Why Google Upped the Ante with Visual Search and Shopping
With the rise of Gen Z, Google has come to grips with the reality that people are using the Internet in a more visual way. We recently blogged about Google admitting publicly that Instagram and TikTok are challenging Google’s dominance of search with Gen Z. Well, Google is responding. At the company’s recent Search On event, Google announced a slew of features to make search and shopping more immersive.
Search Is More Immersive
Google said that it’s making search more immersive and visual than ever. Earlier this year, Google introduced multisearch, which makes it possible for people to take a picture or use a screenshot and then add text to it (similar to the way you might naturally point at something and ask a question about it). At Search On, Google previewed “multisearch near me,” which enables people to snap a picture or take a screenshot of an item, then find it nearby instantly.
This is important because half of Google searches seek local information. According to Google, “This new way of searching will help you find and connect with local businesses, whether you’re looking to support your neighborhood shop, or just need something right now. ‘Multisearch near me’ will start rolling out in English in the U.S. later this fall.”
Shopping Is More Visual
Google is also making shopping a more visual experience. For instance:
- Search with the word “shop.” In the United Sates, when people search using the word “shop” followed by the item they’re looking for, they’ll get access to a visual feed of products, tools, and inventory for that product. Technically this shoppable search experience has been in development already, but Google is expanding it to include more categories such as electronics and beauty.
- Shop the Look: This tool will allow searchers to see options of where to buy the products you see in search. The “shop the look” feature show links to the exact product being searched for, as well complementary pieces and where to buy them.
- Shop in 3D: Google began to roll our 3D visuals of home goods in search results, and the company is expanding 3D search to include more products such as shoes. To give merchants and advertisers better access to 3D visuals, Google is making available a new automated 360-degree spin feature that can be accessed by using a handful of static photos. The new technology will become available in the coming months.
These are the latest examples of how Google is changing for a more visual web. As we discussed, Google recently announced features such as Product feeds for a shoppable YouTube experience and Swipeable shopping ads in search.
What Advertisers Should Do
- Capitalize on Google’s advertising tools that are designed to be more visually appealing. For instance, Google Discovery ads are image-rich ads designed for a more “laid back” search experience (more about that here). Google is clearly doubling down on the visual web, and advertisers should expect more visually appealing ad products as it attempts to become a stronger e-commerce player.
- Look beyond Google. Google isn’t the only company figuring out visual search and commerce. For example, Pinterest offers numerous visual-first ad units. And there are many more apps doing the same thing.
- Optimize your online inventory for visual search. For instance, offer numerous images, choose high-resolution photos, optimize image titles and descriptions, add alternative text, optimize image sizes and file types, and include great captions.