In this episode of “What’s Blooming?”, our Managing Director in Toronto, Chris Kreuter, is interviewing Josh Barrick, Partner Manager at Pinterest to talk about their growth in Canada and upcoming features. Read the transcript below.
In 2020 Pinterest added 100 million new monthly subscribers and has seen tremendous growth in Canada as well. Why do you think Canadians have turned to Pinterest during this challenging year?
We just had our first-quarter earnings call a couple of weeks back and we were excited to report 478 million monthly active users across the globe now. Just shy of that emotional half-billion number, which I’m sure we’re going to get to very quickly.
To answer your question, back in March 2020, there was a lot of confusion, fear, a little uncertainty. Our routines were flipped upside down. This is where Pinterest came in.
Pinterest is a place for inspiration, it’s a place where people go to plan their futures, to make decisions about what to do next. For many, during that time, it was about getting lunch and dinner inspiration for their families, getting ideas on how they’re going to set up their home office. In the past year, Pinterest has seen more people than ever turn to Pinterest for well-being and self-care. For example, our favourite gyms and fitness classes all closed down. So, our users turned to Pinterest. We saw an 80% increase in the number of searches for yoga, a 61% increase in the number of searches for gratitude and meditation searches were up 55%.
Another reason we saw such an increase in Pinterest user growth is that Pinterest is a place to spark new and creative ideas. It’s exactly what people were looking for during this time. We saw people start to search for inspiration on starting a new business, their future house goals, life bucket lists, etc. People were and are turning to Pinterest to find inspiration to help plan all the areas of their lives.
You also see, when you walk into the lobby of your condo or outside people’s homes, all of the packages piling up. It seems that people were also going to Pinterest for shopping.
Can you tell us more about the shopping experience on Pinterest?
People have always come to Pinterest for shopping inspiration whether it’s home, style, beauty, even groceries. What’s taking place today at Pinterest is an evolution of that behaviour. We’ve made investments into our shopping strategy and our shopping products. Two keywords come to mind: shopping and buying.
In the last decade, there’s been so much innovation in e-commerce. The biggest tech companies have done an amazing job at making it convenient to buy online. If you want to buy something today, it’s four or five clicks, a couple of minutes, especially if you know what you need. Then, in 48 hours or less it’s going to be in your condo, like we said… boxes are piling up.
But, what about when you don’t know what you want? What about when you need to go beyond that transaction? What about when you want to shop, when you want to browse, when you want to discover? At some point in the future, we’ll be back in malls and we’ll be able to do so. You will be going through your favourite stores and you’ll be able to touch and hold up and try on.
That’s the shopping experience that Pinterest is trying to do. It’s almost matching real-world shopping in a mall or a catalogue. And, on Pinterest, it’s almost as if those products are hand-picked for you. That’s the shopping aspect.
Over the past years, Pinterest has been making it easier to buy as well. We are taking shopping and turning it into a purchase, all on the same platform. We’ve done this in a few different ways.
1. We’ve enabled our partners to take product feeds from their e-commerce platform and integrate them directly into Pinterest to create an incremental digital storefront for themselves.
This is a huge benefit for users because they are going to be able to browse hundreds of millions of in-stock products from all different types of brands around the world.
2. We’ve also layered in computer vision technology to match the lifestyle images that are near and dear to our Pinners’ hearts and then show them purchasable products.
Let me give you an example, you’re browsing yoga inspiration as I mentioned before and you come across this great lifestyle shot of a guy or gal who’s looking great in athleisure outfits and they have a snaggy pair of shoes on and you love those shoes. So, you zero in on the image and directly below, we’re now going to start showing you purchasable shoes that look exactly like that image. This is really exciting for our customers, it’s very seamless.
Pinterest offers a very unique platform that requires a unique approach. Do you have a few tips for a brand looking to include Pinterest as part of their ad mix?
Advertisers definitely have a unique opportunity to reach customers on Pinterest, especially when users don’t have a specific brand in mind. Let me contextualize that with a little bit of data. 97% of the searches on Pinterest are unbranded. This means that the majority of our consumers are not typing in a brand name when they’re searching for something, it’s very much unbranded.
It also means that businesses of any size have a chance to be discovered and engage with a customer who is intentional, yet open-minded, and planning what to buy.
We didn’t talk too much about this but, ads are actually welcome on Pinterest.
And, I’ll go a little bit further to say that ads are additive and a solution to a Pinner. They’re not intrusive like they might be on other platforms. They’re not interruptive and that’s because if you step back and think about it, Pinterest is a visual platform almost entirely made up of ads. It’s kind of counterintuitive in an environment where we’re paying for our favourite music and video streaming services to stop showing us ads and where the biggest display publisher in the world is creating a chrome extension to block its own ads. It’s very counterintuitive to say “hey your ads are actually a solution for the users on Pinterest”, it’s a very unique opportunity to connect with our users.
We often talk to our retail or fashion brands about how Pinterest has that perfect alignment for creatives because of it being such a creative and aspirational platform. It pushes you to strive to deliver excellent creatives.
With shopping continuing to be a focus for Pinterest can you give sort of a sneak peek of what’s to come in the next upcoming months?
Since Pinterest launched, people have been using it for shopping and we have been rolling out new features to make shopping even easier and seamless.
Our overall vision is to make anything you see on Pinterest buyable.
Just in the past year, we’ve launched features for Pinners including catalogues, personalized shopping recommendations, new shopping formats like our collections unit. The goal is to take inspiration all the way down to action. They are two pieces to the same equation, you can’t actually have inspiration without action at the end. It’s very interesting that on Pinterest you’re able to tie both of those together.
Beyond that, we have some exciting new products to roll out that are new and newsworthy. We’ve rolled out our multi-feed product solution. It allows you to set up a unique feed to a local market. For example, if you do business in both Canada and the U.S., you can have two feeds that are showing up, to the local customers, in the local currency. Or, if you’re multilingual like we are here in Canada, you can have a French and an English feed.
Pinterest in Canada
Pinterest launched the Canadian division two years ago, I was part of the landing team for the growth segment here in Canada and we’re on pace to have over 50 new hires in the Canadian office this year across sales, engineering, insights and marketing.
That’s a significant benefit to the biggest brands and agencies in Canada because you’re going to have boots on the ground and representatives that understand the local market, the local cultures and how to grow and scale your business in this country. On top of that though, Pinterest is still an international organization. We work with brands that are international and we’re able to take that local understanding of the market and help brands scale internationally. Our teams have access to all our international colleagues to help them understand the international scene.
Bloom really appreciates the support that Pinterest has given us over the past year and we’re excited about all the upcoming innovations and growing our businesses together. Big thank you to Josh, for taking the time to walk us through Pinterest and we look forward to doing more with you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie-Joelle works at Bloom, a digital marketing agency, as the Director of Marketing. She's passionate about digital marketing tactics (from social media to web design) for B2B businesses looking to grow online.