By Anthony Vargas
Pinterest isn’t putting a pin in its ecommerce ambitions anytime soon.
The social media platform announced the rollout of additional ecommerce-focused offerings at its second-annual Pinterest Presents advertiser summit on Thursday, including a tool to identify trends, ads to monetize idea pins and an API that allows partners to tap into Pinterest’s first-party data.
In 2021, Pinterest saw a 52% increase in revenue to roughly $2 billion, and the company is looking to its ecommerce business as a source of continued growth this year, CRO Bill Watkins told AdExchanger.
The plan is to develop Pinterest into “a personalized shopping destination with more ways for brands to tap into trends and creators and develop meaningful connections with our high-intent users,” Watkins said.
That might sound like a sales pitch, but it’s how Pinterest frames its differentiation from other platforms doing the ecommerce thing, like Instagram.
“Our investments are focused on making shopping as inspirational as possible, like flipping through the pages of your favorite catalog or walking through the aisles of a store that feels handpicked for you,” Watkins said.
First-party data is key to enable that level of personalization. Pinterest is continuing to develop its in-house tech stack with a focus on automation and improving its reporting capabilities so that its advertiser partners can get more out of Pinterest’s user data.
The purpose of Pinterest’s latest shopping-related products is to provide retailers with a better sense of how consumers are going from research to intent to purchase, Watkins said.
Checkout, which is now in beta with select US Shopify merchants, allows shoppers to purchase products on Pinterest’s platform without being redirected to a separate checkout experience.
The Pinterest API, meanwhile, will allow developers, retailers and advertisers to integrate with Pinterest’s first-party data set to help with targeting, Watkins said.
The rollout of the Checkout product suggests Pinterest may eventually collect a percentage of sales completed on its platform, while the API seems more suited to a SaaS model. But when asked about Pinterest’s interest in expanding into these new revenue streams, Watkins said, “All I can share is that our sole revenue stream today is advertising.”
Moving on, the Trends tool, already available in the US, Canada and the UK, will identify hot topics on the Pinterest platform before they trend so creators and advertisers can tailor their content to what will likely drive engagement among the user base.
And Idea Ads, which is also in beta, monetizes Idea Pins, one of Pinterest’s top drivers of engagement. Creators can tag products promoted by their advertiser partners in their Idea Pins.
All of the newly announced products could be particularly helpful for Pinterest’s small- and medium-sized retail partners to grow their businesses, Watkins said. Like many other platforms that rely on ecommerce, Pinterest has identified small and midsize retailers as its most promising source for continued ecommerce-focused growth.
The new products are also meant to distinguish Pinterest as a destination for “shopping” rather than “buying,” which Watkins says is a key differentiator between Pinterest and other ecommerce-focused social media platforms.
Watkins contrasted Pinterest’s approach with what he called the “myopic online buying experience” focused on “searching for a singular product.”
(Ahem, talk about Instagram without saying “Instagram.”)
Rather than “impulse buying,” which is what happens on other social media platforms with ecommerce businesses, Pinterest is going for what Watkins called “intentional buying.”
“We found that shoppers actually spend 50% more when they take a week to make a decision,” he said. “And, in general, Pinners spend 2x more than people on other platforms and have 85% bigger baskets at checkout.”
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