Advancements in Visual Search Mean Greater Convenience and Improved Accuracy

In the early days of the internet, search engines seemed like one of the greatest things ever. It’s hard to imagine an era of search engines before Google, but these initial versions still managed to get users to the information they needed.

As the web matured, so did search engines, offering even more accurate results in less time. However, when it comes to image search, it is not always easy to describe things with words in a manner that search engines will understand. If you enter as much data as possible, Google’s search engine has a pretty good idea of what you want and will find a picture. The results aren’t always on the money, but still useful.

Of course, if you are looking for a person, showing their picture around gets faster results than simply describing how they look. The same applies when doing a visual search on the web: showing the program exactly what you want narrows down the results considerably.

However, early versions of this technology could not compete with the degree of visual search offered by the human eye. Factors such as shape, size, and colour allow us to distinguish one object from another. Since science does not really understand how the human mind chooses which to emphasize, it is difficult to imbue a program with such knowledge.

Place the Face

facial recognition search

One area where the technology has made great strides is facial recognition. Law enforcement regularly makes use of this to locate criminals with considerable success.

Consumers have also benefited—the iPhone X unlocks with nothing more than a glance from the user.  Apple’s version of this function improves upon the earlier equivalent from Samsung, and smartphone biometrics is an area where regular advancements are almost certain.

Facial recognition was a major goal for both industry and governments, so it received considerable emphasis. Other areas of visual recognition have not had the same degree of attention and are still in development, but visual search is maturing rapidly overall.

Google Lens

Entering a picture of something into Google ideally brings up a result that looks like the one you entered. The search engine’s neural networks analyze the image and locate its equivalent. The accuracy of these results continues to improve, and the company has announced another exciting addition for smartphones users: Google Lens.

Visual Search Marketing

Ever been fascinated by something, but did not know what it was? Google Lens allows you to point your smartphone at the object in question and the search engine will identify it. Love that red sports car parked across the street, but do not know the brand or year? This program can tell you.

Bing Visual Search

Google is not the only tech giant working in this area. Bing may not have the same “go-to” cachet, but Microsoft continues to improve its capabilities.

What’s exciting about Bing’s visual search is the way it allows users to choose a particular portion of the image to emphasize. Say you are looking at a shot of a home interior and a refrigerator catches your eye. Want to learn more about what make it is and who offers it? You can use Bing to hone in on just that section for a visual search. It can even connect directly to retailers offering that fridge for sale, allowing you to purchase.

Although currently restricted to a handful of categories, this aspect of visual search holds tremendous advantages for both consumers and retailers. Expect it to advance in sophistication quite quickly.

Pinterest Lens

google pinterest lens search

Not to be outdone, Pinterest has announced Pinterest Lens, which also offers sophisticated visual search via an upgrade to its app. Once you choose an image, Pinterest analyzes it and searches for similar pins. The program also presents a series of keywords that you can select to help refine the search. 55% of those on the site use Pinterest for shopping, and the company plans to monetize Lens, so the e-commerce possibilities for this program could be considerable.

All of these developments offer exciting new ways to get accurate information in the blink of an eye. On the downside, it cannot help but further reduce the ability of brick and mortar retailers to compete with internet shopping. It was bad enough that people would go into stores to try items and then buy them online; now they will also be able to take a picture, price match, and order in a matter of seconds. As with most all technological advancements these days, there will be clear winners and losers.

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How to Make the Most of Your White Paper Marketing

Type a query into Google and you get millions of different answers. How many are reliable?

A good percentage are perfectly valid, while others are poorly researched or intentionally misleading.

The internet is a vast resource of information, but not all sources are credible. The world of business is no different. Some companies will just tell you what you want to hear, while others have so little grasp of what they do, they may even accidentally deceive you. So, how do you know whether to partner with another firm?

A great way to demonstrate credibility is to position your company as an industry authority.

White papers achieve this by presenting facts on a particular issue in an efficient and persuasive manner. The Content Marketing Institute reports that white papers remain one of the five most important marketing strategies for B2B businesses.

One thing a white paper should never be, however, is an obvious sales pitch. Your mission is to instruct and inform, not sell. That said, white papers can still effectively market a company and its capabilities if you remember the following:

Optimize Your Title

Keyword optimization is a crucial aspect of digital marketing. You need to choose words that will attract your intended audience in the most efficient way possible.

If you were looking for a white paper on this topic, what title would prompt you to download it? Create an eye-catching title that conveys what the paper is about and includes at least one keyword. Limit it to 70 characters as this is all that displays in search results.

Do the Work

A white paper will not fulfil its purpose unless it is well-crafted on all levels. Research the subject thoroughly and back up all claims with credible sources. The document should help readers solve a problem, not make them wonder why they don’t understand your information.

Craft the text with care. Remember that this document is meant primarily to inform, not serve as an advertisement for your services. The lure instead presents itself to the reader through the quality of the work on offer. Be clear and don’t waste words, but avoid being too casual.

Decide on keywords or key phrases and make sure to include them. However, do not stuff the text with these words or you run the risk of search engines penalties that defeat the purpose.

Carefully spellcheck and copy-edit your final draft. All your hard work is lost if you don’t demonstrate such basic care and craft. Include footnotes and a references section for both sources you cite and ones not mentioned by name in the text.

Provide Compelling Visuals

A sea of unbroken text is off-putting for many people and will cause them to stop reading. Visuals help to prevent this, while also reinforcing your main points (charts and graphs are effective in moderation.) For example, a list of statistics is easier to process and remember when presented this way instead of a block of text:

Sales 63%
Marketing 40%
Audience Outreach 7.2%
Financial Growth 54%
Product Management 17%

This makes the document more appealing to read, and makes readers more likely to share it with others.

Relevant images are also good at reinforcing your points. However, be careful when using stock images. Overused or irrelevant images suggest a lack of work on your part. If you can create new, high-resolution pictures, do so.

Should you choose a stock image, remember to buy it and include that version. A big watermark on a temporary image from a provider like iStock demonstrates an embarrassing lack of care.

Finish with a Strong Call to Action

A white paper that is compelling 95% of the way through can still fail from a marketing perspective without a strong finish. Encourage the reader to learn more by contacting you for more information, visiting your website, signing up for your newsletter, or following you on social media.

Create a Proper Landing Page

A white paper is something to be proud of, so don’t tuck the link away in a corner. Create a dedicated page that includes a few brief sentences about its contents, some interesting graphics, and a prominent download button.

Make It Easily Shareable

Don’t promote a white paper on a landing page with a dead download link. Be sure to test the link before making it live.

Choose a resolution that looks good, but does not take a long time to download. High-resolution graphics are great, but most people are only willing to wait so long for a document to become available to them.

Some companies provide a contact form the reader must fill out before the white paper download commences. This is an effective way to get contact information but will cause some to skip the white paper altogether. As mentioned in the Call to Action section above, there are other ways to find out who your customers are and how to contact them.

TrafficSoda is here to help with your White Paper Strategy