The rise of image based search

As the way consumers change the way they search for and discover new brands and products, we must constantly work hard to understand what is driving these changes and how we can help our clients optimise against these new opportunities.

A lot has been written recently about the rise of voice search but we are also seeing a big trend towards more image led search. According to Jumpshot data, 27% of all US based searches are now carried out using Google images and retailers themselves are now building products to reflect these new search behaviours. ASOS has now made it possible for users to upload an image as a means of searching for product.

With a clear demand to fulfil, Google has made strides to improve its image offering and usability. The landscape of image search results has improved considerably over the last year alone and a typical image search result now includes:

Product results (price, stock availability)
Ability to filter results gifs, clip art, HD & colours
Suggested search recommendations
Recipe tags & animated GIFs

For our client Rachel’s, we can now present an image result that’s clearly marked as a recipe, which is a great way to bring users to the brand and is a new avenue in which to introduce users to the high quality content that we create for Rachel’s.

For Jack Wills for example, we are now able to show pricing and stock availability which can serve as a prompt for a user to buy.

With these advancements, we use several tools to present the best result to reach potential customers. Key areas that we are optimising for image search include:1.

  1. Structured Data: Correctly informing the search engine about the product is vital in order for it to be able to pull the required information across universal search results. Schema mark-up is the chief means of achieving this.
  2. Optimised Images: Images themselves need to be optimised, ensuring their loading time is a small as possible and that their naming conventions are sound.
  3. Being Mobile-first: Approaching content with mobile in mind is key and for retailers this is particularly relevant. Having all assets geared-toward a mobile audience helps content be ranked favourably.
  4. High quality imagery: Retailers and brands that utilise desirable imagery are in a great position to improve their visual offering, prompt users to purchase and brand engagement.

In 2017 we will see more shopping platforms building image and video search into their product as it becomes second nature for consumers to seek out products in this way. It is key that brands better understand how they can optimise their assets for this new search channel as its proving a highly effective way of reaching new customers.

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