- Pinterest today started selling ads in the "shop" tab in search, its visual search tool Pinterest Lens and in shoppable Pins, which are photos linked to an e-commerce site, according to a company blog post.
- Pinterest also rolled out shopping in the U.K., letting users in the country buy products in "home" or "fashion" Pins, search results, Pinterest Lens and in shoppable Pins from their digital boards. U.K. users also can find inspiration from "Shopping spotlights," which consist of shoppable content selected by experts such as Stylist Magazine and The Anna Edit.
- With the new features, Pinterest seeks to help marketers prepare for the holiday shopping season. The social media company also added "conversion insights" to help its verified merchants and Shopify retailers in the U.S. see the effect of their paid and organic Pinterest content on website visits and checkouts.
Pinterest is expanding its ad offering, adding shopping features in the U.K. and rolling out new conversion measurement tools as mobile marketers prepare for a holiday shopping season that likely will rely on e-commerce because of the coronavirus pandemic. With homebound consumers seeking gift ideas, Pinterest aims to help marketers reach its audience with an expanded ad inventory, provide more opportunities to sell products directly and measure the results to make adjustments on their campaigns.
The holiday shopping season is expected to start earlier this year because of the health crisis. About three quarters (74%) of retailers expect consumers to spread out their holiday shopping over several months, and 48% expect shoppers will start shopping in October, the National Retail Federation found in a survey. The study doesn't provide an explanation for the shift, though it's likely that many consumers want to get an early start on their shopping as they seek to avoid crowding into stores. Retailers like Walmart are responding by offering the same Black Friday deals on their websites as in stores, making e-commerce more important. Pinterest aims to help brands capture some of those sales with its expanded advertising and shopping features.
Pinterest has added more shopping-related features in the past few years to help convert its passive users into active customers. Pinterest this year started letting people shop for products they find with its Lens visual search tool that uses image-recognition technology to identify objects with a smartphone camera. The company in April unveiled the "shop" tab to help people find in-stock products from text searches. In February, Pinterest introduced the verified merchant program to help consumers find trustworthy brands that sell products directly. The following month, the social platform introduced its "today" tab to highlight trending posts and curated topics to inspire users.
For Pinterest, e-commerce is another opportunity to monetize its user base, which expanded 39% in Q2 from a year earlier to 416 million. However, the pullback in ad spending during the pandemic limited revenue growth at 4% to $272 million, including a 2% drop in the U.S., per a quarterly report. The digital ad market is recovering amid the shift to e-commerce, with U.S. retailers forecast to increase their ad spending by 3.1% to $28.2 billion this year, per researcher eMarketer. That growth is an opportunity for Pinterest to increase sales with its expanded ad inventory.