Pinterest Goes After Visual Search Market Share

Pinterest has quietly been building on ways to capitalize on intent data in an effort to be recognized as a visual search engine and not just a social site.

In the coming months the company will clarify how it intends to use its roots as a social network to take a bigger piece of search advertising and marketing by teaching brands and consumers how to search outside the box.

That type of thinking aims to create a better experience that brings consumers close to brands.

Jon Kaplan, a former Googler and now global head of partnerships at Pinterest, said the company is about to announce the general availability of its app install business launched to a handful of advertising in a beta release, and make a bigger push into video to support visual search by focusing on its Promoted Video product, with changes coming soon.

"We think search is going to be an important part of our business for the next couple of quarters as we head into the fourth quarter of the year," Kaplan said.



The first set of feed-based advertisements have begun to roll through Kenshoo's platform, based on the partnership announced in February. Kaplan said Pinterest has been in discussions with other platforms to expand its presence in search.

About 75% of women in the U.S. ages 18 to 34 use Pinterest, but that could change with men accounting now for about 40% of the daily sign-ups on the site, Kaplan said.

About 150 million visit Pinterest monthly. And while the company is still learning how to grow internationally, Kaplan claims the number of users in the U.S. is larger than Twitter's 67 million monthly active users.

"In the U.S. we should be thought of as the same size as Twitter, if not larger, but we're not," Kaplan said. "If you look at the number of Snapchat's Millennial audience in the U.S., we have about 97% the size of theirs."

Digital marketing firm Omnicore estimates that 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34.  

The total number of Snapchat active users is estimated at more than 300 million, and about 70% are female.

With its IPO now behind it, Snapchat is poised for explosive growth this year. In 2017, Snapchat's ad revenue will grow 157.8% to $770 million in the U.S., per eMarketer. Snapchat's ad business -- which is made up entirely of mobile display -- is still small and will account for a mere 1.3% of the U.S. mobile ad market this year, growing to 2.7% by 2019, estimates the analyst firm. The display ad revenue should reach $77 million this year, up from $30 million in 2016.

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