The online look book has a new look: Pinterest redesigned itself to make discovery easier.
Lead product designer Jason Wilson outlined the new features in a blog post on Monday. Two new features, "pins from the same source" and "people who pinned this also pinned" are designed to help people find new boards and users - and to help brands find them.
Robert J. Moore, CEO of RJMetrics, a company that makes data analytics software, thinks making it easier to find content will help businesses get found. He says, "These changes are designed to increase engagement by facilitating easier content discovery. If users can discover content that is more relevant and interesting to them, things like pins, shares, traffic, and referrals to third-party sites will all increase naturally."
The news follows closely the launch earlier this week of Pinterest Web Analytics that lets brands see what people are pinning from their sites.
On Wednesday, Western homebuilder Taylor Morrison Homes will unveil a Houston model home whose décor was inspired by Pinterest boards.
Teresa Shannon, a marketing manager and Internet home consultant with Taylor Morrison, thinks the recommendation features will help more people find her company's boards - and its projects. Although the company has not started using Pinterest Analytics, she notes that Facebook is effective at revealing new companies to its users.
Shannon says, "If one of my friends has liked another page or commented on a sponsor page, it shows up in my feed, so it's opened my eyes to new businesses - and I go check them out. I have a feeling the same thing will happen when this rolls out on Pinterest as well; it will give us more exposure."
Sisie Nong, social media coordinator for marketing agency Engauge, says that the redesign reinforces the importance of visual content marketing. "Brands today are dedicated to driving conversations and humanizing their voices through visual storytelling," Nong says. "This also presents a new opportunity for B2B brands to extend reach to everyday customers beyond business-minded audience."
Zappos' PinPointing service won't be affected - and could improve as a result of some of the changes, according to Alice Han, senior designer and PinPointing product lead at Zappos Labs. PinPointing recommends products on its site related to those pinned by you or your network. PinPointing searches pin descriptions to find keywords to power its recommendations; while the new Pinterest description limit is 40 characters shorter, she doesn't think that will compromise the quality of recommendations. If the shorter length makes pinners think more about what they write, it could in fact make recommendations better, she says.
Han adds, "Discovery tools can also provide a shortcut through what can feel like an endless library of products. I believe people will continue to be drawn to these tools as long as they are valuable, interesting, and relevant."
There is a danger that Pinterest could lose its visual focus and get cluttered, says Sarah Starr, another marketing manager for Taylor Morrison. She says, "As long as the pictures stay the main thing, that's what it's all about. People prefer pictures, not a lot of copy or text."
Not every user was thrilled. While recommendations can increase sharing, Twitter user @nickie72 noticed that the simple "tweet pin" button had disappeared. She's switched back to the old look for now.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014