Visual Search and its Overview

What is Visual Search?

Imagine you’re in a hotel room, and you fall in love with the kind of curtains the room has. You immediately get this desire of adorning your own house with similar curtains, but you don’t know exactly what keywords to use on the shopping apps to get relevant results. Well, that’s where visual search can help you. With visual search, you can simply capture the image of the curtains and bingo, you’ll instantly receive multiple options suitable to the product you wish to buy.

Simply defined, visual search requires capturing the image of an object to generate relevant information or search results related to that object. Visual search uses technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to show the search results with optimum accuracy.

In the context of digital marketing, companies can advertise their products on platforms like Pinterest or Google by including visual search capabilities in their products.

Example – Let’s say you sell denim jackets and you’ve created an advertisement on Pinterest for the same. Someone who wants a denim jacket performs a visual search on Pinterest, and your product suddenly appears in the search results. This would surely directly benefit your company’s overall sales.

How does Visual Search differ from Image Search?

While both visual and image search use imagery as a medium to show results, the difference between both is that image search is done using text whereas visual search is done using an image.

One statistic showed that 62% of the millennials and Gen Z prefer using visual search more actively compared to other search types. This is enough evidence to become conscious of the benefit visual search presents.

Brands that have leveraged Visual Search smartly

1. Pinterest

The Pinterest Lens, a feature within the app allows users to take images of their surroundings, and show matching search pins and products.

It was introduced in 2017, and within a year of its launch, Pinterest announced that it saw 600 million visual searches every month on the app. Additionally, in 2019, they reported that their technology is able to identify over 2.5 billion items.

2. Google Lens

Google Lens is another very popular visual recognition application. It uses advance deep learning functions that enhances its overall detection capabilities. Google lens is also integrated into other Google apps like Google Assistant and Google Photos.

3. Snapchat Camera Search

Instead of introducing an in-house feature, Snapchat partnered with Amazon to release their visual search feature. This feature can be used to take a photograph of a product and the search results will contain links to relevant products that will direct the customers to the Amazon app.


Although visual search has been around for a long time, it has only recently picked up the pace. The companies in the eCommerce sector have been leveraging this technology smartly to increase the visibility of their products. In the near future, visual search will play an integral role in the search marketing domain.

Scroll to Top