May 14, 2020

The Rise of Visual Search

Due to the current situation across the globe, digital marketers are in a phase where we have to shift gears and develop new strategies on how to generate more business for clients.  There are many new opportunities on how to better brands’ SEO and increase revenue using Google Ads by harnessing new ways of online searching, the Three V’s, Video, Voice and Visual. In recent years, marketers have been on optimising video and voice searches, as the technology for visual search was still in development. This year we can see further advancements in visual search and it’s an exciting new technology that forward-thinking marketers like Poseidon welcome. 

What is Visual Search & How does it work?

Visual Search is a way of conducting searches using an image captured instead of keywords. A powerful AI(artificial intelligence) and ML(machine learning) technologies work hand in hand in order to help identify similar images and content connected to the visual search.

The development of Visual Search needs to strengthen its accuracy due to the high demand by Generation Z and Millennial consumers (ViSenze). As humans, our minds are able to identify images within 13 milliseconds as 90% of the information transmitted in our brain is visual. The based theory behind the visual search is the ability to teach machines to not only see pixels and start to understand patterns and shapes within a picture.

AI’s ability combined with machine learning technology, allows companies such as Google to integrate its expansive database into Google Lens. The comprehensive data retained in the technology contribute in Google Lens capabilities to recommend similar products, reviews and retailers pertaining to the image search(Social Media Today).

How Digital Marketers can help brands improve visibility through Visual Search.

As digital marketers, our team knows the importance of visibility and appearing on the first page of a search engine. Through Visual Search, our clients that focus on visual business can benefit most from this. Why you might ask? Our clients are able to take advantage of merchandising strategy and explore new ways to customise shopping experiences on the website. This phase is important as many clients at the stage of discovery or browsing phase of the funnel. There are of course also customers that input the search and ready to buy but it’s usually not the case.

Brands have proven that implementing this technology early on has benefitted them more than other brands who do not. Brands such as Asos, BooHoo and Forever 21 have been able to increase their conversion more than others who do not take advantage of this technology. Ikea also has launched its catalogue through Pinterest, a leader in the Visual Search market.

Pinterest launched its first visual search(Pinterest Lens) function in 2017 and this was a strategic move to compete with other social platforms. Pinterest technology advancements and unique strategy place allow marketers to target an even more niche audience. They understand the importance of this digital age that the user’s interests are taken into account and advertisement displayed alongside the user’s pins is so refined it is able to retain the user’s attention for longer. We would recommend that businesses utilise their products on Pinterest to help improve their visibility.

What we can do as a digital marketer to help improve your visibility is creating strategy specific to your business and product you’re selling by focusing on refining your SEO strategy. Metadata, image tagging and adding images as website library would be a priority to increase rankings in the search engine and making it easier for customers to discover your business. At times brands also should consider partnering with social media influencers and/or create a detailed social media advertisement strategy.

Pros and Cons to this new emerging technology


  • Effective when the user’s intent is to find the details of the product image when the name is unbeknownst to the customer.
  • Allow the user the ability to receive answers on questions that are often difficult to explain.
  • When use correctly, it can attract new customers and enhance shopping experiences.


  • The technology still needs to be more refined due to the amount of data it needs to render.
  • At times, the intent of the search is not as clear as a text-based search
  • Currently, not many people are aware of this technology. Many may find it risky to utilise.