Pinterest upgrades visual search function

SAN FRANCISCO — Pinterest has upgraded its Lens visual search platform with the ability to identify more than 2.5 billion objects.

The social media site said the upgrades allow users to save photos from Lens, turn them into Pins and save them to one of their boards. As an example, if someone is looking for a new sofa, they can save Lens photos of sofas that they see in stores and these photos will power ongoing recommendations as Pinterest helps define the user’s style.

“With Pinterest’s investments in pioneering technology, computer vision and machine learning, users benefit from communicating what they want in an instant, without having to resort to obscure strings of terms,” said Kieley Taylor, GroupM’s global head of social. “We see significant value for brands to tap into a visual search on Pinterest as it will allow wider discovery by tastemakers and drive meaningful consumer engagements both online and off.”

When consumers use Lens within the home category to hone in on a specific product or object, they will also see shoppable product Pins with the current price and a direct link to check out on the retailer’s site along with visually similar ideas to try or buy.

According to Pinterest research, when shoppers are browsing online for furniture, more than 85% of respondents put more importance on visual information than text information; 55% of consumers say visual search is instrumental in developing their style and taste; 49% of pinners say they develop a better relationship with brands they love through visual search; and 61% of consumers say visual search elevates their experience while in-store browsing.


“We’ve worked with Pinterest since 2015 to bridge the online and offline worlds and bring back the magic of shopping through innovative paid campaigns,” said Joy Kelly, media manager for IKEA Retail U.S.

Ikea Germany has also been using Pincodes, or visual search enabled QR codes, in their direct mail offerings to inspire customers with more ideas around their products and connect customers with Ikea’s Pinterest profile.

Pinterest said the latest Lens updates have rolled out on Android and will launch on iOS in the coming weeks.

Earlier this year, Pinterest introduced a series of new tools designed to help merchants sell their products, including a service that lets anyone upload and convert an entire product catalog into shoppable Pins with a feature that includes a catalog manager dashboard so retailers can upload their product catalog, organize products and have them discovered and purchased by pinners.

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