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When dealing with e-commerce, consumers are finding that text-based searches are not the easiest way to find what they are looking for. According to a report compiled by Jumpshot & Moz, over 25 percent of all searches are for images. Only 3% of those searches, however, are converting into clicks. Where is the correlation, you might ask? In the past, optimizing your Google image searches was geared more towards impacting user experience rather than KPI’s, therefore it often went ignored. Text based queries would be used to match up with the most relevant image, and that would be the end of it.

Fast forward a few years and e-commerce companies are finally understanding that using these images as the query can be much more effective than using search terms. There has been a shift in consumer behavior in which image recognition takes precedent over search. The idea is that when you see an image of a shirt in a catalog, you could take a picture and use image recognition to then find similar shirts at a lower price. With visual search, there is a 57 percent chance the consumer will return and purchase the product.

There is currently a power struggle in the visual search marketplace. Amazon and Pinterest have taken the lead, making these capabilities available on mobile by turning your images into highly-effective shopping ads. Google has implemented machine learning and image recognition over the past few years to help build the value of visual search and turn images into shopp-able products.

That being, said let’s dive in to how you can take advantage of using visual search in your ad campaigns and ultimately target a larger audience. You are going to have to implement a Schema Markup, and if you have ever used rich snippets, you should have a good understanding of this type of microdata. Winning the badges are the first step. By using recipe, video, and product markup, you will be able to position yourself to retain each one.

Here is where it starts to get a little more tricky. When dealing with similar items sections, you must make sure that all of your meta-data fulfills the minimum requirement. The better the quality, the better your results will be. The more precise you are when filling out the data, the more Google image searches will be served.

Once you have created your visual search ad, it’s time to validate and make sure your ad has the appropriate URL so that the destination and information is user-friendly. Next, give your ad some time to compile some data. Make sure you are receiving a quality markup and giving yourself the most opportunities to have your ad served.

Visual search is still on the rise. With Google’s plans to launch Google lens, expect to see a transition into marker-less image recognition. The possibilities seem endless, so the time is now to shift your e-commerce business into the visual search atmosphere.

Matthew Moreno