Pinterest Adding Visually-Matched Ad Content to Search Results, Expanding Opportunities
While Facebook continues to evolve social more generally, and Snapchat captures attention with its innovative visual tools, I do enjoy seeing how Pinterest is blazing its own path and developing unique products on their own accord.
Once not much more than a digital pin board application, Pinterest has evolved significantly in recent times - you might not necessarily be as aware of Pinterest's development as you are of the other big platforms, but the changes are significant, and bear relevance for a great many brands looking to best utilize social and generate best returns.
Pinterest's latest trick comes in the form of their new focus on image recognition, lead by the development of their image-based search option Pinterest Lens. In developing the basis for Pinterest Lens - which enables users to conduct a Pinterest search using only their camera - Pinterest has also built the backbone for a new range of image-based products, including new image-recognition ads, which Pinterest is rolling out from today.
As per Pinterest:
"Just like music services analyze the notes, tempo and genre of songs to understand your tastes, our visual discovery technology identifies characteristics within an image-like colors, shapes and textures. We're able to understand the different elements of an image that make it appealing to Pinners, even when that can't be communicated with words. Understanding what people like to see helps us connect them to the ideas they love most, so Pinners can find the products they want, in the most personalized and relevant way to date."
To utilize their image match capabilities, Pinterest will add new image-based Promoted Pin content matches into Instant Ideas (which appear after tapping the white circle icon on a Pin) and Related Pins listings, giving brands more ways to reach relevant audiences by matching the style of the content they're looking for, not just the keywords alone.
"When something catches a Pinner's eye in their home feed, they can discover related ideas and Promoted Pins just by tapping the Instant Ideas O. And if they're looking at a Pin closeup, they can scroll down to discover related ideas and Promoted Pins inspired by the Pin they're looking at. These new placement opportunities give businesses like yours added visibility, and visual discovery makes your Pins feel more relevant. And Pinners? They see exactly the products they're looking for."
The next level of this will see visually similar matches added to Lens and 'Shop the Look' results, helping give people another way to find relevant products - and businesses another way to reach active shoppers.
Really, when both of these options were announced, the advertising potential was obvious - but it'll be interesting to see how, exactly, Pinterest's system provides relevant search matches based on each image, which will then help guide businesses on how to utilize this to advantage.
And there is clear opportunity there - Pinterest says that in addition to the two billion keyword-based searches conducted on the platform each month, there are also more than 250 million visual searches undertaken, a number that'll no doubt grow as Pinterest expands the availability of Lens and more people become aware of the option (Pinterest recently noted that Lens use tripled between April and May alone).
The change also means that the quality and focus of your Pin images will be more important than ever. If you want your content to show up as a relevant visual search match, you'll need to ensure that the presentation does, in fact, match the related Pins you want to show up alongside. This may also open up new opportunities for enhanced audience understanding of related ideas - maybe brands will see more response to content based on color, style, maybe there'll be entirely new ways to reach prospective buyers which you hadn't even previously considered.
It could even change Pinner behavior - if the option proves valuable, Pinners might start conducting more searches based on broad terms or matches. For example, if you see a sunset with amazing colours, you could Lens it and find related product matches based on those tones. That could be a whole new way to find products, not based on the product itself, but simply by color or style.
It's interesting to consider the possibilities - if you're a B2C brand and you've not considered Pinterest, innovations like this underline that it may just be worth your time. Sure, Pinterest only has 175 million monthly active users, putting it behind Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But those users are there for a reason, Pinners have a higher propensity to use the platform to find products, and become customers as a result.
No platform is for everyone, you absolutely should just jump onto a social network without first understanding its potential for your business. But Pinterest is most definitely worth a look, and as the platform continues to evolve, it could become an even bigger consideration in future.
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