Launching a range of new features on Wednesday geared toward developing influencer content, Pinterest is starting to look more like Instagram and TikTok. But rather than rely on an algorithm alone to determine what people see, it’s taking an editorialized approach.
To start, Pinterest officially launched its TikTok-style scroll feature called “Watch,” which has been available on the platform in beta since September 2020. In a format unique from TikTok or Instagram, posts featured in Watch are pulled from accounts’ Stories-style Idea Pins (formerly called Story Pins), and Idea Pins do not automatically vanish. To entice influencers onto the platform, Pinterest is launching its own $20 million “Creator Rewards” monetization program. The new monetization will be facilitated through direct grants to influencers, as well as a new editorialized “Take” platform, which allows anyone over the age of 18 with over 1,000 followers to earn money by creating content assigned by Pinterest.
“The difference between our Creator Rewards and the monetization programs of others is that we’re looking for more high-quality content and content that’s based on [a creator’s] passion, versus just trying to get as many likes as possible,” said Colleen Stauffer, global head of creator marketing at Pinterest.
Influencers can now head to Pinterest’s new “Creator Hub” for content prompts created by Pinterest that are refreshed once a month. They’re compensated if a post based on the prompt meets a certain engagement threshold, and prices will vary. For now, this is just about organic content — it’s separate from Pinterest’s tools for creating branded and sponsored content. Prompts will be created each month based on data on trending searches and popular pins.
Pinterest is part of a range of other social platforms that have launched creator funds, including TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. The new $20 million comes after its April introduction of a creator fund for influencers from underrepresented groups.
The new features will be kicked off with a campaign featuring celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion and Storm Reid. Each is creating Pinterest content prompting people to create “Takes” on the prompts they introduce. Lopez will focus hers on Halloween costumes, and Reid’s will also be focused on fashion. According to Stauffer, many celebrities have already been active on Pinterest privately for years, and the platform is now working with them to create public-facing content.
“We tried to find celebrities who are avid pinners,” said Stauffer. “A lot of them have secret boards. J.Lo’s is amazing. She uses it for everything, like her red carpet looks … all her music videos, including sets, the costumes, the makeup, the hair. And then, of course, she’s a huge fan of all holidays.”
The platform also tapped influencers to create content for a series of “Creator Originals” Idea Pins that are currently rolling out. For beauty, Rihanna’s makeup artist and global Fenty Beauty makeup artist Priscilla Ono is running a “makeup school” series. Celebrity hair stylist Kahh Spence, who works with Cardi B, will also be running beauty tutorials.
“I have been using Pinterest since I started my makeup career,” said Ono. “The only way for me to get a lot of my makeup references is through Pinterest. Anytime I would do a shoot, the first place I would go to was Pinterest.” For her content, she will focus on tutorials and step-by-step videos on skin care and makeup, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at photo shoots.
Spence will focus on hair tutorials and lifestyle content. “My objective is to educate how to accomplish fast glam, while also including a sprinkle of what a typical day in my life with clients is like, and a bit of laughter to help everyone get through their day,” he said. Personally, he uses Pinterest for beauty and home decor ideas.
Pinterest is also upping the sophistication of its Idea Pins, adding seasonal and interactive stickers, music, new video editing and recording capabilities, and a preview mode.
While part of what a user sees is tailored to their own interests and search activity, Pinterest will also select trending topics or posts to be highlighted in everyone’s search tab and feed, which Stauffer describes as an “algorithmic plus editorial” system.
The new model “definitely is special to Pinterest, because we’re a little bit different,” said Stauffer, who describes Pinterest as a “visual search engine” with a “high-intent” audience. She added that this intent includes online shopping, which led the platform to introduce new shopping features, especially for beauty. Idea Pins now have shoppable AR beauty try-on links, and users can enable shopping recommendations on Idea Pins to allow Pinterest to feature automatic recommendations of shopping links.
“People are going there because they want to solve a problem that fits a need. They’re not just doing that passive scroll, being jealous of their friends’ vacations while they’re at their desk sitting in a meeting,” she said.