Pinterest announced changes to its beta Pinterest Lens mobile feature in a company blog on Wednesday, including more helpful tools and a more stylish design, in hopes of ramping up the site’s discovery capabilities.
Over the last month, the platform has doubled the number of categories Lens has been trained to recognize, the company said. Lens can now recognize and recommend outfit ideas for a much wider variety of shoes, shirts, hats and other styles.
Responding to feedback that many Lens users wait until later to “Lens” photos they take, Pinterest has made it easier to go to the latest pics from a camera roll, which can be found right when Lens is opened.
Pinterest's focus on consumer lifestyles and aesthetics has long made social commerce a natural fit for the platform, and its latest offerings — including the beta Lens feature and Shop the Look — allow for easier product search and less friction on the path to purchase. Brands have often struggled to measure and prove ROI for their social marketing efforts but deeper retail integration from Pinterest could bolster these strategies, and the site has strong partners like Target and Wayfair coming on board.
Lens requires a sharp, clear photo, and Pinterest said it's added zoom and focus features to better pinpoint what users are looking for. The feature's results also now include an “instant ideas” button (a little white circle in the corner of each Pin), so that when Lens serves up an idea users like, they can tap the circle to instantly see more possibilities inspired by that look.
"You can keep going from there, tapping more circles and finding more ideas you love," the company said on its blog. "Before long, you find yourself 'down the Pinterest rabbit hole,' as many Pinners like to describe it, going deeper and deeper from good idea to good idea until you find something so perfect for you, you want to put down your phone and give it a try."
Pinterest's discovery upgrades also echo Instagram's "shoppable photos" feature, first tested in November. More direct purchasing options on these platforms should not only prove a boon for big brand pages but also for smaller social influencers. In the past, influencer reach has often been measured around relatively arbitrary metrics like likes and shares, but offerings such as Shop the Look can more directly track whether or not a sponsored post translates to a sale.
Pinterest has a robust influencer market and has made active efforts at better matching influencers with brands through a "creative ecosystem" called Pin Collective, which launched last October. The platform, on the whole, has been ramping up its tools for marketers, notably by expanding audience and measurements partnerships via its Marketing Developers Program.