The idea of incorporating search into social is not new. Facebook launched Graph Search in 2012 to allow users to search for the people and posts that are most important to users. Twitter has been refining its “Trends” feature since the beginning to allow users to access content trending at any moment. As network adoption grows and users produce more and more content, search has become a necessity to cut through the noise to discover the information that is most valuable at any given moment. This presents a golden opportunity for marketers, since users reveal much more about their current interest in the search process.
One platform that has brought content discovery to the forefront of its experience is Pinterest. Most search environments are great for answering specific questions such as "the weather in San Francisco" or finding a specific product or service like "Chipotle," but Pinterest can help with questions that have more than one right answer. "Where’s your next vacation or what’s for dinner tonight"? With so many possibilities, you might not know the best one until you see it.
Pinterest surfaces descriptive guides based on your search and helps you sift through all the great ideas from other pinners. This process allows the user to find what they are looking for, but it also helps the user find other things they might not have originally been looking for when they started. This form of search leads to an entirely new level of discovery.
But the 'Guided Search" experience provides more than just useful information -- it provides highly visual inspiration. Brilliant images, photos, and well-designed creative helps users connect with ideas on a much deeper and emotional level than simple text-based search tools. On Pinterest, users can truly “see” what the future looks like and can envision themselves in that future, in a very real way.
This unique experience also offers a powerful opportunity for marketers. It is different from other forms of search marketing because Pinterest users are not on a narrow search, they are on a journey of discovery. With two-thirds of all Pinterest content coming from businesses, it is the brands that are providing the inspiration.
Here, marketers have an opportunity to be at the center of the consumers’ planning process, and there no more desirable place to be. Whether it is creating awareness, driving consideration and intent, or converting to a sale, marketers can intersect with engaged pinners across every stage of their journey.
We have seen that the most effective way to take advantage of this opportunity is through compelling creative content. Catching the eye of a pinner as they explore ideas is the best way to make an impression. Simple, elegant, and well-designed pins will add value to the user by improving the discovery experience, as well as capture attention and drive brand impact. Pinners are on a visual exploration, seeking inspiration for the future and open to new and interesting things. Making a strong visual connection is important to driving intent.
Guided Search on Pinterest is changing the way consumers discover, become inspired, and act on their inspiration. It is helping to broaden horizons by showing many possibilities, not just delivering the narrow results of an explicit search. We don’t know what the future holds. But on Pinterest we can see what it can become.