How Google Lens is Getting Your Products Found Online

How Google Lens is Getting Your Products Found Online

Google is constantly innovating and testing new features, and augmented reality (AR) is a hot topic right now.

You might think of AR as a way to make digital images appear in your living room. But Google’s visual search technology for Android, Google Lens, does a lot more than that.

It enables you to bring your physical environment into the digital world.

What Is Google Lens?

Google Lens is an image recognition technology that allows users to interact with real-world objects using their phone’s camera.

Using AI, Google’s technology interprets the objects on your phone camera and provides additional information. It can scan and translate text, see furniture in your house, and help you explore local landmarks.

Google Lens is integrated directly into the camera on some phone models. If it doesn’t come pre-loaded on your device, there’s also an app you can download from the Google Play store to try it out.

Uses of Google Lens

Have you ever been traveling and wished you could read that train ticket in a foreign language? With Google Lens, just hover your phone camera over it, and it will translate the text for you.

You can also use Google Lens to learn about your environment in other ways. If you point your camera at a nearby landmark, you’ll see historical facts and information about opening hours. If you use it on an animal or plant, it can identify the type of flower or the breed of dog.

When eating out at a restaurant, you see which items on the menu are most popular (this information is pulled from Google Maps). Students can even use it to help them with their homework: if they hover over an equation, they’ll get a step-by-step guide to solve the problem.

But one of Google Lens’ most exciting applications for marketers, and the one I’m going to talk about today, has to do with online shopping.

Say a user is browsing on their phone and sees a sweater they like.

Rather than typing a long query into Google (“brown sweater, zig-zag pattern…”), the user can tap and hold the image, and Google Lens will find the same item (or a similar one), so they can buy it.

The app also provides style tips and ideas about what items to pair with the sweater. The recommendations are based on AI’s understanding of how people in fashion photos typically wear similar clothing.

Before the shopping feature came out, users could already search for clothing by taking a screenshot and opening it in Google Photos, or by pointing their camera at a physical item in a store. Long clicking on an online image for an instant search just makes the whole process easier.

In the future, Google plans to make AR showrooms available, so shoppers may soon be able to try on clothes at home virtually.

How Can E-commerce Businesses Optimize for Google Lens?

Once SEOs experiments with the long click search, we’ll gain some more insights into what works and what doesn’t with that specific feature.

But we know a fair bit since Google Lens and image search have been around for a few years.

Here’s what you do if you want to optimize for Google Lens:

Get Your Products to Appear on Google Lens

Before we get into specifics about image optimization, you’ll want to make sure your product listings show up on Google. So how do you do that? With product listings.

Product listings on Google are free. You can also run a paid campaign on Google Shopping if you want, although Shopping now offers free listings as well.

If you take advantage of Google’s free product listings, your products will show up in Google Search, Google Images, Google Shopping, and Google Lens searches. However, they need to follow Google’s policies, and you’ll need to do one of the following two things:

  1. Open a Google Merchant Center account and create a feed to upload your product data
  2. Integrate structured data markup onto your website

Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center lets Google know more about your products, so they can list them in search.

Here’s how to sign up for Google Merchant Center:

Go to Google’s Merchant Center homepage and sign in to your Google account.

Click “Sign in to Merchant Center” in the dropdown menu.

Then, enter your business’ name and information.

Scroll down, and fill in more information about your checkout process, tools you use, and whether you’d like to receive emails.

When you’re finished, agree to the Terms of Service and click “Create Account.”

Once you’ve created your account, don’t forget to add your products.

You can do this by creating a product feed. On the home screen of your new account, click “Add product data”:

You can then choose to add individual or multiple products.

Structured Data Markup

If you don’t want to use Google Merchant Center, you can still get your products to show up on Google Lens and elsewhere. However, you’ll need to add some structured data markup to your website. (In fact, I recommend doing this even if you do use Google Merchant Center.)

Structured data markup is code snippets added to your HTML that help Google better understand information on your website. annotations are the most commonly used markups for SEO.

For example, Schema can tell Google that a specific page is a recipe, an article, about a local business, or an event.

To implement markup, you’ll need access to edit the HTML on your site.

Google provides a helpful support guide on setting up structured data so that your site is compatible with their Merchant Center.

If you use WordPress, there are also several Schema markup plugins.

Once you’ve added the code, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure Google understands your markups.

Follow Google Image Optimization Best Practices With Google Lens

Google Lens technology is similar to Google’s reverse image search, but with a more sophisticated use of AI. A lot of the same principles that apply to regular image optimization for SEO also apply when you’re optimizing for Google Lens.

Image Size

Large images that load slowly (or not at all) can hurt your SEO (as well as making your website less user-friendly).

Since e-commerce websites tend to have many images (as they should!), loading times are particularly important.

Use a compression tool like Compress JPEG or Compress PNG to shrink your images.

Label Images and Add Keywords

Make sure to use keywords and descriptive language wherever you can, for example in image titles, ALT text, filenames, and EXIF data.

Add image titles and ALT text via the HTML of your website, or using your content management system (like WordPress or Squarespace).

EXIF data can be edited locally on your computer. This data adds more in-depth information to your photo, such as the time and date it was taken and what camera was used.

Although machine learning tools like Google Lens rely more on image recognition than text when executing a search, adding clear and relevant information to your image can improve SEO and user experience.

Use High Photo Quality and Visuals For Google Lens

Another way to optimize for Google Lens is by providing crystal clear product images.

If someone long clicks on a brown sweater in a photo, and that sweater is a product you sell in your e-commerce store, you want your product to come up as part of their search. To do that, Google needs to understand the brown sweater you’re selling is the item the searcher is looking for.

Look through your website and replace any images that are blurry, cropped oddly, or don’t fully show items.

Ideally, you’ll want to use high-resolution images taken on a professional camera while balancing quality with file load time. Opt for a high-quality file format like .PNG or .JPG.

Google Lens vs. Pinterest Lens

Google Lens isn’t the only game in town. Pinterest offers a similar feature, called Pinterest Lens.

Just like Google Lens, Pinterest Lens allows users to shop for products from third-party retailers. Users can take a photo, upload one, or hover over a physical item with their camera to use the feature.

So what’s the difference between Google Lens and Pinterest Lens?

On Pinterest, there’s a lot of action going on inside the Pinterest app. Unlike the all-pervasive Google, Pinterest is a specific ecosystem with its own Verified Merchant Program and internal search engine.

If you want to optimize your brand for Pinterest Lens, make sure you have a Pinterest business account, get your products onto Pinterest using Catalogs, and join the Verified Merchant Program.

Otherwise, many of the same rules apply as with Google Lens. To get found in Pinterest Lens, optimize your images by adding keywords in the filename, title, and ALT text, and ensure photos load fast and are high quality.

What Does Google Lens Mean for Marketers?

Advances in Google Lens search aren’t just changing the nature of SEO. They also represent a significant shift in the way people look for products.

Nowadays, if you want to shop online, you might go to an online store and type in a specific search term. When you’ve found what you’re looking for, you’ll check out and go back to whatever you were doing before.

But with Google Lens, every minute you spend online becomes a potential shopping experience. While you’re busy looking through social media posts, reading blog articles, or messaging friends, you might spot an item you like and start casually browsing through products.

Tech journalists have viewed Google’s focus on improving the Shopping and Lens experiences as part of a broader strategy to compete with Amazon… and they’re probably right.

Google wants people to spend more time in Google search and less time browsing e-commerce websites.

If you’re a marketer working in e-commerce, this is big news. It means in the future, fewer people might be visiting your website directly by typing it into the address bar. Instead, they may arrive directly via channels like Google Lens or Pinterest Lens.

In the future, we may see brands investing more heavily in strategies like product placement as part of their marketing. If tons of pictures of a famous person using your product are floating around the web, people could then easily seek that product out directly with a Lens search.


Google is always innovating and creating new and different ways to search. Google Lens is the most recent example of the search giants’ constant growth.

For e-commerce retailers, this new technology should not be ignored as it could very well be the future of image search.

As marketers, we’re expected to pivot rapidly as technology changes, and Google Lens is no exception.

Have you heard about Google Lens or Pinterest Lens? What are your thoughts about this way of searching?

Business: How to Brainstorm Unique Products in a Competitive Market

Business: How to Brainstorm Unique Products in a Competitive Market

 4.6/5 (35)

You don’t need to have a “Eureka!” moment to come up with a great business idea. You can easily come up with great ideas if you ask yourself the right questions.

More people are interested in entrepreneurship than ever before. Everyone gets stuck at “coming up with a good idea.”

One problem I see is people want to create copycat products that aren’t any different from the incumbents. Or they want to make the same thing, but just do it cheaper.

My friend mentioned he wanted to start a protein bar company. They’re consumable, easy to put on subscription model, and decent margins.

The problem is they’re kinda competitive.

I asked him what his bars are going to be like?

“Tastes great, low sugar, high protein, and high fiber.”

My immediate reaction: “How are you going to compete against Quest and all the other protein bars that promise the exact thing?” 

You need to solve problems, and you need to solve them in a different way than everyone else.

I’m going to walk you through the brainstorming session I had with him. He’s not pursuing this industry anymore so maybe one of you guys can do something with it (and hook me up with protein bars!) 

You can approach ideation in a systematic manner. Take the question and framework that I’m using, and use to brainstorm ideas for yourself. 

1. What Demographics Aren’t Being Served?

I started getting into skincare when I saw my first wrinkle. I went off to Walgreen’s. And went straight to the men’s aisle and saw my options.

I didn’t understand why my facial lotion had to be “extreme.” 

Later on, I learned that there’s really no difference between men and female skincare. I’m paying extra for it to smell like trees.

You see this in all industries. Women pay something called the “Pink Tax.”

You can take this mentality and create a brand around demographics.

  • Older men
  • Older women
  • Kids
  • Teenagers

You can formulate the protein bars to serve the demographic better. Add some cartoon images for the kids. Older women will be attracted to bars with collagen in them. 

2. What’s the Next Diet Trend?

Here are the guarantees in life: Death, Taxes, and a new diet trend.  

Keto is the hot diet right now. A few years ago, PerfectKeto came in and crushed it. They have supplements and protein bars designed to help people with their Keto goals.

Going vegan is becoming more popular. There are plenty of vegan protein bars out there. 

These two markets are probably too competitive right now for you to enter.

Do some research into what the next diet trends are.

Here’s what I found:

  • There’s an increasing demand for diets that boost immunity. You can guess why.
  • Another diet trend is the DASH diet, which is focused on preventing heart disease and lowering high blood pressure. It’s based on restricting the amount of sodium.

Understand the needs of the diet, and formulate appropriately. 

3. What’s a Unique Ingredient with Proven Benefits?

The right ingredient can provide a benefit, and differentiate your product from everyone else’s.

What is one unique ingredient that you can add to your bar? How does that benefit help?

  • Four Sigmatic pioneered the mushroom movement for supplements and coffee. There’s a trend towards people realizing the power of mushrooms.
  • Exo Protein is using Crickets. There’s a trend toward sustainability. Crickets are the world’s most sustainable protein. 

I would research other sources of “weird” protein. Research other cultures. Look at the “past” for inspiration. Bulletproof made butter in coffee popular, but it has existed for thousands of years in Tibet. Chia seeds are popular now with suburban moms, but Peruvians have been eating it for thousands of years. 

What other insects could be good sources of protein?

You could do an ant, beetle, or grasshopper based protein bar.

Think about how large the “collagen” protein industry has become. What’s the next collagen?

4. What Flavors Are Popular, but Aren’t Utilized Yet? 

This one’s inspired by Ben & Jerry’s.

I’m looking at protein bars, and they tend to fall into the usual flavors: vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, cookie dough, cookies and cream, etc.

What other interesting flavors can you come up with?

Here are a few ideas I have. 

  • Ethnic based. Could there be protein bars that are Indian, Japanese, or Brazilian flavored?
  • Cereal. When I lived in New York, I loved getting cookies by Milk Bar. Their signature flavor was “cereal.” I wonder if there are any protein bars inspired by our favorite cereals. This could invoke a nostalgia play.
  • Popular Existing Flavors. What are the top ice cream flavors out there? Which ones aren’t served by protein bars? 

Unique flavors are powerful because they encourage repeat purchases. If someone’s a fan of one flavor, they’re going to want to try them all.

And for first time buyers, offering a “variety pack” of all flavors will do well. 

5. How Can I Deliver the Protein in a Different Way?

Protein bars come in the same standard, rectangular shape.

There’s a market for delivering the protein in a different form.

The first method would be to offer different packaging. Peanut butter usually comes in a jar.

Superfats packages peanut butter as on-the-go snacks.

Another idea is to not limit yourself to bars. People want protein. What other forms can you deliver protein in?

  • Protein peanut butter
  • Protein peanut butter cups like Reeses
  • Protein crackers
  • Protein rice cakes
  • Protein waffles 
  • Protein cookie
  • Protein ice cream

6.  What Are the Biggest Problems with Protein Bars?

My favorite protein bar is RXBAR.

I’ve always wondered what kind of “crap” companies put into protein bars. RXBAR makes a bold promise on their packaging. 

These are their ingredients. That’s it. There was a “transparency” problem with protein bars, and they fixed it. 

What other problems could there be with protein bars?

The easiest way is to research popular protein bars on Amazon. What are people complaining about in their reviews?

I did some research and came up with some ideas:

  • Someone wants a bar that’s easier to digest. They get upset stomachs whenever they eat one. Create one that’s plant-based and high in fiber.
  • Someone loves to take their protein bars on hikes, but it gets crushed and melted easily. The bars are individually wrapped in a harder plastic. 

7. How Can I Make Protein Bars More Functional?

I’m assuming most people eat protein bars as a convenient and healthy snack. What if the protein bar could contain ingredients that help them serve a specific purpose?

  • Survival Bar: People are into “survival” and emergencies more than ever because of COVID-19. Create one that’s designed to last longer than traditional. Their bars last for a year, ours is designed to last for a decade.
  • Sleeping Protein Bars: Some people have trouble falling asleep at night. It could be because they’re going to bed hungry. What if there was a protein bar designed to help you sleep. It’s easy to digest and has some sleep aid ingredients such as L-theanine.
  • Focus Bars: Contains Nootropics and caffeine. A better alternative to coffee and energy drinks. They help you focus and keep you full!
  • The Beauty Bar: Eat this protein bar to improve your skin. It’s full of collagen and retinol.

8. How Can I Create an Aspirational Brand Story?

People love stories. 

I was broke in college, and I needed a notebook. There was the generic one for $5. Next to it was the $20 Moleskine.

I went with the Moleskine even though I couldn’t afford it. This was the journal of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Ernest Hemingway. Maybe writing in this notebook would help me become more creative.

Buying it increased my sense of identity.

Think about what tribes would buy a protein bar and who they’d aspire to be like.

  • Viking Protein Bars: Crossfitters and Tough Mudders think they’re warriors. When the Vikings went to war, they brought along protein bars. These protein bars are based on ancient recipes.
  • Louis and Clark Bars: Hikers want to be like Louis and Clark. These protein bars were inspired by a recipe found in one of their journals.
  • Military / Patriot bars: I don’t need to do a search to know that there are military and patriot inspired protein bars out there. 

There’s who the customer is now, and there’s who the customer wants to become. The customers buy products to help them feel connected to their end goal.

It’s why some people are willing to buy Louis Vuitton even though they can’t afford it. It’s what they aspire to be like.

You Have More Ideas Than You Think

I haven’t always been in business ideation mode.

But I have spent over a decade generating angles and headlines. I’ve learned that the easiest way to generate ideas is through questions and formulas.

4 Profitable Headline Formulas
Angle Generation System

With this article, I wanted to show how I’d approach a competitive industry such as protein bars.

One more note: don’t be scared if your product already exists. Apple didn’t create the first smartphone. Execution is more important.

Please rate this article – it helps me know what to write!

How to Better Understand Your Products to Improve Customer Value and ROI

How to Better Understand Your Products to Improve Customer Value and ROI

If you ask the average person what it means to create value with a product or service, most will probably say something to the effect of saving money or offering a substantial discount. They wouldn’t be wrong, but they wouldn’t be completely right either. It’s quite similar to the days of when an affiliate marketing conference is full of a bunch of ad networks and when you ask why they are the best, they will reply “We have the highest paying an best quality offers” — which got really old, really fast.

In the business world, we define value as the degree to which a product or service enriches life, fulfills a need, or solves a problem. Sales and marketing professionals long ago figured out that people don’t buy just to possess an end item or service, but to fix or improve something in their own lives or business. While this is especially true for B2C, it also holds for B2B as well.

Many businesses fail to close deals with other businesses because they don’t understand what their prospect is looking for (the Buyer Concept), and even worse, where they can create value for that business. We often default to saving cost and trying to underbid our competitors, but that’s a tactic that has become less and less effective as the years have gone by.

If we want to get the most out of our sales leads, and increase both our conversion ratios, ROI, and profit margins, we need to start understanding where we create value, and who our ideal customers are. This can often be done if you can imagine yourself as the actual customer of the product, but there are many other ways to improve on this as well.

Know Your Business

When someone asks you, “What does your business do?” you probably have a good answer already prepared. “We produce high quality automotive parts.” Good for you. But if instead you were asked, “How does your business create value?” what would you say?

Before we can hope to create a strong customer base, we need to understand what it is we really offer with our products and services. Cost is definitely an element that we can influence, and it plays a factor in many deals, with the majority of businesses, but it’s not the end-all, be-all that many perceive it to be.

This is often best accomplished by those individuals and brands that actually have a passion for what they do.

Value can also be quantified in saving time, avoiding hassle, increasing capability, ease of use, or access to new resources. Emotional factors such as reducing anxiety, fulfilling a dream, or making a new connection are also viable elements of value that you can introduce.

Regardless of what your product or service is, understanding where your business introduces value is the first crucial step to making the most out of your marketing and sales efforts.

Know Your Customers

Once you’ve established where you can introduce value, your next challenge is to identify what group or groups of people will readily buy from you, and more importantly, be a good fit for your business. Finding your ideal customer is a challenge that every business inevitably faces, but if you don’t, you’ll flounder to create a customer base that will sustain you, or allow you to grow.

The easiest way to understand those demographics that will make up your ideal customer is to create a Buyer Persona for each one. These are hypothetical, broad snapshots of the typical life, values and buying habits of the people you want to sell to. Buyer Personas are critical whether your focus is B2B or B2C.

The following decision and profiling examples are crucial when trying to figure out who your ideal customers are.

  • Pool your personas into a few target groups.
  • Get to know those personas.
  • Create profiles for each persona.
  • Develop content and messaging for each persona.

For example: if you make high quality automotive parts, you might create a Buyer Persona called Steve the Service Manager. Steve works in the Chevy dealership in his hometown, and his job is to make sure the service department runs smoothly. He values saving money, reducing time spent on each vehicle repair, and using high quality auto parts with a service life of at least five years, backed up by at least a two-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Your business makes high quality auto parts with three-year warranty; your pieces can be easily installed in most Chevy vehicles very quickly; you offer discounts on bulk orders. You just made Steve’s day.

It’s critical to know who will buy from you so that you also understand who won’t buy from you. You need to know who may be willing to buy but you can’t really help, so that you can avoid them. It’s not an effort to be more elite or high end (although you can certainly market that way, if that’s what you want your business to be). It’s about avoiding wasted time, money, effort, and buyer remorse.

Get the Leads; Close the Deal

Once you’ve established both where you bring value, and the customers who are looking for those same elements, you’ll have a much easier time prospecting and generating leads. Your next step is to ensure that your sales and marketing teams understand the elements you’re strong in, and where you’re lacking. To help your sales and marketing teams even further, you can even outsource your lead generating activities, saving you time and money, and allowing your teams to maximize their money-making efforts.

To summarize:

Understand yourself, understand your customer (or those you want to be your customers), and then cater your marketing efforts to those strengths. No matter the business market, the product, or the services provided… this is the business marketing strategy that continually works time and time again.

To use a cooking analogy – without a clear picture of what you bring to the table, and who wants to join you, you’re essentially opening a cookbook to a random page, preparing a meal, and praying that someone will eat it.

No it’s time to apply these same working methods and ideologies to your own business and marketing efforts.