9 Pinterest Predictions for 2014
1) Pinterest Advertising Finally Goes Full Blown
Back in early October 2013, Pinterest made the announcement that they were working on placing advertising in search results. This was known as “Promoted Pins.” It was considered a hot topic among the social media community. Yet, with all the buzz around promoted pins, it seems that no one I know has seen these elusive pins.
With $338 million in funding, there’s no doubt that there’s pressure to start monetizing the site. I would imagine that Pinterest is currently working on partnerships with select retailers and businesses like Zappos and Whole Foods.
This probably won’t kick in until they’ve fully tested out “Related Pins.” Related pins are pins suggested by Pinterest that you may like based on what you search for on Pinterest and what websites you visit. (You can turn off the option of Pinterest knowing what sites you visit, but they can still track your Pinterest search activity. That’s right…there’s no real privacy.)
Pinterest also bought out VisualGraph, a visual recognition engine. Pinterest, for a long time, has relied less and less on text data for search results and more and more on visual data for search results. The Pinterest algorithm associates certain colours and pictures with specific words.
At the moment there are several complaints about how related pins occupy too much of a Pinterest user’s home feed, while other Pinterest accounts have a more balanced approach. Here’s a screen shot of what related pins looks like.
I wasn’t able to find related pins on my Android App. If anybody could let me know if they’ve seen them on the iPad or the iPhone that would be great! (Just let us know in the comments.)
2) Additional Rich Pin Content
Rich pins are snippets of information that can be found accompanied by pins. At the moment rich pins are offered for articles, recipes, movies, and places. This additional information can be very useful in having Pinterest users click through on the actual pin.
Place pins is definitely a great add on for Pinterest, but there are so many different categories that will be able to use rich pin content.
We’re only at the tip of the iceberg. There are still so many ways that Pinterest can take advantage of schemas and Open Graph tags to provide additional information. I strongly suggest that if you’re into Pinterest to start understanding more about schemas and Open Graph as rich pins are not going away.
I would imagine that many non profits would like to get their hands on creating rich pin data for rich pins created for organizations. Since any rich pin must go through a validation process, it’s going to be checked by someone at Pinterest to make sure that the account isn’t trying to be a copycat.
I would imagine people being reluctant to click on a pin that ask you to donate money, because it can lead to a scam site. But if a rich pin could validate that a pin did officially come from a charity, like the Red Cross organization, then you would feel much more relaxed to donate.
We should be expecting more rich pin type of content for 2014.
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3) Crack Down on Pinterest Contests and Sweepstakes
Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever seen those “Pin it to Win it” contests that are out there, and you know the terms and agreements set out by Pinterest, you know that a lot of companies violate those rules. And many still use the “Pin it to Win it” slogan, which is against Pinterest’s guidelines.
Pinterest has been pretty lenient in that they haven’t cracked down on companies for violating those rules. But as the company moves forward to monetizing their site, don’t be surprised if they start cracking down the whip hard on some companies.
At the moment they view contests as hurting a user’s experience with Pinterest because it “forces” users to pin from a selection and gamifies the network. Here’s what I believe the big reason for contests being cracked down on. Contests will hurt their advertising model. If businesses are able to get their pins to spread on Pinterest through incentives such as $100 gift cards and have that reach over 200,000 people then that’s pretty damn good money spent.
This gives less incentive for those same businesses to advertise with Pinterest.
From what I’ve read and understand the rules about Pinterest contests, it really comes down to this – let people pin what they want.
4) Pinterest Becomes the 2nd Largest Social Sharing Site for News
Don’t be suprised that Pinterest takes over Twitter as the place to share articles and news. Pinterest was able to dominate social sharing on iPads, consisting of 48.2% of the shares according to a study done by ShareThis, this was a huge lead over Facebook. It has already been shown that Pinterest drives more traffic to online publishers than Twitter, Linkedin and Reddit combined.
But what’s fascinating to see is how Pinterest gained a 20% news share. This is something that online publishers, magazines, and news content providers need to pay attention to. Social sharing for Facebook book dropped in the third quarter of 2013 which made up of 41% of the sharing. Twitter was 30%.
Here’s the interesting logic of it all, there are 232 million active users on Twitter, as of the time of this writing.
But there are 70 million global users on Pinterest. Disproportionately, Pinterest is kicking some serious butt in Twitter’s face in terms of social sharing for news. I would strongly advise that digital “print” media prep up for this on Pinterest.
I understand that copyright of pictures on their news sites may be a concern, but instead of fighting about it, it’s time for these news organizations to embrace it. (After all, you can’t stay still in the world of digital media, or else you’ll lose out to the next competitor who is taking advantage of Pinterest.)
5) Crack Down on Trademarks
Pinterest hasn’t started monetizing yet, but there’s no doubt that it’s going to start cracking down on people who are infringing on their rrademark, with an exception being in Europe and Australia, where at the moment they don’t own the rights to the name Pinterest.
If you happen to be a developer or using a service that has the word “Pin” in it, and it causes even some potential confusion, than you should be expecting to hear a notice from their lawyers. This is why they’ve asked companies that had the word Pin in them to change their name. Now with some of the major players out of the way, they’re going to going after the smaller guys.
6) The Rise of Pinterest in Japan
It’s very easy to start thinking in a bubble and think that Pinterest is all about the West. In reality Pinterest has 50 million dollars in funding from Rakuten (The Amazon of Japan) and that’s a lot of money to be put into any tech startup.
Japanese Pinterest already functions very differently from the other international social networks, as you can see from the picture below. Categories are designed to be more visual. Rakuten has a very big interest to ensure that Pinterest grows this year, and that both Pinterest and Rakuten find a way to make money from it.
7) Men Still Won’t Get Pinterest
I know there are some people out there that are really encouraging men to be on Pinterest, but I’m going to say this as an actual fact – men will never come close to the number of users on Pinterst as women. Especially in the U.S.A. and Canada.
There is a very simple fact on why this is. Go to your local bookstore (yes they still have those), and check out the magazine sections. How many of those magazines are dominated by themes that are popular on Pinterest, such as weddings, fashion, photography, architecture, and food. Now look carefully at how many of those are dominated by “masculine” topics like cars, women in bikinis, and video games.
And now think about the circulation of those. Which types of magazines generally have more reach and more circulation? This is why, as much as we want Pinterest to have more men, it just won’t. Women’s magazines dominate visual media in terms of sheer numbers.
8) API is Finally Released to the Public
I’m hoping that Pinterest releases an API for the public to use so that businesses and developers are able to create some amazing tools out of it. There’s no doubt that Pinterest is very cautious about what type of API it wants to release.
It’s current API allows certain partner brands to show off their most recent popular pins. Other API’s that they are working on would allow for other data like most recent pins, or related pins. The one I feel that would be of interest to e-commerce sites is the ability to dig into related pins from a specific brand.
This type of recommendation engine has been used to drive up sales for numerous e-commerce giants, like Amazon, “People who pinned this, also pinned this item.”
9) What’s it Called in Europe and Australia?
Pinterest doesn’t own the trademark for Pinterest in Europe nor Australia. This could be great news for developers who live in those countries as it can be a safe haven to develop Pinterest like products and use their name if they are living in those countries.
Hearn owns the right to that word, and that case Pinterest stand for Premium Interest. This will definitely put a big dent in their plans for growth and expansion as Europe is an essential market if they are to prove that they are worth $3.8 billion. Either way this is going to cost Pinterest valuable time and money.
This type of act could force the social network to either pony up the money to pay Hearn a licensing fee, or to change names in Europe. But with a company that’s evaluated at $3.8 billion it’s unlikely that Hearn is just going to budge.
Those are my top 9 hot predictions for 2014. What do you predict for Pinterest this year?
Original article published on MCNG Marketing’s blog.