Paid Media In The Rise Of Visual Search

Paid Media ads are a popular marketing method, where businesses will bid to have their content displayed when certain key terms are queried, with the hopes to reach a wider relevant audience, and convert more customers. There are several platforms where Paid Media ads can be displayed, including on websites, social media, and search engines such as Google.

Paid Media ads can come in a range of formats, such as:

Search engine ads

Social media in-feed ads

Display ads

As the search landscape evolves to favour more visual content – with image and video search on the rise – the Paid Media landscape is adapting to these changes.

How has video advertising evolved with search trends Typically, text-based search engines have reigned supreme in the knowledge retrieval landscape, however new findings state that people are starting to use social platforms as search engines; 40% of 18-24 year olds, and 15-20% of all other users are starting their searches on social media. The paid search landscape continues to adapt and accommodate emerging trends, and changing consumer behaviour.

As visual search has risen in popularity, so has the use of images and video in advertising.
More than 86% of companies use video in their advertising strategies. It is suggested that the video ad format is more efficient than other ad types for several reasons:

Video is more efficient at conveying your brand story Visuals are more engaging and easier to consume, resulting in a better user experience The combination of imagery and motion both capture and keep the users attention Despite what people might think, video advertising is not just effective on social media. Google is starting to display more video ads associated with relevant searches; whether or not Google displays a video in relation to a search query often depends on several factors such as the industry, campaign goals and target audience. For example, Google might be more likely to display a video ad in their search results for a recipe query, but for a factual reference or statistic, text-based content might be more relevant.

That being said, the emergence of Google’s new features, such as the ‘perspectives filter’ being trialled on mobile in the US, are making it more likely that videos (published both on websites, or social platforms) will appear on the SERPs both organically, and via advertisements.

As video advertising evolves, it is predicted that the short snappy videos that have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, will start to grow in length. With the demand for videos with a richer narrative increases, videos between 2 to 5 minutes in length are predicted to become more popular; many video-first platforms have adjusted their maximum video length to accommodate this – and are actively encouraging content creators to make longer videos.

Ads on visual search results Although most visual search platforms – such as Google or Pinterest Lens – do show sponsored product listings on their search results, it seems that currently organic listings are prioritised.

Visual search uses machine learning to identify similarities in colours, shapes, images, and patterns. This is also supported by the textual data that is listed under the product attributes for Google shopping. Here you can provide detailed descriptions of your product, which will help the search engine understand how your product is visually associated with the one being searched for.

While listing product attributes still heavily relies on textual data, in the future this could be potentially evolve to include a more visual set up. For example by choosing:

A colour that best matches (or exactly matches) your product from a list The style or shape that best matches your product Patterns associated with your product A glimpse into the hypothetical future of choosing product attributes. In other words, advertisers might have to start thinking more visually.

Summary & final remarks The future of paid advertising in the era of visual search lies in embracing visual content, particularly videos, to captivate audiences and drive meaningful engagement. Advertisers and businesses must adapt to these evolving trends, focusing on creating visually appealing and narrative-driven content to stay relevant in the dynamic landscape of paid media.