Pinterest appears to be taking cues from Instagram with this latest update, adding a new, single Pin stream within the 'Following' tab to make it easier to focus on each item.
As explained by Pinterest:
"Earlier this year we launched a chronological following tab entirely dedicated to the people and boards you’re following. In continuing to respond to Pinner feedback, today we’re launching an immersive single Pin format for easy scanning from idea to idea. And, now just one tap on a Pin in the following tab will take you to directly to the website for more information from the creators, driving traffic to influencers, publishers and brands."
For comparison, here's what the following tab looked like at launch (back in March), and now, with the new single Pin format:
Pinterest says that the option:
"...gives Pinners control, as a platform where you can truly toggle between experiences - whether you want chronological or not, algorithmic recommendations or not, or a mix."
So, if you want the latest Pins from boards and profiles you follow, you check the 'Following' tab. The main tab will remain unchanged, and will continue to include a mix of Pins from profiles you follow, along with recommendations based on activity.
There are various interesting implications here.
First, the simple fact that Pinterest is effectively testing an Instagram-like presentation format is a relevant note, and you can bet that if they see increased engagement with the Following tab as a result, you'll see the same coming to the main feed too, at some stage.
Second, the one-tap option, which will take you through to the source website - that makes sense, as in the previous feed you would tap to focus on a single Pin within the stream, then tap again to go to the site. Now, with all the focus on each individual Pin, there's no need for that middle process - but it could have a significant effect on Pinterest referral traffic, particularly if users warm to the new style.
And they probably will - the individual focus makes it a little easier to take in each Pin, especially on mobile, and the similarity to Instagram will no doubt have habitual benefits for users. It makes a lot of sense, and I wouldn't be surprised if Pinterest rolled this out as its main presentation format in the near future.
Eventually, all social platforms start to look the same, right? Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and now Pinterest, they're all merging, all converging into similar styles. Is that good for innovation? I guess they're learning from each other what works, and that, in itself, is innovation in practice. But it is a little disappointing to see everything evolving into similar formats.
Soon, it might get even harder to delineate which platform is which, and while that might make it easier for users, and marketers in many respects, it may also make it harder for the platforms to boost their individual value in a significant way.
The new option is being rolled out to users now