- Pinterest, the image-collecting network with 175 million users, is placing greater emphasis on its search functions by placing search and Lens features directly on its mobile home feed, according to a blog post by the company.
- Mobile text searches have increased 40% from a year earlier while visual searches are up nearly 60%, per the post. Ninety-seven percent of searches are unbranded, while 72% of people who pin items on the service say Pinterest has helped them find new brands and services, motivating the company to tweak the platform to fit users' mobile search behaviors.
- Because 85% of searches now happen on mobile devices, advertisers can connect with more people interested in their products and services, Pinterest said in the post, as many people use the platform to plan for events and holidays. The company found that the number of people who started looking for Christmas ideas nearly doubled in April from a year earlier.
Pinterest may be undergoing an identity crisis as the company works to monetize its service to become a successful ad platform like Google and Facebook, while avoiding the financial fate of Twitter and Snapchat, which have struggled to grow and make themselves more appealing to advertisers. By emphasizing its search functionality and Lens feature, which lets users take a photo of an object with a smartphone camera and see related items, Pinterest can show off its role in helping people discover and identify products to purchase. The company is working to develop the Lens technology for more devices than the iPhone, such as its current integration with the Samsung Galaxy S8's camera, Business Insider reported.
Among the social networks that have appeared in the past 10 to 15 years, Pinterest is most associated with letting users express their aspirations with image collections of vacation destinations, home decorations, gifts, crafts, recipes and fashion ideas, to name a handful of common pins. Because the platform is closely associated with the discovery of new products and services, it appears to be a strong choice for some brands that want to reach customers based on their individual interests.
The upgrades to its mobile app and new emphasis on Lens, in particular, could position the platform as a more competitive player against image-based social channels like Instagram, helping retail brands lessen friction on the consumer path to purchase by tying product information and deep links into its camera technology. By following users from product discovery to saving and purchase, Pinterest may have more control over the customer experience than other social platforms.
To cultivate stronger trust with advertisers, Pinterest last month added six partners to provide better metrics to marketers that advertise on its platform: Acxiom, Analytic Partners, IRI, Neustar MarketShare, Nielsen Catalina Solutions and Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings, according to a blog post by the company.