September 1, 2017

Visual search: what does it mean for advertisers?

Last month, ASOS became the most high profile fashion retailer to launch Visual Search on their app.

The rollout aims to give shoppers the ability to find similar-looking products to the image they’re searching for. It’s the tool a number of us have been waiting for *insert raising hands emoji*; the launch of Visual Search bridges the gap for those shoppers who want to recreate a look inspired by an Instagram account they follow, or of a sly pic taken of a person’s outfit on the morning commute. The new tool makes it much easier to find exactly what the shopper is after than trawl through the search results for something generic..People’s search experiences are evolving and was a topic discussed at last month’s IABUK Search Conference. With the likes of Pinterest launching their Visual Search tool Lens earlier this year and Voice Search expected to grow rapidly over the next five years, the concept of the death of the keyboard was discussed. So how can advertisers evolve to ensure they’re relevant in the evolving landscape?Understand what consumers are experiencing outside of a brand’s paid or owned channels. Mapping an audiences’ touchpoints and behaviour across all channels can provide insight into their expectations for the brand’s they interact with.People don’t differentiate between their digital experiences. For example, a person’s interactions with a platform like Instagram will affect their expectations of a retailer’s websites.Voice Search presents a challenge of fewer opportunities for discovery.Voice continues to gain search share but with most queries returning between one and three results (IABUK Search Trends Whitepaper, 2017), this competitive landscape will lead to advertisers needing to adapt their keyword strategy to be as relevant as possible for the voice search.To complement this, we may see the increase in advertisers investing in more ATL and wider digital activation to reach their audiences before they begin to search.Simple and easy experiences.The motivations behind the use of the Visual and Voice Search is for ease. Research shows that voice interactions show consistently lower levels of brain activity than touch, highlighting key motivations behind use. Whilst Visual Search does require touch, the effort involved is considerably less than testing different keyword queries to return the exact thing you’re after.The success of ASOS’ new tool will ultimately be measured by revenue delivered, but the investment in the technology indicates that this will be a growing area. Spend time in understanding how Visual Search can impact audiences now to prepare you for the tomorrow’s landscape.Sharan Cheema, Client Services Director

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