Mara Greenwald

Pinterest introduced two new shopping features on July 30: browsable catalogs alongside Pins, and personalized shopping ideas in the feed.

Pinterest Launches Browsable Catalogs

When Pinterest users scroll under a Product Pin (a pin synced to the product feed on a retailer’s site) and click “More from the brand,” they will see the latest, in-stock products from that retailer in one place.

Personalized Shopping will appear in the user’s home feed, curated based on their behavior.

Implications for the Purchase Journey

Pinterest released this news in conjunction with a study they did with Neustar. The study found that Pinterest ads made up 11% of total media spend for the five brands reviewed, but created 18% of incremental sales and revenue. They concluded that ads on Pinterest are 2.3X more efficient than social networks, 1.5X more than paid search, and 1.1X more than display. Seems great on paper, but we have to dig in more.

Performics retail clients should know that we are seeing Pinterest Shopping ROAS out-perform Pinterest homefeed by over 60%.

Integrating and expanding on the feed makes sense for Pinterest and obviously has the potential to drive sales. However, when we compare Pinterest Shopping to Facebook and Instagram Dynamic Product Ads, the Facebook ecosystem out-performs Pinterest by more than 90%.

Pinterest offers dynamic retargeting within Shopping that drives stronger performance than overall, but we still can’t scale it to the extent of other feed-based tactics across digital. When consumers know what they want to buy, they turn to other commerce, social, search and digital channels.

When consumers are discovering what they want, Pinterest pulls strong. Neustar found that more than 75% of the sales from Pinterest came a week after ads were seen. Pinterest notes that 97% of the top 1,000 searches are for non-branded search terms – capturing people when they are still exploring, and not yet ready to buy. Meanwhile, generic text terms on search tend to be our worst performing search tactic. Pinterest is winning at discovery, but still not quite there when it comes time to close the sale. In order for Pinterest to really dominate, it has to win the entire purchase journey, from discovery through the close.

The Pinterest solution for brands and retailers is to open up attribution windows. While this makes sense when looking at Pinterest user-behavior, it doesn’t consider the rest of the digital ecosystem. Brands and retailers need a consistent view on performance and optimizable media. We need to make real-time optimizations in the retail industry, and longer attribution windows don’t allow us to make impactful business decisions.

Implications for Social Commerce

Pinterest initially launched Buyable Pins in 2015, but then backed away from the checkout experience, switching to Product Pins in 2018 that sync with the feed and drive users on-site. However, looking at Instagram’s launch of Checkout this year, Pinterest may soon re-evaluate, especially since Instagram has 709 million more global users and 28 million more U.S. users than Pinterest. This puts the impact of Pinterest Shopping and the Neustar study into perspective. According to the Adidas Q1 2019 earnings call, the Instagram’s beta test on Checkout helped propel the brand to 40% year-over-year online sales growth. While Pinterest is doing a strong job at integrating the product feed and integrating within apps, it is not there yet when it comes to the complete Checkout experience.

The Bottom Line: Will it Work?

With the strong success of the initial Shopping product, the new Browsable Catalog Pins and Personalized Shopping Ideas will work for retail clients. However, when considering the larger social commerce landscape and the role of Pinterest in the entire purchase journey, the platform has more opportunity to grow when it comes to closing the sale.

August 5, 2019

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