Pinterest Debuts Ads in Visual Search, Conversion Tools, U.K. Shopping

According to Pinterest, a “Great Reboot” is under way this year, as retailers race to revamp their businesses to emphasize digital. But for the platform, it’s more than a reset, it’s an opportunity to expand its advertising and extend its shopping powers. And the company is taking it.

On Tuesday, the social bookmarking network announced that it’s launching ads “alongside visual search results, as well as more places to shop,” according to its blog post.

The ads will come to three of its most visited and visible places to shop — the shop tab in search, shopping on pins and the Pinterest Lens, a visual search tool that lets people find similar results to what they shoot with the Pinterest camera and in pins.

The features will arrive in U.S., as well as the U.K., where Pinterest is also expanding features to introduce organic shopping. Users there will be able to shop within a home or fashion Pin, ideas from their Pinterest boards and things they see in the real world, thanks to their Lens camera and visual search technology. They’ll also have access to Shopping Spotlights, a search tab feature that offers shoppable recommendations curated with the help of publishers and creators.

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Businesses can see their best-performing pins, convert organic pins into advertisements and evaluate conversions, so they can more easily see what it takes to prompt users to go from mere browsing to adding to cart or buying.

Pinterest’s conversion insights Courtesy image

If there was ever any doubt that shopping matters to the company, its second-quarter earnings report settled it. According to Pinterest, users who visited places to shop on the network jumped more than 50 percent in the first half of the year. Naturally it wants to bolster these areas.

The timing is right, too. The updates arrive as retailers are polishing off plans for the upcoming holiday season.

“Instead of walking down New York’s Fifth Avenue to see the holiday windows, holiday inspiration will likely be from the comfort of our own phones,” it wrote. “In a year when more people than ever will be shopping online for the holiday, Pinterest can replicate that experience for consumers and retailers through curated collections and visual discovery.

“We’re building a place to shop online — not just a place to buy.”

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