Pinterest’s New Visual Search Feature Takes Over the Web

April 4, 2017

Colleen Vaughan

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Pinterest, mainly known for discovery, has recently become a successful social commerce platform, giving consumers a seamless experience from discovery to purchase. In fact, 93% of active pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases and 87% said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest (Millard Brown Digital). Features like its buyable pins and its shopping cart give Pinterest a leg up in commerce compared to its fellow social networks. And now Pinterest is taking over the web, allowing Google Chrome users to leverage its visual search on any website.

How it works

Users have to install Pinterest’s existing browser extension in Google Chrome. Once added, users hover over a website image and click the magnifying glass icon, then zoom in on the exact product or portion of the image they want to search. The extension will return related images on Pinterest directly on the same screen.

What are the Pro’s and Con’s for brands?

Pro: Extends reach of Pins

For brands that already focus on Pinterest, the visual search tool extends the reach of pins to the world wide web. Users no longer have to be on the platform to discover pins. Instead they can use this Chrome extension wherever they are. The beauty is that it drives users back to Pinterest without even being on the platform.

Pro: Optimize product photos for search

Just like SEO is a thing, VSEO (Visual Search Engine Optimization) will become a thing. How can we optimize our photos for visual search? Influencers and brands must consider this when featuring product and lifestyle photos. Be sure to have high-quality images along with relevant details in the description.

Con: Slow adoption for current and new Pinterest users

Although Pinterest has 150 million active monthly users, a potential disadvantage for this new feature is slow adoption of new users. The extension also requires a change in consumer search behavior. With some education and time, we think this will catch on as the feature only presents a more convenient and seamless experience for shoppers.

Con: Requires competitive pricing

This feature creates a new form of shopping for users, and puts pressure on brands to stay competitively priced. Nearly 80% of the entire US population has made an online purchase, and 71% say they shop online to get a better deal. Pinterest’s extension upgrade will force retailers and brands to stay as competitive with pricing as possible.

Pinterest is inherently a search engine. While Facebook and Instagram are doubling down on creating a more relevant content experience for users, Pinterest is investing in optimizing the search experience and creating a seamless experience for social commerce.

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