hen Pinterest first launched in 2010, it was widely regarded as just a platform for blogger moms looking for recipes, and young women planning their future dream weddings. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, Pinterest has seen a meteoric rise in users across all categories as people learned how to bake bread or abate hours of boredom with DIY crafts and even cut their own hair (rip quarantine bangs).
While Pinterest saw brands like Wayfair and book publisher Penguin Random House use it in the past, brands targeting Gen Z audiences such as Bustle, Free People, and Red Bull are now hopping on the platform to reach younger consumers and direct them to buy straight from their pins.
This article will cover all the post-2020 Pinterest features you may have missed since you last logged in (or because you never did) and how your brand can use the platform in your social strategy in 2021 and beyond.
Pinterest saw a year of incredible growth as people were stuck in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether they were searching for ways to fill the hours (years?) of free time they had or looking to plan for a brighter future, Millennials and Gen Zers, men and women, all turned to Pinterest.
Helping to fuel some of this growth (and maybe in part inspired by it), Pinterest launched and beta tested a series of new features aimed at improving the user experience and cementing its place as an e-commerce-meets-social-media haven.
These features also came amid Pinterest's May partnership with Shopify that saw more than 1 million retailers upload their product catalogs to the platform.
Notes to Self
Have you ever taken a photo on your phone but when scrolling through your library weeks later, you completely forget why you took it? This new feature by Pinterest works similarly.
Now, users can jot down a quick note to themselves about why they saved it, a pin-specific message, or other reminders that’ll make them more likely to engage with the content. For food boards, users can jot down notes on ingredients they’ll need from the store or who liked and disliked the recipe.
For brands, this feature is useful because it can serve as a self-reminder to return to the item and purchase it in the future. If, for example, someone is using Pinterest to collect holiday gift ideas, then users who make note of who the gift could be for may increase the likelihood of them going back to purchase it later.
For Type-A Pinterest users, this feature is a dream come true. Not only can they easily organize, view notes, and create to-do lists for each board, but they can also view related pins.
The toolbar feature makes the whole Pinterest experience more streamlined and can get a product in front of the eyes of more people. Related pins are also an incredible feature for brands as they suggest similar pins or products to people already interested in the topic.
Say, for example, you’re a brand specializing in camera equipment and accessories. If someone saves a how-to infographic on photography — a suggested pin could be an image of your brand’s tripods with a direct link to your website.
For a brand’s internal use, this feature can be used to help organize notes on competitor products and give them an idea of what types of pins are suggested for their audiences.
Favorites on a Board
This feature further allows users to customize their Pinterest boards by giving them the option to click a star icon at the top of specific pins which will make it easy to find them later.
As Pinterest boards can sometimes contain hundreds if not thousands of pins, favoriting a pin and having it appear at the top of a board will help users save time and increase the likelihood that it could convert into a sale.
Since Pinterest also functions as a social platform as well, having a favorite icon on certain pins may further encourage that user’s followers to look at a product and can serve as an endorsement of sorts. This especially applies to influencers or leaders in specific niche communities who have large Pinterest followings.
This feature can also help you highlight specific products or content pins for your followers. Whether you want to sell extra inventory, feature exclusive products, or give a shoutout to a collaborator — using favorites is an excellent Pinterest strategy for your brand.
In November 2020, Jane Manchun Wong discovered the code for an upcoming Pinterest feature called Class Communities (which Pinterest later confirmed).
Class Communities will allow users to host Zoom courses on topics ranging from cooking and makeup tutorials to yoga and meditation on Pinterest. Built into the community would be additional features for the class host to list any items they may need, provide descriptions, and offer additional links or resources.
For example, if you’re a beauty brand, you could host an interactive Zoom tutorial on how to perfect the latest makeup look. Then, you could easily link the products you use to your Pinterest board so that users can easily find them and save them to their own boards which will in turn generate a lot of organic growth.
For brands, this feature would mark the beginning of a new way to connect to your target audience through instructional, how-to, or motivational videos. Pinterest’s algorithm would also help increase brand visibility for those interested in similar topics or products.
How Your Brand Can Use Pinterest
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Pinterest saw a record-high of 442 million users by the end of 2020. Also important to note: Pinterest saw 50% year over year growth for Gen Z users who used it to search for pins regarding social good, future growth, beauty inspiration, and fashion ideas. Another previously underrepresented demographic that exponentially grew in 2020? Men. That same report by Pinterest found that the audience grew 48% in year-over-year data.
As a younger and more diverse user base flocks to the site, Pinterest is a great platform to advertise your products. Just make sure you are posting content that fits seamlessly into the platform. The type of content that converts on this photo and video-centric platform are those that do not look like advertisements.
If you still need more convincing, then wait until you hear this. A whopping 83% of Pinterest users say they made a purchase based on branded content they saw while browsing the site.
Pinterest offers promoted video, shopping ads, carousel, and single-image ad spots. Using the same algorithm Pinterest uses to suggest pins and populate the platform’s For You page, the ads will be shown to users who are interested in similar products or topics.
Create Your Own Page
There’s nothing better than producing unique content to increase brand awareness and SEO, and Pinterest is no exception. Pinterest’s image-driven platform provides an even better way to target young consumers.
A brand that has a killer Pinterest presence? Whole Foods Market.
The Amazon-owned supermarket has generated quite a following on Pinterest with over 2.3 million monthly viewers and close to 500K followers.
Whole Foods has created a plethora of simple, yet easily understandable content that includes infographics on trending information (raise your hand if you’ve reorganized your pantry and refrigerator this past year), lists, and recipes that feature its own products.
The Pinterest strategy is successful because Whole Foods is producing content that’s interesting and relevant to both its consumers and Pinterest’s target audience.
Partner with Top Accounts
Some of the most dedicated Pinterest accounts also exist within niche communities. Finding influencers in niche communities can also be more beneficial as their followers tend to place greater trust in them and their product suggestions.
Take Melissa Erial, for example, who currently has 137K followers and whose page sees over 10 million monthly views. Erial’s account focuses specifically on hairstyles, care tips, and information for natural hair.
Brands that sell specialized hair care products could potentially work with Erial to post branded content or advertise products with her.
There’s nowhere better to do a little competitor analysis and research than on Pinterest. The image-search feature comes into play again here as you can easily search for products and those similar to them efficiently.
Pinterest itself also provides invaluable insight into trends based on its large amount of internal data via its Newsroom. Not only can this information help with your marketing strategy, but can even give you ideas on the types of products people are looking for.
Pinterest saw a surge in the pandemic that has fueled user growth and increased its viability as a platform that brands can rely on to reach millions of users through original content, research trends, and find new influencers.
New and upcoming features continue to make it an extremely alluring platform for Gen Zers to search and shop on.
So, if there’s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: Don’t sleep on Pinterest and keep your eyes open for any new features so you don’t get left behind. We believe this platform will emerge as a Gen Z favorite and will provide endless new opportunities to reach your audience.