Can You Capitalize On This New Pinterest Feature?

Chris CrumSearch

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For users, Pinterest is becoming a better and better place for shopping, and for businesses, that means it's becoming a better place to showcase products. One new feature gives users a chance to find even more products specifically catering to their interests.

Have you so far found Pinterest to be a meaningful component of your strategy? Let us know in the comments.

Pinterest announced the launch of a new visual search tool that enables users to zoom in on specific objects in a pin's image and get results for visually similar pins. The company says this is aimed at giving users a new way to discover ideas and products.

"Discovery on Pinterest is all about finding things you love, even if you don’t know at first what you’re looking for," a spokesperson tells WebProNews. "Visual search is search without the text query."

To use the tool, users can simply tap the search tool in the corner of a pin when they see something they want to take a closer look at. Then they can select the part of the pin that is of interest and Pinterest will display visually similar objects, colors, patterns, etc. Users can also filter results by topic.

"Visual search not only helps you discover new ideas and products you may not have known existed or knew how to describe, but it also helps you find similar products at different price points and where to buy products that otherwise would have been just static images in a bigger picture," the spokesperson says.

The features presents some interesting new search opportunities, and it helps to look at Pinterest as a search engine rather than a social network. For example, if a user is looking at an image of a room and they like the way a particular light fixture looks, they can select the area over that light fixture, and Pinterest will seek out other pins that feature similar light fixtures.

It's not difficult to see how this could lead to more light fixture sales given this technology in addition to other recently added capabilities including promoted pins and a buy button. Obviously this spans well past light fixtures and pretty much into any imagery that you might find on Pinterest.

If nothing else, the feature further highlights the need to optimize for Pinterest search, use great product images your own pins, and offer great content outside of Pinterest with images made easily pinnable. At the same time, this combination of features points to Pinterest being a better shopping destination at large, and businesses stand to gain a great deal from that.

It's interesting to see Pinterest continue focusing on new ways for users to search as it's positioning itself as more of a search service than a social media service, which is often thought of. This is especially true when it comes to recruiting advertisers.

Back in the summer, Pinterest added a handful of new features to make its regualr search tool smarter, including a new typeahead experience, more filters, autocorrect, trending searches, and displaying verified accounts in search results.

This new visual search feature actually appears to be the final version of the "Flashlight" search tool the company has been working on, which we also reported on in June. This was demoed about an hour and twenty-six minutes into the following video.

Pinterest gets into the technology behind the new tool here.

"Pinterest’s new visual search initiative indicates just how persuasive visual images can be for consumers," says Jordan Slabaugh, Vice President of Marketing at social intelligence firm Wayin. "In general, social is becoming more visual across all platforms. Earlier this year, for example, we saw how Facebook’s new algorithm change boosted more visual posts in a given user’s feed instead of text-heavy ones. Over the years, this transition to more visual media will only continue to evolve."

"More visual social posts spark more engagement overall, and brands can capitalize on this by incorporating a social display into their current campaigns," Slabaugh adds. "This can range from dynamic displays on branded websites to in-venue screens during live events and more. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have put user-generated content in the spotlight, and brands can use this content to enhance their marketing tactics. Overall, consumers are looking for brands that their peers recommend, and integrating social display is an easy way brands can tell their story authentically."

The feature is rolling out globally across the web and Pinterest's mobile apps.

Do you see Pinterest's combined efforts culminating into a major channel for ecommerce? Let us know what you think.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.