TikTok Enhances Search Experience by Introducing Image Lookup Feature in TikTok Shop

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TikTok is ramping up its search capabilities with a new feature quietly introduced to users. This latest addition allows TikTok users to search for TikTok Shop listings by using photos as references, enhancing the platform’s shopping experience.

The discovery of this feature was made by Jonah Manzano, a social media analyst known for exploring experimental features within various apps. Manzano shared his findings on X, showcasing a pop-up tab that prompts users to “find similar objects with image search.”

This new image search function opens up numerous possibilities for users. Many are expected to utilize it by snapping photos of specific products to explore if those items, or similar alternatives at more affordable prices, are available for purchase on TikTok Shop. While the ecommerce hub previously had its own search bar, it required users to rely solely on text descriptions, making the process less intuitive.

Similar image search capabilities are already offered by leading search engines like Google Lens, highlighting TikTok’s move to align with established search functionalities.

According to TechCrunch, access to the TikTok Shop image search is currently limited to users in the United States and Southeast Asia, where TikTok has a significant ecommerce presence. Users in these regions with the latest version of the TikTok app will notice a camera icon on the right side of the TikTok Shop search bar, enabling them to access the new image search feature.

Over the past couple of years, industry giants such as Google have recognized TikTok’s potential as a search engine. In response, the ByteDance-owned app has made strategic updates, such as allowing for more searchable keywords in video descriptions. However, despite these efforts, a 2023 report from CivicScience suggested that TikTok’s younger user base may have cooled on the app’s search capabilities.

Nevertheless, TikTok continues to invest in search functionalities, driven by various factors. Search ads, introduced last year, offer a lucrative revenue stream for brands. Additionally, TikTok Search Insights provide valuable data on the most-searched topics within the app, benefiting creators seeking to optimize their content.


For TikTok, enhancing search capabilities not only enriches user experience but also generates valuable data for targeted advertising and creator support. With expanded support for search within TikTok Shop, over 500,000 U.S. sellers stand to potentially benefit from increased visibility and sales opportunities.

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