When Pinterest CEO, Ben Silbermann said that, “the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords,” I believed it to be true only in the e-commerce space.
And I still do till today.
I mean, the landscape of web search in my niche, blogging, and SEO, will always be dominated by text-based queries, and sometimes videos.
Nevertheless, things are changing rapidly and I’ve brought these visual search statistics to keep you updated with emerging trends so you can capitalize on them.
Optimizing your website for visual search before your competitors will give you an edge in social media and organic traffic.
Before we proceed, if you want to master how to get Google and Pinterest traffic, then download my Traffic Blueprint For Blogs guide below.
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You’ve probably used visual search when you right-clicked on an image with an intent to trace its origin and tapped “search Google for image.”
Then Google displayed a list of sites with that same image.
I know you might be wondering how to optimize your website for visual search.
The technique is pretty simple as including a descriptive alt text in your images to enable Google to understand it.
Pinterest has taken visual search a little extreme by integrating a new image recognition feature called Pinterest Lens into its platform.
With Pinterest Lens, you can take a picture of an object using the camera in the Pinterest app, and it’ll return results of similar objects, most times narrowing it down to the exact brand of the item.
In a bid not to be outdone, Google also launched a similar image search based on the camera called Google Lens.
It operates in a similar way to Pinterest Lens.
Microsoft’s Bing also has an image search feature based on photos taken by a camera.
However, Pinterest Lens is the most advanced when it comes to visual search.
23 Visual Search Statistics Redefining Web Search
Feel free to tweet these visual search statistics.
600 million visual searches are conducted on Pinterest every month
Pinterest was the first to introduce the Lens feature that allows users to take pictures of products they like offline and search for it on the app.
For example, a blonde girl saw an outfit her friend proudly showed off to her. And she wants it by all means.
All she needs to do is to open her Pinterest mobile app and use the Lens camera to take a photo of the clothing, and Pinterest’s image recognition software will return several images of the exact outfit, down to the brand and model.
This feature really caught on with most users a year after it was launched as Pinterest recorded 600 million visual searches done every month.
As a way of advancing its widespread use while increasing the income from advertising, Pinterest has partnered with brands like Samsung and Target to document more than half a billion image searches.
They’re already working on adding the Lens camera to text search on iOS and Android devices.
62% of Millennials prefer visual search to any other technology
Millennials or Generation Z, as they are popularly called, are people born around 1997 to 2015.
They grew up with technology at their feet. It seems to me like they have special wisdom towards technological devices.
A study of over 1000 Millennials discovered that nearly 80% of them are discovering products via mobile devices on the move while over 60% are most likely to complete those transactions on mobile.
The study later revealed that 62% of these Millennials desire visual search capabilities so they can take photos of products they want, identify, and shop for them online.
Luckily, the visual search capability that’s on-demand by this young generation can be found on Pinterest.
Other brands like ASOS, Argos, Target, and Rakuten have already incorporated visual search into their website to cater to this growing technological need.
21% of Pinterest users search less when they have the option of using visual search instead
As Pinterest Lens is quickly becoming an indispensable tool in the online shopping journey, the amount of users using traditional search has reduced.
A study revealed that 21% of Pinterest users forgo the option of the traditional search when they have the option of using visual search.
I believe it’ll be the same for other e-commerce websites that have integrated visual search into their platform.
The majority of the online populace prefers to conduct a search using an image because there are things that ordinary text just can’t explain.
Instead of typing out a keyword describing the kind of water bottle you’re searching for, visual search allows you to use the photo of your coveted water bottle as the query itself.
A picture truly speaks more than a thousand words.
27% of searches across ten major search properties are for images
Jumpshot, in partnership with Moz, combined the searches from ten major websites and shared the percent distribution.
The result from Google Images was surprisingly shocking since Google owns the largest search engine market share.
The actual percent of searches that went to images was 26.79%, beating YouTube’s 3.71% by a wide margin and other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
The list of search properties that were investigated is Google.com, Google Images, YouTube.com, Yahoo, Bing, Google Maps, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, DuckDuckGo, and Google News.
Searches that took place for images were revolutionizing as Google Images had 7X more searches than YouTube.
Ranking your blog post on Google Images is an unexploited source of traffic. Fortunately, it’s not that hard.
All Google requires of you is to let them know what the image is about. This can be done by changing the name and adding an alt text to the image when uploading it on your website.
The alt text should contain either your target keyword or a related keyword.
Imagine the boost in traffic you’ll have if you can rank your blog post on both organic search and Google Images.
50% of online shoppers said images of the products motivated them to purchase
It’s no news that most consumers research products they hope to buy online first. And most times the reviews and product images influence their buying decision.
But just how many percents of online shoppers get their purchase inspiration from images?
Google introduced shoppable ads on Google Images after realizing that fifty percent of online shoppers were stimulated to make a purchase after viewing the images of a product.
Thanks to visual search capabilities like Google Images and Pinterest Lens, e-commerce retailers have a lot of options at their disposal to convert passive viewers into repeated buyers.
Consumers now prefer to see the image of a product online before buying.
Though Amazon is yet to integrate a visual search feature on their website, e-commerce companies like ASOS and Target have hopped on the bandwagon and are making a killing for it.
With the recent advancements in technology, adaptability is key if you want to get more traffic and generate more income than your competitors.
Most competitors are reluctant to adapt, if you do, you’ll be ahead of the competition.
The global image recognition market is expected to hit $39.87 billion by 2025
Image recognition is the software device behind the recognition of your face or an object in a security device.
It’s also the technology that powers visual search features in Google and Pinterest Lens.
There’s a growing demand by users for this market, and as expected, the market value is rising year over year.
As of 2018, the image recognition market was already doing well at $16.85 billion. The market share is expected to grow double in size by 2025 at $39.87 billion.
If you’re skeptical about this figure, take a look at the broadness of the image recognition market, it isn’t all about image search.
Image recognition spans security and surveillance, scanning and imaging, image search, marketing, advertising, and augmented reality.
That’s enough to double the explosion of its market value.
Only 8% of retailers currently have image search built into their web inventory
A little group of innovative online searchers has broken out of the fold of text-based searchers.
This group search with pictures.
Don’t believe me?
Well, Pinterest and Google do.
And they’ve taken steps to catch those seemingly unorthodox searchers.
The next natural question is, how many retailers are catering to these new search behavior?
Records show that only eight percent of retailers have actually built an image search feature on their website.
As more consumers become aware of the convenience of image search, the deviation from the text-based search will become more noticeable.
The retail brands that start fuelling this gentle desire for convenience now will end up as established visual search retailers in the near future.
Implementing new trends before your competitors do is a recipe for brand success.
55% of consumers say visual search contributed to influencing their style and taste
Fifty-five percent of online shoppers admit that just browsing through the photos of different product items was instrumental in developing their style and taste.
Image-based websites that allow consumers to scan through different product ideas are sure to lead customers through a customized buyer’s journey.
There’s something about seeing the photos of what you badly want to buy that just reading a plain text review won’t do.
We think in terms of pictures, not words.
So, it’s only natural that our purchase journey is filled with tempting product visuals if we’re to readily act on our buying impulse.
80% of Pinterest users start with visual search when shopping
The visual search phenomenon has risen to the point where a big eighty percent of consumers on Pinterest start shopping with visual search, instead of typing in a product keyword.
Pinterest is a large website for digging out shopping ideas in picture formats.
If 80% of those users have already switched to visual search mode when doing online shopping, you can be sure that’s its effect would’ve rubbed off on other e-commerce stores.
The demand for visual search has clearly grown.
What will e-commerce retailers do?
Luckily, Target has already partnered with Pinterest to use its visual search technology on its website.
Other online stores have also built visual search features into their websites.
72% of U.S. consumers search for visual content before making a purchase
Young and tech-savvy shoppers are demanding increased visual search capabilities to assist their online shopping journey, especially in the U.S.
Most consumers now rely on using visual search features before they close a sale, with as much as seventy percent of U.S. internet users developing this habit pattern.
The trend keeps growing and e-commerce retailers have to keep up with it.
The demand for visual search is steadily on the rise. Accompanying this demand is an opportunity for smart marketers.
Most e-commerce stores aren’t ready to integrate visual search into their website.
This leaves a loophole with a potentially big win for an online store that redesigns its website by building visual search capabilities right into it.
The key to succeeding in this period is to adapt.
35% of marketers have plans to optimize for visual search in the next 12 months
Despite the growing economic appeal that visual search provides, only a little more than one-third of marketers see it fit to take action towards implementing visual search next year.
This could be partly due to the fact that the whole concept is relatively new and will take time to adjust to.
Or, it feels like a drag and seems a little tough to implement.
If only thirty-five percent of marketers have plans to optimize for visual search, it means sixty-five percent of marketers didn’t consider it worth including in their plan for the year.
The stress of integrating a visual search feature on a website is enough to cause dilly-dallying in the minds of most online retailers.
But, that’s exactly how your competition sees it.
If you despise the inconvenience and do what your competition considers a pain, you’ve gained a strong edge over them, and it’ll reflect in customer satisfaction and a rise in your year over year income.
Google Lens can detect over 1 billion objects
With the launching of Google Lens in October 2017, Google Lens can now identify four times the number of objects covered at its launch.
And that amounts to over one billion objects.
Though there are some cases where Google Lens didn’t correctly identify an object, those were the exceptions, and it’s currently being worked on.
Styles, shapes, and objects that can’t be put into words need not be put into words anymore.
If you want more information and similar images of it, then it’s a Lens shot away.
The power of this camera search feature opens up a whole lot of possibilities in the future of web search.
Aside from Google Lens being able to detect such objects, the Lens has also been trained to interpret and translate words found in a visual search photo.
By 2021, brands that redesign their website to support visual search early enough will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%
Many brands haven’t started the process of incorporating visual search into their business model.
An early adopter e-commerce company that starts remodeling its website to accommodate visual search capabilities in its website is predicted to grow revenue by thirty percent in 2021.
Being a step ahead of the competition like this results in more user engagement, skyrocketing income, and increased customer satisfaction.
Companies profit more when they capitalize on doing what others in their industry haven’t done.
The use of visual search comes with a lot of income opportunities for marketers who are quick to get on the train.
Consumers trust brands that are able to offer image search convenience during their shopping journey and are likely to come back to them.
49% of Pinterest users admit to having an improved relationship with brands they love through visual search
Pinterest users all over the world are loving the new visual search feature. Dresses, objects, home furniture that couldn’t be put in words can now be searched for by taking a photo.
This new feature provides a new way for consumers to connect with brands they love.
The convenience factor is a big reason many online shoppers keep coming back to websites that support visual search.
Almost half of Pinterest users say that the use of searching for shopping ideas using pictures has sweetened their relationship with their favorite brands.
E-commerce brands, in particular, have the opportunity of improving their relationship with consumers by slotting in anything that’ll make an online shopping experience exciting, seamless, and fun.
Other online retailers will do well to follow the visual search trend and also butter the connection they have with their consumers.
85% of consumers attach more importance to visual information than text information when shopping online for clothing or furniture
Online shoppers are beginning to trust pictures more than words, and most e-commerce retailers are beginning to capitalize on this fact.
In specific industries like fashion and home furnishing that require visuals, the use of image recognition software in identifying pictures is extremely crucial to stay ahead.
A whopping eighty-five percent of consumers now place more importance on pictures and visuals over text-based information when shopping for clothing or furniture.
Some industries require the use of visuals more than others. Household items like electronics, wines, and spirits have users preferring textual information to visual information.
More than anything, online stores should start using visual information to aid their consumer’s shopping experience.
Contrary to the belief that visual search is only useful at the beginning of the customer’s journey, consumers also rely on visuals when comparing products they’re about to purchase.
59% of consumers believe visual information is more important than textual information
As easy as it is to trust pictures of products you’re about to buy, over half of the consumers now believe that visual information is more important than text-based information.
When it comes to online shopping, the future of search is truly going to be all about pictures than keywords.
A picture conveys things that can’t be put into words in the mind of a consumer, hence most brands are beginning to capitalize on visual search.
Adaptability is still key if e-commerce brands are to be on top. Installing image recognition software in your online store will keep you ahead of the fierce competition.
Visual search has clearly taken over keyword searches when people are looking to buy items online.
Online shoppers make use of product visuals during the entire journey of their shopping.
36% of consumers have performed a visual search
Visual search is rising at the same rate as voice search is rising.
Thirty-six percent of consumers online have performed a visual search, that’s the same as those that performed a voice search.
Voice search covers a wider variety of industry niches, as opposed to visual search that’s peculiar to the e-commerce industry.
Most of these consumers who’ve performed visual searches most likely did it with Pinterest and Google Lens.
This new visual technology has already changed the landscape of web search, along with its counterpart, voice search.
Digital marketers no longer have to optimize for keyword searches alone, they also have to make room for visual and voice searches.
20% of mobile app users make use of visual search when it’s available
When it came to voice search, users showed a considerable lack of interest than they do with visual search.
Possibly because saying a keyword out loud is more of a pain than typing it out.
About twenty percent of mobile users report that they always make use of visual search in an app where the feature is available.
Visual search is mostly used in mobile devices because of its convenience and portability.
The image recognition feature is increasingly popular in mobile devices.
It’s only natural that users will seek out a visual search feature when it’s available in a mobile app.
Searching using a photo is faster when looking for results and leaves out a lot of guesswork.
45% of UK retailers now use visual search
Retailers in the UK aren’t left out of the e-commerce visual search frenzy. They’ve already seen the light and are satisfying their customers daily with image search capabilities.
Due to the ability of picture search to convert online shoppers to paying customers, forty-five percent of UK retailers have integrated it into their website.
Online retailers like ASOS, Argos, eBay, M & S, and Boohoo are providing consumers with an exciting visual representation of products they wish to buy.
The buyer’s journey has become even more complicated than it was when the internet was still in its early stages in 2005.
Consumers no longer take a predictable path when making a purchase. They compare different product reviews and search for product images.
What if they see an item they like on the street but don’t know how to describe it?
That’s where the power of visual search shines.
Integrating image search features into your e-commerce store like those UK retailers is an exciting step that’ll open a whole new door of shopping experiences and opportunities.
Image-based Pinterest ads have a conversion rate of 8.5%
Pinterest gets most of its income from its advertising model. The ads are all images, as the platform itself supports only visuals.
Shopping carts advertised on Pinterest that were around $1-$199 convert at around 8.5%.
Though the conversion rate on Pinterest went down to 1.5% when the size of the shopping cart went up to around $200-$1600.
The conversion rate for image-based ads on Pinterest fluctuates according to the size of the shopping cart.
Other advertising websites were also surveyed. Bing and Google returned the highest advertisement conversion rates.
Bing topped Google when the shopping cart was large and Google took the first position when the size of the shopping cart was low.
YouTube consistently had the lowest conversion rates even when the size of the shopping cart was both high and low.
Other websites included in the survey were Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
21% of advertisers say that visual search is the most likely to impact their business in 2019
A total of twenty-one percent of marketers believe that visual search is going to affect their businesses in 2019.
Not only visual search, though, data privacy and video advertising are believed to impact online businesses also.
Hence, serious measures are being taken to block every hole with the potential to affect business and sales.
Data privacy and video advertising are believed by 22% of marketers to affect their online businesses.
Other metrics likely to impact businesses are ad fraud, brand safety, influencer marketing, messaging apps, attribution, the rise of shoppable images, and improved offline/in-store measurement.
It’s a clever business move to score high in the above metrics to achieve the most business sustainability.
Google Lens has been used over 1 billion times
Google Lens uses machine learning, computer vision, and billions of data stored in Google’s knowledge graph to return results for visual search queries.
New features such as language translation in over 100 languages have been added to the Lens.
For example, if you’re walking through a street and you see a signboard with a foreign language, you can point the Lens camera at it and the translation will overlap the original language.
No wonder it has been used more than a billion times.
Google Lens keeps adding new features to make the web search process more rewarding for users.
The usefulness of it is reflected by the sheer number of times it has been used.
Other features such as pointing your camera at a recipe you found in a book with Lens returning the steps on how to make it has been added to Google Lens.
Brands can now target over 5000 categories using visual search in Pinterest
The Pinterest Lens feature is being used by Pinterest to enhance its advertising platform as a key social media brand.
Top categories that are targeted using Lens search by Pinterest advertisers are food, vehicles, travel, fashion, home décor, food, and art.
The visual search giant has increased the total number of categories that can be targeted using visual search from 400 to 5000 categories.
In addition to the increase in categories, Pinterest is making the Lens feature more accessible in its mobile app so users can easily find it.
Pinterest has also partnered with Samsung to directly integrate visual search into the Galaxy S8 line so that users can have the option of using the visual search with photos taken with the device.
The implementation of the Lens on Pinterest has done well to skyrocket the income made from advertising.
These visual search statistics and trends are a wake-up call for all e-commerce retailers to sit up and embrace the changing tide in web search.
Integrating visual search into your online store facilitates better customer relationships, improved customer satisfaction, increased income, and higher traffic.
Traffic will shoot up because online shoppers are drawn to the convenience image search provides.
User satisfaction is one of the key metrics Google takes into consideration when ranking websites high in search results.
When consumers are kept engaged with the visual search during their shopping experience, Google will take notice and begin to send you sweet traffic.
If you’re struggling to get traffic to your website, I recommend you download my Traffic Blueprint For Blogs guide and start seeing results in weeks.
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...for beginner and intermediate bloggers