What’s new at Pinterest?

Buyable pins, visual shopping and new targeting tools at Pinterest

By Alicja Gados

Pinterest is one of the most successful social media products that capitalize on users love and affinity for images. It’s the top ranked app for collecting ideas.  People also use it to plan trips, for recipes, save projects and shop.

If you use Pinterest for your business, you may have already heard about buyable Pins. This capability was introduced last June (of 2015) and allows people to buy directly from Pinterest. Because of how successful the platform has been in generating sales, they are working on a few more upgrades that will make it even easier, and more seamless for users to buy. 

Just a few days ago, Pinterest added three new targeting options. These options are a result of combining Pinterests own business data with the data that marketers and businesses collect from their audience.  The new targeting options include customer list retargeting, website visitor retargeting and lookalike retargeting.  

How pins reach your audience. Image from Business.Pinterest.com

How pins reach your audience. Image from Business.Pinterest.com

Using the Pinterest manager for your business, use these three tools to reach your audience in these three ways:

·      Customer list targeting: this feature allows you to target existing customers using emails or mobile IDs

·      Visitor retargeting: allows you to reach people who have visited your website

·      Lookalike retargeting: allows you to reach a larger audience, using metrics to identify a group of people who look and act similar to your actual audience

(Source: Business.Pinterest.com)

Pinterest states impressive results of this targeting, including increased click through rates of up to three times. 

Pinterest facts

The site already has 100 million monthly active users, and made $100 milllion in reveue in 2015.  The site launched in 2010 and has 700 employees with an office in San Francisco, and five other international offices. Initially popular in North America, now more than half of their users are outside of the US. 

How is Pinterest different?

Pinterest is used primarily for ideas, not news or pictures of friends or family.  Primarily a shopping platform, it works much differently than Facebook or other social media platforms.  According to Mary Meeker at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Pinterest is already well ahead of not only Facebook, but also Twitter and Instagram in terms of percentage of users that use the tool to find or shop for products. Pinterest is the highest at 55% and Facebook, which is currently second place as a shopping platform for its users after Pinterest, is well behind them at only 12% of total users (source: Forbes.com).

What are buyable pins?

People are very visual and love images, and Pinterest leverages this knowledge with getting a customer to purchase the product while they experience the impulse to buy. Buyable pins allow people to buy products without ever leaving Pinterest, skipping a step or several steps and leading to a higher likelihood of purchase.  In fact, the latest stats show that 55% of people use Pinterest for shopping (source: Business Insider). This would mark Pinterest as a platform of intent, with users are most likely to purchase compared to any other social media platform.

How to spot a buyable pin

When you spot a pin with a blue price, this means you can buy straight through the Pin.  This allows businesses to close a sale right away when a user has an impulse to buy. 

Buyable pins. Image from Business.Pinterest.com

Buyable pins. Image from Business.Pinterest.com

Finding things to buy on Pinterest has become a whole lot easier.  Recently, Pinterest announced visual search technology that lets you shop for products discovered while offline.  Using your camera, you can take a photo of something, and Pinterest will show you related recommendations based on style.  Tested by Mashable, the feature was found to be easy to use, smooth and offline to online detection took under four seconds (Source: Mashable.com).

New Visual shopping feature

They have also announced a technology that automatically detects products within a pin. For example, if you have a pin of a layout of a living room and love the lamp on the photo, you isolate the lamp you can reveal more information about it, including where to buy.  This automatic object detection feature will be available on iOS and will make it simpler to discover individual objects in a single image.  This capability should make visual search a more seamless experience. 

The possibilities of this are pretty incredible when you think about it.  Have you ever looked at an outfit of someone walking along on the street or admired home accessories at a friends home, and wondered where you could get those items for yourself?  Now Pinterest can help you find what you’re looking for. 

Pinterest will also add a shopping bag that follows the user from page to page, usable both on mobile and desktop, and more viewing tools including the ability of viewing products from different angles. 

It’s all a part of merging Pinterest and online shopping into a seamless experience.  The buyable pins program started with just 200 available products, and now there are over 20,000 retailers alone just using the program since it began. 

The ‘Save’ button replaces the ‘Pin It’ button

On June 2 of this year, Pinterest aimed to improve usability by rolling out the Save button, replacing the ‘Pin it’ button.  This improvement is part of the theme to improve usability and improve the user experience, and focus on international expansion. 

The board and pin concept is not relevant in many international markets. Digital items, anything from something you admire or something you want to experience or purchase, be it places you want to visit, recipes you want to try, or do it yourself projects, can be saved or pinned onto your board for future reference.  Initially, Pinterest called this the ‘pin it’ button or ‘pin’ button.  However, Pinterest has opted to change it to Save instead of Pin because it communicates the action more clearly. 

In North America, using an pin board is very common in offices, homes and well understood as a way of saving ideas for later.  Hence the initially idea for pin and board name on Pinterest. 

But in certain markets, for example in Japan, a board and pin metaphor is not really used, and not very understood among users. 

“People who are really engaged with Pinterest are more likely to associate saving with the value of Pinterest” says Pinterest’s head of research, Gabe Trionfi (Source: Forbes).   He mentions that people who really engage with Pinterest are more likely to associate saving with value in Pinterest.  And ‘pin it’ doesn’t always clearly communicate with all users why Pinterest is valuable.  The ‘save’ button will be more universally, and clearly understood by all users, and already, the company found there are 10 % more pins (or now, Saves) after changing the name of the button.  The company wants to signal to all users clearly the value of Pinterest, and this button is aimed to do just that across all markets.

And it’s important that Pinterest focus on international markets, and not just north America. Already more than half of Pinterests users are based outside of the US.


Sources and Further Reading

Forbes.com  http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2016/06/02/pinterest-renames-pin-it-button-as-save/#21d940085eb1

DigitalTrends.com  http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/pinterest-visual-shopping-feature/

Mashable.com  http://mashable.com/2016/06/28/pinterest-ecommerce-camera-detection/#I.Egs2sfqmqy

Pinterest.com https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/new-targeting-tools-make-pinterest-ads-even-more-effective

Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/mary-meeker-2016-state-of-the-web-presentation-2016-6

Pinterest.com https://business.pinterest.com/en/buyable-pins

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