Pinterest Makes Itself More Shoppable as Platform Positions Commerce to Pick up Ad Slack


Moving deeper into its shift from social sharing and lifestyle app to a product discovery platform, Pinterest is putting commerce at the center of 2022 growth plans.

In its Q1 2022 earnings and shareholder letter release Wednesday (April 27), the platform peopled by “pinners” tipped ambitious plans still in beta for Your Shop, a new feature enabling “a customized shopping page powered by our taste-driven algorithm informed by Pinners’ unique preferences and styles” along with the new Pinterest API for Shopping.

During Q&A with analysts, Pinterest CEO and Co-founder Ben Silbermann broke down Pinterest’s emerging strategy to make the platform more shoppable — a trend seen from Meta and others in the space trying to make up for ad dollars lost to Apple’s recent iOS data privacy changes.

Describing a three-pronged strategy for shopping, Silbermann said it began with a verified merchant program and moved into more advanced product upload catalog capabilities.

“This quarter, we expanded that to include a Pinterest API for shopping, as well as a partnership with WooCommerce that gives millions of merchants the power to turn their product catalogs into shoppable, product pins.”

Use of real-time data in product feeds “gives people confidence to purchase,” Silbermann said, adding that “the second part of that strategy is improving the discoverability.”

Pinterest has previously discussed new efforts to surface more shopping results in search, incorporating tech like computer vision in product-image matching for better experience.

Coming Soon: Your Shop

“The next big milestone for us will be taking Your Shop, which is a personalized shopping surface out of beta … and into the market in a more mainstream way,” Silbermann said, calling it “fundamental to our vision, so users can not only come to Pinterest with the expectation of being inspired, but also know that they can turn those inspirations into reality with purchases.”

He added, “We continue to test seamless checkout with more merchants. We think that for long-considered items, people are less sensitive to having one-tap checkout. Over the long run, we think there’s going to be a fundamental expectation” for one-tap in social commerce.

Hits to ad revenue resulting from iOS changes are having similar impacts on Pinterest as at competing platforms. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Todd Morgenfeld pointed to “a fair amount of weakness … in the consumer-packaged goods or CPG space, driven we think by supply chain pressures and inflation. The combination of those things has not been good for brand building.”

Morgenfeld expanded on the push to make Pinterest more commerce-driven, saying, the company is “looking at ways to drive more sustainable user acquisition and retention. We’re making Pinterest more browsable without immediately requiring users to sign up when they land on the site.”

“While this had a modest negative impact on global new user signups initially, we believe that removing barriers for longer browsing sessions can drive more activations.”

Missing MAUs, New Creator Tools

Morgenfeld said mobile app monthly average users (MAUs) in the U.S. and Canada “were also relatively resilient, declining around 6% year over year versus down 31% year-over-year for web based MAUs. Sequentially, U.S. and Canada mobile app MAUs are flat.”

“Finally, shopping engagement remained relatively resilient, with a number of pinners engaging in shopping surfaces growing year over year,” Morgenfeld said.

Silbermann nodded to Pinterest’s “native content in video in particular is fundamental to helping people get inspiration and shop in the future.”

He said the native content ecosystem is “gaining traction, the number of video idea pins up 15 times year over year, and this content is resonating with more and more people as we continue to see that pinners who follow multiple creators visit Pinterest more often compared to those who do not.”

He said new publishing tools are forthcoming though the company’s acquisition of video creation and editing app Vochi in late 2021 “so creators can make even better content that’s not only entertaining but helps move our user base from inspiration all the way to action.”

Additionally, Pinterest plans to “launch a global brand awareness and comprehension marketing campaign starting in Q3,” Silbermann said.