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Visual search is an emerging technology trend.

But, um…just what the heck is it?

Well, let’s start with what it isn’t.

It’s NOT the last-ditch effort you pull when it’s t-minus two minutes until the presentation, and you need to fill white space on that wimpy slide.

That’s an image search, and it’s actually been around for a good 20 years thanks to J.Lo’s jaw-dropping dress that made the interweb’s brain explode.

Like voice search before it, visual search is “sensory search,” and it scours the ’net based off an uploaded image. Put in the simplest terms: instead of searching with words, you’re searching with a picture. Maybe it’s a pic you took (no judgment re: selfies), a screengrab, or a photo you found in an image search.

Here’s how it works on Google:

Tap Google Lens icon in search bar > Upload image of ridiculously adorable dog > Learn more about said good boy.

Or in the case of Pinterest Lens, take a photo of a product you fancy, and embark on a shopping spree from the comfort of your couch.

Google and Pinterest have been trailblazers in this space, but other digital giants—like Bing, Snapchat, and Amazon—have also experimented with it.

And while visual search still lives with early adopters, brands have a chance to get in on the ground floor, AND on Millennials’ good side, as 62% say they desire the ability to visually search over any other new technology. Plus, the people who know such things project it could increase e-commerce revenues up to 30%.

Want to peep some ways you can start preparing your site for visual searches? Consider using structured data, alt tags, and descriptive file names. Image sitemaps aren’t a shabby idea either.

So get to app downloading and search experimenting. After all, it’s a COVID-safe way to order your bread bowl gloves or redesign your quarantine quarters for the 100th time.

Have a snap-happy weekend, everybody!

—Your seeing-is-sometimes-believing friends at Brokaw

while visual search still lives with early adopters, brands have a chance to get in on the ground floor

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