Pinterest Leads the Charge on Shoppability

Pinterest Leads the Charge on Shoppability

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Even as Instagram pulls back on live shopping, another social platform is diving in further: Pinterest. The company has slowly leaned into shoppability over the past few years with more transactional features for direct commerce.

Those moves include a “Shop” tab where products within videos and pins are shoppable. And on the merchant-facing end, Pinterest continues to provide tools that let sellers tag products so that they’re transaction-ready. These two moves together boost Pinterest’s overall shoppability.

The goal here is to expand Pinterest’s place in the marketing funnel. Product tags are one way to bring Pins from an upper-funnel awareness medium to a lower-funnel direct response medium. It has even taken this a step further with APIs that let merchants plant shoppable widgets on their own properties.

All the above took a step forward recently in Pinterest’s Q4 earnings. For one, its shoppability blitz over the past year has been validated in new user figures. Specifically, Pinterest has reached 450 million monthly users. An increasing share of these users return specifically for shopping functionality.

Doubling Down

Internalizing this feedback loop of shoppability and engagement, Pinterest has doubled down on its intentions to make its content more transactional. This means having more products tagged in photos and videos, so that the content is directly actionable. It’s all about capturing commercial intent.

“Over the long term, we also want to make every pin shoppable,” said Pinterst CEO Bill Ready during the Q4 earnings call. “Over the course of this year, we’ll be deploying our computer vision technology across our video corpus to find products and videos and make them shoppable.”

Ready’s reference to computer vision is the key element. In addition to manually tagging products within pins (or incentivizing merchants to do so), computer vision models can recognize products and make them shoppable. This can include the product itself, or complementary and visually-similar items.

That last part combines shoppability and design inspiration. By suggesting similar items, Pinterest could spark serendipitous moments of shopping discovery. In fact, that discovery and inspiration are very much aligned with Pinterest’s DNA. So it will look to marry these elements with more shoppability.

Bubbling Up

Pinterest is also intent on combining all that transactional functionality with video. Though pins have traditionally been still images, Pinterest has begun to lean into gen-Z-driven affinities for short-form video content. This has been popularized through Snap and Instagram Stories, not to mention TikTok.

And this is already underway. Without doing much to stimulate it, Pinterest reports that video created on the platform grew 30 percent quarter-over-quarter in Q4. Most of this comes from Gen-Z users, and has bubbled up organically. Pinterest’s next move is to lean into that user behavior with more functionality.

That includes offering more creation options and beefing up the creator/merchant-facing features for producing video. Here, the name of the game will be competing with the creator-facing tools and features offered by platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Meta (including Facebook and Instagram).

Indeed, Pinterest is motivated to do all the above. Video pins have generated greater engagement levels, especially when it comes to shopping for tagged products. Moreover, video over-indexes in monetization potential: Though it makes up 10 percent of Pinterest content, it drives 30 percent of revenue.

Mike Boland has been a tech & media analyst for the past two decades, specifically covering mobile, local, and emerging technologies. He has written for Street Fight since 2011. More can be seen at