Today, Pinterest is increasing its investment in the creator community by introducing new tools that allow creators to make money with their content. Now, content creators will be able to tag products in Idea Pins — the company’s first video feature this spring — to make their content “shoppable.” They will now also be able to earn commissions through affiliate links and partnering with brands on sponsored content, much like they do on other social media platforms Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
Despite its general focus on turning product inspiration into clicks and purchases, Pinterest has been slower to embrace the creator community, which today is responsible for driving a great deal of interest in new products among online shoppers. Over the past several years, brands have increased their influencer marketing budgets from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $13.8 billion in 2021. However, Pinterest offered few tools for its creators to tap into this market until Idea Pins debuted in May.
These Pins are somewhat similar to the way Pinterest in TikTok, mixed in with stories – they provide a way for creators to produce content that combines music, video, and other interactive elements. Videos in Idea Pins can be up to 60 seconds per page, with up to 20 pages total per pin. Creators can also add other features to their Pins, such as stickers or music, and tag other creators with their username.
While videos are similar in some ways to TikTok, videos can include “detail pages” where viewers can find related content, such as an ingredient list and instructions for a recipe, or a how-to list for a craft project.
Now, Pinterest explained, creators will be able to feature products in their Pins as well. This means that fans who view Pin content can now go from inspiration to purchasing from the Pinterest app. However, the path is not as straightforward as in Instagram, clicking on a tag leads to a page where you can add an item to your cart. Instead, Pinterest product tags tend to take you to another Pinterest page for the product in question, and from there you have to click again to visit the retailer’s website to complete your order.
The company had been testing the feature before today with content creators including Olive + Brown, Fall for DIY, and UnconventionalSouthernBelle, who have already made some of their content shoppable.
The new Idea Pins product tagging tool will be rolling out to all US and UK business accounts. It will continue to be accessible over the coming months for international creators.
Other new monetization features now launching include affiliate program support and brand sponsorship.
Creators will now be able to combine their Rakuten and ShopStyle affiliate programs to generate additional revenue from their recommendations. Meanwhile, creators who come to the platform through partnerships with brands will be able to use a new tool, still in beta, that allows them to reveal these partnerships to their followers.
When they then produce branded content on Pinterest and add the brands to their Idea Pins, the brand will be able to approve the tag and the Idea Pin will have a sticker that reads “Paid Partnership”.
The Paid Partnerships tool is now available to select creators in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
Most of the new monetization tools on Pinterest are not necessarily all of these innovative or unique ones.
Instead, they represent a catch-up company with the larger social platforms — such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube — that have been better addressing the needs of creators in recent years by allowing them to build their own businesses on their own platforms and expand their reach. Instagram, in particular, has moved into the Pinterest territory to the extent that many users today start looking for shopping inspiration on its app first.
Instagram has catered to the needs of this growing group of online shoppers by turning its platform into an online marketplace of sorts, competing with a dedicated shop button, built-in checkout features, product drop alerts and numerous ways for creators to monetize their work.
Now that influencer shopping is the norm, the race is between big platforms and startups alike to bring a similar set of shopping tools to live video.
With so much competition, Pinterest’s show to the creator community is that its user base is already ready to shop.
By the end of 2020, the company says it has seen a 20-fold increase in product searches on its platform. It also indicates that Pinterest users are 89% more likely to show an intent to shop on products tagged in Creators Idea Pins than on its own standalone Pins. Additionally, the company says its focus will be more on inspirational content, rather than “influence and entertainment” – which sounds like a hit on social media and its star influencers.
“Pinterest is where creators with inspiring and actionable ideas are discovered. With this latest update, we are enabling creators to reach millions of shoppers on the platform and monetize their work,” said Aya Kanai, Head of Content and Creator Partnerships at Pinterest. Reward for the inspiration they give their followers and the sales they make to brands. Content creators are a key component of our mission to bring inspiration to everyone to create a life they love, and we will continue to work with them to build their business and achieve success on Pinterest.”