Incogna monetise pure image search

I must have missed the launch of this feature, but Incogna’s most recent blog post talks about how they’ve implemented visual advertising. The results vary, but overall they’ve implemented it well.

I’ve written about Incogna’s image search before, but there’s more to add; when using this tool, as a user you have no visibility into the depth or type of data available to you. Nor does the app currently give control over movement, other than using text search and query images.

Establishing context (or, lost in the supermarket)

Any fans of Steve Krug’s usability classic will recognise the metaphor here. If you’re in an aisle in a supermarket you can see both the length of the aisle and the content of the shelves (at least the ones near you). You also know your rough position in the store, and can see signs and the contents of shelves.

Using that input data you can navigate (with a few hiccups) anywhere in the store.

Incogna’s app currently allows you to compare visually, and to search using text, but the depth and type of results remains hidden. As such there’s no real way to effectively navigate within the data set.

I should be clear at this point that this isn’t a criticism of Incogna’s app. This is not a problem with an easy or obvious solution. What I’m suggesting is that there’s still scope for some killer navigation features in this area.

Making money

The monetisation feature on Incogna appears only when their system thinks it can produce a good match between your search and the sponsored products. This is a wise move, since irrelevant ads would ruin the user experience.

It seems like the results use mainly visual comparison data, possibly with some categorisation thrown in. It worked brilliantly with pictures of trucks, but curiously while I was browsing Canon cameras it presented sponsored ads for televisions (both are rectangular I suppose).

Having fun

The main issue standing in the way of Incogna’s revenue stream is that their app is not yet fun to use. As mentioned above there’s no sense of position or direction. You can’t learn anything about the images you find without clicking through to the source site, and you can’t properly refine your search…  you have to start again, which means that there’s no big advantage over Google, or any other text-based image search.

More another time.

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3 Responses to Incogna monetise pure image search

  1. Kris says:

    Hi Rich,

    I love the “lost in the supermarket” metaphor, it’s very true. The Incogna index does have a lot more structure to it than what’s presented, but our initial testing / feedback for navigating such complex data structures was not great. Very few grand-mothers could use it, in other words. Like you say, it’s a tough problem to solve…

    Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  2. Richard Marr says:

    Hi Kris

    Thanks for your post.

    I’m totally with you on the simplicity point. It’s easy for a user to say “I want X” and request a feature that’s detrimental to the understanding of users of other experience levels or backgrounds. Good for you for aiming for simplicity, removing features can be a tough business.

    I guess the trick is finding a good metaphor that will get users over the conceptual divide. I’ve got a couple of ideas in that area, I’ll post a link when I’ve got an Alpha up.

    Rich

  3. […] their visual shopping browser Shopachu. I’ve followed some of Incogna’s previous releases so I thought I’d share some thoughts on this one […]

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