s visual search engine is one of the recent competitors in the world of visual search. Its introduction was announced in June 2019. It is awesome to expound that this visual search app is currently collaborating with Instagram to create an interesting shopping experience.
The essence of Amazon’s visual search platform is to enable users to take photos of items or products that they want by using a feature within Amazon’s mobile application. From there, searchers are given a list of beneficial information, as well as related items.
For instance, when you upload a photo of a dress through the Amazon app, the visual search engine will provide you with related items that are available on the Amazon store. This technology can greatly help brands that sell on Amazon to communicate their products to the awareness of customers. This is a very useful method in this highly competitive and saturated global market.
It is pertinent to mention that developers can also leverage on the advantages of the Amazon visual search engine. All they need is to get the relevant information that they need.
Snapchat Camera Search
It was in September 2018 that Snapchat made public the introduction of Snapchat Camera Search. Its objective was the invitation of users to search for items on Amazon through the app. How does the Snapchat Camera Search operate?
An Amazon card is provided to the user when the application identifies a barcode. The app then offers the user a link for an item or a selection of related products from the Amazon store. If a user has already installed the Amazon app on their device, they can click the app and will be directly led you to the page within the Amazon app.
Not so much has been publicly announced regarding the subsequent updates and extra features that may have been added to this visual search engine since its launch by Snapchat. However, you can always research more about the subsequent features and other AR features.
eBay (Cassini search engine)
The Cassini search engine is eBay’s internal search engine. It allows customers to find whatever necessary product on the marketplace in order to heighten their chance of finalizing a transaction. This search engine uses an algorithm to perform items and rank them for visibility on the marketplace. Indeed, it has been having a significant impact on the eBay community of sellers.
eBay is continuously updating its search engine. The search engine has been designed to display listings according to positive and negative feedback. This is the reason every eBay seller aims for as much positive feedback as possible.
Bing Visual Search
Bing Visual Search optimizes a technology that is significantly distant from the visual search tool that Pinterest Lens uses. This is largely a result of the fact that it aims at providing individuals with information as well as items; in a similar manner to the Bing search engine itself.
Having said that, when the intention to shop is identified, Bing Visual Search further displays related products and pricing details to the users.
From the viewpoint of a user, the experience gotten from Bing Visual Search is similar to other various visual search platforms. However, its feature of an extensive developer platform makes it preferable by a lot of developers.
With Bing Visual Search, developers are enabled to instruct the search engine on the particular data people can get from a specific photo. This means that if Bing Visual Search directs an individual to a certain product on your website, the developer has the ability to determine what information should be provided to the visitor.
This is an IOS visual search engine that is powered by CloudSight Image Recognition API. It uses image detection to carry out its visual search. With CamFind, you no longer need to type searches into a search engine before you get information. All you have to do is take a photo! CamFind is also the first successful mobile visual search engine in the world.
This is a visual search engine that was built by European airline EasyJet. Basically, it allows people to use photos to search for flights. Yeah, we know how cool this sounds too! Easyjet allows individuals to book flights based on just a picture.
This means that you do not even have to know the destination before you books the flight! Since easyJet sells more flights to places outside of Europe, its visual search engine will identify these destinations in no time.
According to a report, 35 percent of marketers are planning to optimize for visual search in the future. Hence, if you want to get ahead of the competition, now is the time! You should not hesitate any longer. Now that we have explained the importance of leveraging on visual search engines, what are you still waiting for?