- Pinterest expanded its third-party partner program, Marketing Partners, and rebranded it as Pinterest Partners to support more shopping experiences on its social media platform, which has 291 million active users. The company selected partners to provide such services as advertising, content marketing, measurement, creative and shopping in more categories, according to an announcement shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer.
- Pinterest selected WooCommerce to help businesses set up e-commerce sites and experiences, and feed management providers like Feedonomics, Productsup and GoDataFeed to manage product inventory feeds for businesses.
- Pinterest also added shoppable experience platforms like Shoppable, MikMak, Jebbit and Basketful to connect products seen in a pinned image with retailers that can fulfill orders and make it easier to shop. The company is collaborating with PixelYourSite and Tealium to help track closed-loop measurement of online shopping conversions and sales.
Pinterest's rebranded partnership program comes as the social media company seeks to support more merchants on its platform, which lets people collect images on digital pinboards. The company has aimed to distinguish itself from other social media sites with an emphasis on aspirational products and services, such as wedding planning, home remodeling, travel or fashion. By making those images more transactional, Pinterest can support social commerce, grow its ad business and draw more brands and users to its platform. More than half (57%) of weekly Pinterest users, or Pinners, use its app while they're shopping in stores, according to a study by market researcher GfK.
The refreshed Pinterest Partners program is the platform's latest play to increase social commerce. Pinterest in March updated its Shopping Ads to help marketers place products in shoppable images that are seen by millions of people. The company also added a Catalogs feature to let brands upload an entire product catalog and turn images into shoppable Product Pins. Levi Strauss and Room & Board were among the brands that tested Pinterest's expanded social shopping features. Pinterest last month reported revenue growth of 54% to $201.9 million in Q1 from a year earlier, in line with estimates, although its future guidance was considered disappointing, per CNBC.
Almost half (47%) of social media users saw Pinterest as the platform for discovering and shopping for products, more than three times higher than those who cited Facebook or Instagram, according to a February survey by Cowen and Co. However, when it comes to driving e-commerce, Facebook and Instagram are more effective than Pinterest, a separate study found. Facebook drove 80% of all U.S. social referral to retail sites in Q1, followed by Instagram (11%) and Pinterest (8.2%), according to Adobe Insights data cited by eMarketer.
Pinterest is not alone in the social commerce space, which is in flux. Amazon recently shut down Spark, a social commerce app it started two years ago to compete with Instagram, TechCrunch reported. The shutdown is a sign that Amazon Spark failed to gain traction as Facebook-owned Instagram added more shopping features to drive direct sales for brands.
Instagram last month created a special account called @shop to bring together posts from online merchants that sell products through the app. In March, Instagram debuted a native checkout feature with over 20 U.S. brands that let shoppers pay for products without leaving the app, and extended the tool to 55 creators and five publishers for testing in April.