Sergey Karshkov: Development of Visual Search


Sergey Karshkov is the founder of 9 Pandas, an advertising agency that is at the forefront of marketing technology innovation. With visual search increasingly becoming an advertising industry standard, this article will explore the explosion in popularity and scope of this groundbreaking technology.

Visual search elevates user experiences, taking them to a whole new level. The most instantly recognisable example is Google’s Search By Image, which enables users to search by uploading an image, providing scope for more specific results.

Hot on Google’s heels, Pinterest launched Lens, enabling users to search by image and identify online retailers selling a particular product they wish to purchase. Users can also use Pinterest Lens to search for related products or view pinboards featuring similar items. Effectively turning mobile cameras into a search bar, Pinterest Lens recognises somewhere in the region of 2.5 billion fashion and home items today, inspiring over 600 million searches through Pinterest’s mobile apps and browser extensions.

Pinterest has made a series of tweaks to its programming in order to enhance functionality. The platform recently launched a QR code-type technology called Pincodes to help users find inspiration while shopping online or browsing their favourite magazines. Pinterest also introduced Lens Your Look, a feature that can help users with outfit planning.

Other examples of visual search include CamFind and Bing Visual Search.

Visual search is already having a game-changing impact on advertising. Google has increased its Google Lens capabilities in recent years, enabling the platform to complete a variety of impressive actions, seamlessly integrating this innovative technology into everyday life. For example, an individual visiting a new city for the first time can simply scan a picture of a particular restaurant into Google Lens to receive reviews, ratings and a restaurant menu in seconds rather than having to conduct a text search.

According to a recent study, the average person recalls around 65% of the visual content they see up to three days later. This suggests that visual search has huge potential for advertisers. Given that each individual is exposed to around 5,000 advertisements each day, this level of picture recollection reveals staggering potential for marketers everywhere.

In social media marketing, visualisation is crucial. However, it is equally important for each touchpoint in the customer journey. This is particularly true in the realm of product discovery, where customers are demonstrating growing impatience in terms of wading through irrelevant searches.

Visual search has huge potential in ecommerce marketing, transforming the way that consumers shop for visual products while simultaneously improving the customer experience.

Experts predict that visual search will have a profound effect on digital marketing, including:

  • Driving digital transformation
  • Supporting social influencer optimisation
  • Triggering a rise in shoppable content
  • Revolutionising SEO

Just a decade ago, digital advertising revolutionised the world of marketing, with companies moving their physical ad campaigns online. Experts predict that history may be about to repeat itself as more and more marketers come to recognise the power of visual search as a market-leading tool.


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