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Will 2015 Unleash Pinterest’s True Potential?

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It has been an interesting couple of months for Social Media powerhouse Pinterest, which has made noteworthy strategic partnerships whilst launching exciting new features to make the platform bigger and better. Pinterest is reported to have grown its active user base by 111% in the last six months of 2014, and with brands lining up to test the Promoted Pins beta, it proves to be a platform worth paying attention to. The scrapbook-inspired site’s plans for the near future include the introduction of high potential features that are likely to give them a competitive edge. Two important developments for Pinterest in the last year include the introduction of Guided Search and their Marketing Developer Partners programme.

Guided Search- 2014 saw the launch of Guided Search, Pinterest’s feature for web & mobile. When a Pinterest user searches for a topic, Guided Search will help them sift through pins on the topic in a descriptive, visual manner. For example, a user who enters “plants” into Pinterest’s search box, will be shown guides related to various plant categories that they can choose from, such as “tall plants”, “low maintenance plants” or “indoor plants”. This added level of categorization makes searching for pins easier and more exciting. According to Pinterest, Guided Search encourages users to explore new ideas on the platform. You may not have set out to look specifically for “low maintenance plants” when you typed “plants” into the search box, but the appearance of a low maintenance plants category on your search results page may nevertheless inspire you to explore the category. Pinterest has also updated their search filters to make it easier for users to search for pins, pinners and boards on a given topic.

Marketing Developer Partners- Pinterest very recently launched a programme that allows API access to companies offering social media management platforms to brands. Ten partners, namely Ahalogy, Buffer, Curalate, Expion, Newscred, Percolate, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr and Tailwind, have been given access to Pinterest’s content publishing API. The move was to help businesses scale their organic social media efforts on Pinterest. Brands such as Kraft Foods, that have begun using social media management platforms to scale their marketing on Pinterest, are reported to have already experienced a higher volume of pins and engagement. Pinterest recently announced that they are also giving access to their ads API to select brands and technology partners. While details on the features haven’t yet been released, the concept is said to be the same, allowing paid advertisers to automate promoted pins in the new system.

Guided Search & Promoted Pins- A Heavenly Combination For Pinterest Advertisers?

Promoted Pins, still under beta, was Pinterest’s first major foray into advertising. Insights from Promoted Pin’s first beta found that brand advertisers achieved a 30% increase in earned media from their Promoted Pin campaigns. Promoted Pins work very much like Google’s search ad technology, where advertisers compete in auctions to buy keywords. Making Pinterest’s search engine more robust with Guided Search will positively impact advertisers using Promoted Pins, as it opens doors for developing insightful features and reporting tools. If advertisers were able to bid on specific categories, Guided Search could serve as a new channel for advertisers to drive in customers via their ads. Bidding on a category would make Guided Search advertising function in a model similar to placement targeting on the Google Display Network- except you wouldn’t be bidding on third party websites, but on Pinterest’s own categories instead. Of course, this may not be as simple as it sounds, but our contention is that with Pinterest, the advertising possibilities seem endless.

Google Search always prided itself in knowing exactly what users want to find, making its data and ad technology extremely desirable to advertisers. Today, Pinterest is close to attaining a similar level of desirability within its own platform. With the combination of keyword and Guided Search data, advertisers will be able to understand what users are searching for and the behavioural patterns they exhibit when discovering new categories. By implementing the right advertising features, Pinterest will be empowered to understand how intent and discovery work together to create an experience that is positive for both advertisers and users put together- and if that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.

About The Author:

Karishma Rajaratnam is the founder of Strattr, a Digital Marketing & Behavioural Science Consultancy based in Chennai, India. Follow The Strattr Blog for more Digital Marketing Insights from Strattr.

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