Blippar Announces AR Ad Unit & Visual Search For Cars

What Happened
Augmented reality solution provider Blippar announced two big additions to its platform. First up, the company is ready to launch what it claims to be “the first AR digital ad unit” that doesn’t require an app. This new ad product, named Augmented Reality Digital Placement (ARDP), will work with standard rich media banner ad units. Upon clicking, it would open a web-view window that, after users grant permission to access the camera, can superimpose ad creatives over the environment that the camera captures, and is viewable in 360-degree view. The creatives can be 3D models or static cut-outs from a 360-degree video. 

Secondly, Blippar is adding a “Shazam-for-cars” feature to its free mobile app that allows users to identify the make, model, and year of any U.S. car made since 2000 simply by pointing their camera at the car. The app will then surface relevant content such as average customer rating, price, a 360-degree view of the car’s interior. Blippar says it has achieved over 97.7% accuracy in automotive recognition, making it the highest in the industry. With this launch, the company is releasing a Car Recognition API that is available globally for companies to license and integrate into their own apps and products.

What Brands Need To Do
Although the AR experience delivered by ARDP seems to be pretty rough and limited in functions according to Blippar’s demo video, it is nevertheless an exciting development that marks the commence of the AR advertising arm’s race. The fact that this AR experience doesn’t require any specific app to run is obviously a plus for the potential reach of this ad unit. Mobile-based AR is a great way for brands to deliver interactive content and feature to drive active engagement and showcase products, and AR ads would be a great tool for brands looking to enhance their mobile ad experience.

For auto brands, the car-recognition feature and its API should be a great tool to transform any ordinary environment into a virtual showroom. It would be a great tool for event activations, pop-up promotions, and engaging car enthusiasts. According to CEO Rish Mitra, the company is working to expand this visual search feature to cover more sectors, with fashion being its next target.

For more information on how brands may tap into the rapid development in AR to create engaging customer experiences, please check out the Advanced Interfaces section of our Outlook 2017.


Sources: MarTech Today & TechCrunch

Featured image courtesy of Blippar

Pinterest Lens Now Supports Visual Search For Recipes

What Happened
Pinterest has updated its visual search and discovery feature Lens to make it more useful for food enthusiasts to find recipes and dishes. The new update enables “full dish recognition” for Lens, which let Pinterest users snap a picture of a particular dish, such as quesadillas or fried chicken, and get corresponding recipes for that dish, along with similar-looking dishes. Previously, users can use Lens to get recommended recipes when they snap pictures of the ingredients they have. Pinterest rolled out Lens to all U.S. users in March, and it is integrated with Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby to power visual search on the new Galaxy 8 phones.

What Brands Need To Do
This update for the Pinterest Lens feature should give its search platform a boost and make it more useful for Pinterest’s over 175 million users, who, according to the company, spent 5% more on groceries than the national average. Pinterest have long been a popular platform among marketers with its quick product roll-out, coupled with its emphasis on search and scale. This Lens feature puts it in an advantageous position of developing consumer-facing visual discovery tools, which are increasingly gaining traction as a new way to understand user intent and collect contextual data.

With the quick advancement of machine learning and AI-powered solutions, we are starting to see examples of brands primarily using the camera as an input source of the mobile user interface.  This trend should provide some inspiration to brands looking to update their digital user experience to be more intuitive and convenient for mobile users.


Source: AdWeek


Pinterest Launches Mobile Visual Search Tool In Public Beta

What Happened
Pinterest has launched its Lens virtual search tool on its mobile app as a public beta test. Starting today, Lens allows iOS users to point their smartphone cameras at anything, and Pinterest’s A.I.-powered algorithm will automatically pick apart the objects in an image and categorize them down into foods, animals, clothing, or even patterns like hexagons. Then users will be presented with a slew of pins featuring identical or visually similar items. Building on the visual search function it previewed last year, Pinterest says Lens will also come with a “Shop The Look” feature that isolates each fashion items, from hats to jeans to shoes, in an image that surface shoppable pins featuring each of those pieces.

What Brands Need To Do
According to a recent study by Millward Brown, 83% of active Pinterest users have purchased a product because of something they saw on the site.As Pinterest continues to build out its ecommerce features, brands interested in social commerce, especially those whose target audiences overlap with Pinterest users, should leverage them to boost direct sales by adding support for the “shopping cart” and experimenting with Buyable Pins.

Moreover, with the quick advancement of machine learning and AI-powered solutions, we are starting to see examples of brands primarily using the camera as an input source of the mobile user interface and leverage images to learn about user intent. Snapchat is a prime example of leveraging the camera to engage with mobile users. This trend should provide some inspiration to brands looking to update their digital user experience to be more intuitive and convenient for mobile users.


Source: TechCrunch

Pinterest Launches Visual Search To Help You Find Specific Items

What Happened
Earlier today, Pinterest started to roll out an interesting new image search tool for its apps and website. The visual search allows users to zoom in on a specific item – for example, a lamp, a coffee table, or a pair of shoes – in Pinterest images and search for pins that contain that item or similar-looking ones. Users can also filter the visual search by topic to narrow down the results.

What Brands Need To Do
Hailed as a “sales conversion powerhouse,” Pinterest has been beating all other social media sites in ecommerce conversion rate, especially in categories such as fashion, home goods, and food. In order to capitalize on Pinterest’s conversion prowess, brands marketing on Pinterest would be smart to create a pinned inventory of their products, with each pin linked to the corresponding purchase page. This will make them more likely to show up in the new visual search results. Popular items can also be promoted with Pinterest’s one-click “buyable pins” to boost sales.


Source: Wall Street Journal

Header image is a promotional image courtesy of Pinterest Blog

Neiman Marcus Adds Visual Search To Its App For Better Discovery

What Happened
Luxury department store Neiman Marcus has teamed up with Slyce, a product-discovery platform, to allow users of its retail app to search for items with images instead of texts. Shoppers can either upload a photo from their phone or snap one of a certain product, and Neiman Marcus’ branded app will serve up both the exact item and some similar ones that the retailer carries.

What Brands Should Do
Visual search has long been a great breakthrough point for retail and ecommerce brands seeking to connect their physical and digital assets. A recent example would be Amazon’s great “Firefly” feature on its poorly-received Fire Phone, which promises to identify any object in the real world and facilitate buying through Amazon. For retailers, visual search could lead to better product discovery, boosting sales while also providing customers a better in-store experience.

Source: Digiday