Pinterest is ramping up its e-commerce capabilities and influencer content with a big focus on beauty.
Pinterest’s latest new social commerce update gives influencers the ability to add shopping links within its Instagram Stories-style Idea Pins post format. As of July 27, talent (which Pinterest calls creators) can disclose paid partnerships and add tags to featured products that are in the platform’s product catalog, which was expanded by a partnership with Shopify in April 2021. Clicking a tag brings a user to the product listing page on Pinterest, which offers a link to purchase on the original brand or retailer’s site.
“Creators and shopping are super-critical parts of Pinterest’s strategy and growth,” said Aya Kanai, Pinterest’s head of content and creator partnerships. The platform has been cultivating influencer content over the past year, expanding from its traditional image posts to new video post formats including Idea Pins and video pins.
“A piece of video content is going to jump out; it’s going to be more engaging,” said Kanai. “That’s why, when we’re working with creators, we encourage them to use these new formats.” Pinterest has been attracting a growing number of large beauty influencers, such as makeup artist Erin Parsons and hairstylist Justine Marjan, who feature tutorials on the platform. The new feature has been used by influencers including Shiquita Hyman (@UnconventionalSouthernBelle), who tagged products from her nighttime skin-care routine in a recent Ideas Pin last week. Previously, influencers could include a list of products featured in the post caption, but they did not appear in the video itself.
Beauty has been a significant vertical for Pinterest as it encourages influencer video content. Pinterest currently has 454 million global monthly active users, according to its second-quarter financial report. Of those, 80 million users search for beauty terms each month. The platform has been specifically targeting beauty brands with its new functions over the past year. It introduced a shade-range selection for beauty search terms in August 2020 and expanded AR try-on to eyeshadow in January this year.
The platform has been making the case that these features can lead to more beauty purchases. According to Kanai, 87% of users searching for beauty terms are “actively considering beauty and personal care products to purchase.” Usage of Pinterest shopping tools surged by 350% in 2020 as social shopping interest took off during the pandemic. Its official blue-check “verified merchant” program allows brands to add a “shop” tab with product listings to their profile. A wide range of beauty brands offers the shopping tab, including Clinique, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Urban Decay, Redken, Nars, Shiseido, Fenty Beauty, Milk Makeup, Glow Recipe, Kinship and Ilia. Retailers including Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom and Target also offer beauty product listings.
“Pinterest has definitely been growing as one of our priority platforms,” said Christine Chang, the co-founder and co-CEO of Glow Recipe. Co-founder and co-CEO Sarah Lee added that the commerce features offer an actionable, direct way to shop the brand.
Mented, meanwhile, has seen a “huge uptick in social shopping since last year,” said the brand’s co-founder and CEO K.J. Miller. Mented products are highligheted on influencers’ Idea Pins through Ulta Beauty’s Pinterest product listings.
According to Kanai, the platform is especially useful to reach users at the product discovery stage of shopping, as 91% of beauty searches on Pinterest don’t mention a brand name — that rate of unbranded searches is even higher than Amazon’s 78%. Popular recent beauty searches have included “butterfly eyeliner,” “abstract eyeliner,” “rhinestone makeup,” “artistic eye makeup,” “yellow eye looks” and “red eyeshadow.”
“What that means is that Pinterest users are high on the funnel,” Kanai said. “Pinterest is a really robust visual search engine. People come here when they’re deciding what they want to try. They haven’t yet drilled into exactly what they want to buy.”