Visual Search and Online Image Advertising
Have you ever seen a photograph of someone wearing exactly the product you have been looking for?
Have you ever endured the frustration of trying to define to Google exactly the colour of red shoes you are looking for?
Have you heard of in-image advertising or visual search?
Possibly not, but chances are you will be hearing much more about these two advancements in online experience in the coming months and years.
According to James Everingham, CTO and co-founder of in-image online advertising company Pixazza, "there are over three trillion images on the internet", and Pixazza want to turn every one into an interactive experience. So how do they intend to do this?
Pixazza is a Google-backed photo tagging service which allows publishers to identify, tag and match products found within images on their websites or blogs and then link them back to the inventories of Pixazza's network of advertisers.
The service, which can be added to a website through a single line of code, allows consumers to browse the photographs on a website and mouse over to reveal information and pricing about similar products featured in, or related to the image, with the option to click to purchase.
The service already has a huge database of products to include in images and tags relating to a wide range of industries such as entertainment, fashion, travel, home and sports.
Inspired by Everingham's wife and her hunt for a pair of shoes similar to those seen in the movie "Sex In The City", the service aims to become like Google's existing Adsense service, but for images. By allowing anyone who signs up to tag images on their websites or blogs in order to earn commission from products sold as a result, the service allows advertisers in it's network to make it even easier to find and buy their products, thus increasing sales online.
While in-image advertising can help increase incidental sales (where-by the consumer wasn't necessarily purposefully searching for the product found in an image), visual search aims to assist those consumers who are actively hunting for their ideal product.
Visual search technology, such as that employed by Like.com, aims to allow the consumer to identify a particular detail, colour, shape or pattern to a product type, before searching for other products which match the selected feature.
As for any retailer, "greasing the sides" of your sales funnel increases the likelihood of conversions, so making it easier and more intuitive for consumers to find the types of products they are looking for can only be a good thing!