“What should I cook for dinner?”
“Girl, where did you get those shoes?”
“I totally want that couch.”
As visual creatures, our daily lives brim with images and scenes that spark curiosity. Yet somehow when we whip out the Smartphone to Google “that thing,” words can fail us. Rather than curating images of lavendar damask sofas, we find ourselves overrun by snapshots of odd zoo animals.
A long-time advocate of discovery, Pinterest rolled out a new feature in February to solve our search conundrum. Pinterest Lens allows users to snap a photo of an item using a Smartphone. Pinterest then analyzes the photo, generates related search terms and curates similar images from pins across the platform. Point your camera phone at dining room table, and Pinterest will display not only similar furniture but also images of fully decorated rooms featuring dining room tables.
And the discovery doesn’t stop with fashion and decor. Snap a picture of ingredients in your fridge, and Pinterest can suggest recipes for dinner. (We’re waiting for someone to harness Pinterest Lens to aid lost pet searches!) Already see a pin you love? Just tap the circle in the lower right-hand corner of each pin, and Pinterest Instant Ideas will populate similar pins — as if you snapped the picture in Lens yourself.
A Revived Business Platform?
For a platform that seemed to be fading, this rollout could be the the 180-degree turn Pinterest needs. To date, few — if any — other platforms can generate searches based on visuals — even Google, considered the world’s most popular search engine.
For businesses, Pinterest Lens provides ample reason to beef up and diversify your pinning strategy. Shoe designers covet this easy access to could-be fashionistas, or home builders can tout everything from floor plans to kitchen designs to potential homebuyers. And note that your descriptions and keyword strategy will be vital here, since Pinterest may use your pins’ verbiage and tags to locate your pictures. (However, as a side note, don’t bother with hashtags.) In addition, populate your boards not only with pictures of your product but also your product in multiple larger contexts.
While Pinterest may not have the chops yet to rival Amazon’s e-commerce, it’s new features suggest that they’re back in the game. Check out a few other new storytelling hacks on social media!