Brand marketers and their agency partners are trying to figure out how to optimize for visual search in Pinterest, as the site known for social media works to change its scrapbooking tool image and appeal more to search engine advertisers.
High-quality images increase click-through and engagement rates, but understanding the algorithms behind the scenes to take advantage of the technology becomes confusing without the data -- "some sort of transparency," marketers told Search Marketing Daily.
Now The Wall Street Journal reports that during the past few months the company has been "making the rounds with advertisers trying to persuade them it's not a social network but rather a place where consumers search for and discover products."
The move by Pinterest focuses on a need by search advertisers to optimize and monetize the images for visual search. eMarketer forecasts that U.S. advertisers will spend $26.5 billion in 2015 on search, compared with $10.4 billion in social media.
Toni Box, senior director of social media at PM Digital, believes Pinterest continues to become more search-engine like, capitalizing on a change in user behavior. Box says Pinterest developed "intelligent search" in image recognition technology, gender-customized results, and guided search that aids in discovery.
Pinterest went so far as to acquire in January an image-recognition startup VisualGraph, a two-person startup specializing in visual search.
Since then, Pinterest has created a library of more than 50 billion user-collected pins, setting the company apart from its social networking cousins, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Pinterest has been trying to think outside the box for quite some time, but shaking its social image won't be easy. For starters, search engine advertisers want to use more images because they attract clicks, but Pinterest first must convince search marketers it can offer the same transparency when it comes to data as Bing, Google, and Yahoo.