Digital Marketing Redux   //   March 27, 2023

At Shoptalk, Pinterest pitches itself as a friendly social ad platform

Pinterest is attempting to make social shopping more fun for shoppers and brands.

At Shoptalk this week held in Las Vegas, Pinterest CEO Bill Ready talked about some of the new shopping capabilities it added to its new Shuffles app and how it fine-tuned its AI to recommend content that would make users feel good. It was all part of a push to convince brands and retailers to advertise — and sell products — on its platforms, as other apps like TikTok come under fire. 

“I don’t think anybody’s set out for social media to be the new Big Tobacco,” Ready said. “We want to build a business model for social media that is centered on positivity on helping people build a life they love.”

With social media platforms getting backlash from the psychological impact it has on people, Pinterest is positioning itself as a platform that is focused on positivity. And he said that this naturally leads to product sales — that is, of course, if companies advertise and sell products on Pinterst. Ready said that brands that are engaging with shoppers on Pinterest are seeing positive results. Retailers that have brought their catalogs on Pinterest have seen a 90% increase in people saving their products and an over 30% lift in attributed conversions.

“We’re not a retailer [and] we’re not a marketplace, which means we’re not competing with retailers,” he said. “We are entirely in it to go help retailers succeed.”

Pinterest boasts 450 million global monthly users, which can be attractive for brands looking to catch shoppers’ attention. In 2022, the company’s revenue grew 9% year-over-year revenue to $2.8 billion.

Ready said that the more the company is able to drive conversions, the more that lets marketers know that they can get a better return of investment on the platform. On Pinterest, he said that marketers are able to not just deliver the last click but also see the full funnel. 

In a clear swipe at social media competitors like Facebook and TikTok, Ready said that on Pinterest people come to the platform with the intention of buying the product that they save. On other platforms, he said that consumers go there to be entertained rather than shop and it can be hard for brands to switch shoppers’ mindset on those social media channels.

“Most of social media is lean back entertainment. And so, you’re there to look at pictures of your friends or get the news or watch dance videos,” Ready said. “What are you not there to do? Shop. With Pinterest, more than half of the users are here to shop.”

On Pinterest, 97% of the top searches are unbranded, which could give brands the opportunity to be discovered as consumers look for inspiration on the app.

Indeed, the company is leaning into the discovery aspect happening on the app.

Pinterest recently added new functionalities to its Shuffles app. People can now tap into individual cutouts of collages and view details like the brand and the price. The company launched Shuffles back in November as a collage-making app. Shuffles gained popularity among the Gen Z demographic when they used it as a tool to make aesthetic collages.  

“The first 20-plus years of e-commerce was really about solving for seamless buying,” he said. “The next 20 years of e-commerce, I think it’s going to be much more about solving for the joyful part shopping, the inspiration, the discovery.”