Content marketers should begin optimising now for the rise of ‘v’ – voice and visual search – a fast-growing innovation whose time is rapidly approaching.
So says SearchEngineLand.com contributing editor Greg Sterling, who notes in his article this week that ‘voice search’ may not reach the somewhat wildly predicted level of 50% by 2020, but has certainly already significantly surpassed the 20% of all searches announced by Google back in 2016.
Voice input on smartphones has now become a decidedly non-trivial percentage of search enquiries.
The precise figure remains unclear as Google is notoriously tight-lipped about releasing such data.
Even so, content marketers would be unwise to ignore a trend that’s growing as vigorously as ‘v.’
The other ‘v’ that Sterling highlights is visual search – less mature than voice search, visual search is nonetheless fast becoming a popular alternative to typing text into a search box.
The tech is developing apace: Google has been working assiduously to refine its visual search tool ‘Lens.’
Built on computer vision, object recognition and machine learning, Lens can now translate text, search restaurant menus, scan barcodes, and scan objects in the physical world – this stuff drives commerce.
Microsoft has been in on the visual search act since 2009 and has been steadily upgrading and improving Bing’s visual search capabilities.
Pinterest also has its own version of Lens: its camera search lets users isolate items on pins or even offline ‘IRL’ (in the real world) and then search on them visually to discover similar objects.
Big retailers such as IKEA have been working with Pinterest to bridge online and offline worlds and “bring back the magic of shopping through innovative paid campaigns”, according to Joy Kelly, media manager at IKEA Retail US.
Demand for visual search is high – and growing – among millennials, who now prefer it to text on smartphones, according to new research.
Sterling says that product marketers and retailers should optimise for image search, and local marketers must ensure that their local profiles have a rich supply of images as profiles with optimised images outperform those without them.