Transforming How Brands Optimize for Visual Discovery

In July 2022, Google shared some surprising new data:
40% of Gen Z shoppers (ages 10-25 and 25% of the U.S. population) now use TikTok and Instagram to discover new products and services, rather than type keywords into their search bar.

This change in search behavior highlights an important and fast-approaching trend in shifting consumer search habits, thanks to the heightened customer experience that comes with visual discovery.

This new search reality will have far-reaching effects on a brand’s ability to connect and engage with its customers, while also affecting a brand's bottom line as new ways of programming areas like paid media dollars may be required. Not sure where to begin? That’s where the Social Discovery Squad comes in.

Social Discovery Squad by Allison+Partners transforms the way your brand tackles visual discovery.


Consumers are now discovering products more from social apps and less from traditionally brand-owned channels. For brands seeking to engage with customers at every moment in their journey, this means optimizing social channels with this shift in search behavior in mind.

The Social Discovery Squad refocuses your brand channels by looking at areas like: 

  • Social reach 
  • Channel optimization
  • Social word-of-mouth referrals 

The Social Discovery Squad will also look at how Social Discovery might impact digital advertising priorities, such as shifting campaigns more toward paid influencer partnerships for higher visibility.


Social Discovery is not just a mainstay of Gen Z. From Millennials to Gen X and Boomers, visual search will quickly become a new normal.

But why?


All major social platforms – TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Google – are experimenting with various ways to create search experiences that are more immersive, raw and engaging than text-based searches.

For example, online business reviews and recommendations are becoming more effective when done with video. Videos on TikTok and Instagram can provide a full sense of a business far more than a simple text review.

To ensure brands are searchable on these platforms, the Social Discovery Squad prioritizes certain elements of social strategy:

  • High-quality visuals
  • Popularity signals (how much engagement content has)
  • Keyword optimization in areas like usernames, bios and hashtags 


Social Discovery presents greater opportunities for visual and emotive storytelling. Working with the Social Discovery Squad means creating more visual content like videos (a requirement for TikTok search), as well as interactive content like quizzes, live streams and even maps on platforms like Instagram. Google is even getting into the game by forging partnerships that allow it to index TikTok and Instagram videos in Google Search results.

We’ll also take into account how Google is experimenting with a more visual shopping experience on Search, that more heavily emphasizes imagery over text.


Check out the below flip boxes to learn more about preparing your brand for social discovery.
As Social Discovery grows in prominence, you will likely notice a drop in organic traffic for key search terms. Don’t panic. If you prioritize Social Discovery in your strategy, then any drop in traditional traffic will be made up for on your social platforms.

Depending on your target personas, SEM budgets may need to be reprogrammed to other channels to get the best results.

Social Discovery may necessitate strategic shifts in your approach. For example, if paid search was a previous priority, it may yield more return to shift dollars to other forms of advertising or increase use of influencers on social media.

Brands should be making content that’s not only sharable, but also designed to help influencers, employees and brand ambassadors share your brand story. 

TikTok happens fast. Leverage people in your organization on the channels where they’re strongest, allowing your brand to operate at the speed today’s customers expect. 

Social is becoming less about brand awareness and more focused on mid-to-lower funnel conversions. When preparing content plans, dedicate social content to these BOTF audiences so you can capture engagement on both ends.
The most direct and measurable way to increase reach on social is through on-platform advertising and boosting. This is an easy way to increase ROI. Just make sure to boost the right content on the right channels to the right people.
Many social users, especially Gen Z consumers, are more likely to trust influencer content than brand content when doing research online. 
Empowering your brand’s most passionate fans and employees will become an even more impactful communications and customer service asset. Give them the content they need to share across their social channels to expand your reach and increase your credibility with your audience.


Don’t be caught off guard! Meeting the Social Discovery moment requires a reframing of the ways your brand interacts with customers and greater integration across product, marketing and customer service.

A+P’s Social Discovery Squad empowers your brand to make the most out of this new

marketing reality.

Made up of fully integrated, global teams with subject matter experts in every facet of Social Discovery, the Social Discovery Squad flexes to meet your current needs.


Full Audits and Analysis

The Social Discovery Squad reviews existing social, paid and content strategies to:

•  Find new areas of opportunity
•  Recommend reallocations of budget
•  Review and recommend new KPIs

We’ll also look closely at where you are showing up on these important channels so you can see the conversations and topics that people are having around your brand, and what your key competitors are doing. 

We Work on All Platforms (and Google)

Our team is not dedicated to one or two social platforms. We look at the full search market to ensure you are optimized for the most visibility and engagement across all relevant channels. From TikTok to Google Shopping, we’ll help you discover the best strategies you need to find and sustain the right audience.
Influencer Marketing at Its Best

We believe that influencer marketing will be one of the keys to success when it comes to Social Discovery. That’s why the Social Discovery Squad works to find the best ways for influencers to have the most impact on your brand. We’ll review existing influencer programs and their performance, while also identifying key influencer opportunities.
Social Listening

Our social listening and visual identification tools ensure you’re aware of all the conservations consumers are having online. We can leverage AI, deep learning and natural language processing of 100 languages before being applied to sentiment analysis. Our analysts then ensure we’re zooming in and out on relevant conversations, timely topics and identifying the most influential voices.
Storytelling Studio

Our in-house Storytelling Studio makes content creation quick and easy. They can even guide brand ambassadors to make content on your behalf. This group includes Squad members who are social natives who love the platforms they work in, and who are trained to align that to your brand values.

Staying True to Your Brand

The Social Discovery Squad is full of storytellers, ex-journalists, creators and digital natives who understand the importance of brand, voice and narratives to authentically connect with audiences.


With Social Discovery, our likes, interests and locations will have a much greater impact on the content we are served. Content from individuals will be prioritized over brands, and it’s likely the consumer will be much more informed before encountering your side of the story. 

Start your Social Discovery journey now by contacting us at for more information on how you can leverage the Social Discovery Squad to optimize social and visual discovery to your advantage.