Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Pinterest Presents: Why the platform wants to get (more) personal

In March, Pinterest – the image sharing and social media service – will host its first advertiser summit. Ahead of the event, New Digital Age caught up with Visha Naul, Director of Business Marketing for Europe for a sneak preview.

What is Pinterest Presents? Who is it for and why now?

Pinterest Presents is our first ever advertiser summit. On March 3rd audiences will tune in from around the world to view an event that’s been specially curated for their market. We’re hosting the event for the marketing community, and that means welcoming advertisers, agencies, creatives and marketers who are either already advertising on Pinterest or are interested in learning more about how to uniquely reach audiences on the platform, and achieve brand success in a thriving online market. If you’re part of this industry and would like to register, you can sign up on

With most of us currently living and working remotely, it felt more important than ever to maintain a connection with our brand and agency partners. We wanted to find a creative and thoughtful way to offer them an immersion into Pinterest’s vision to build a positive and inclusive platform.

So, we designed Pinterest Presents as a way to replicate the buzz and excitement of an in-person experience virtually. We’ve approached it more like a content-rich talk-show rather than a traditional virtual conference. Pinterest Presents will be entertaining, engaging, full of insights you can actually use as well as real industry case studies, and some fun surprises too.

We’re also committed to creating an inclusive experience for all. From our product experience to how we think about our marketing output, it’s part of our values. So it felt natural to build this into the event too. With the expertise of Sinéad Burke, the Founder of Tilting the Lens, and one of our speakers, Pinterest Presents is certified as a DICE-recommended event with the maximum score of 100%. We ensured that access for all includes an event invitation with a specific prompt for attendees to confirm their accessibility accommodations, color contrast in the event branding created to give access to attendees who have low-vision, and captions and sign-language interpretation for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

What can attendees expect to learn from the virtual conference?

We have an exciting line-up of Pinterest speakers including our Co-Founder and CEO, Ben Silbermann, our Chief Marketing Officer, Andréa Mallard, and Milka Kramer, UK & Ireland Country Manager at Pinterest. Our UK edition will be hosted by Katherine Ryan and we will inspiring sessions from compelling local industry voices such as Elizabeth Day (journalist and broadcaster) and Karen Blackett OBE (UK Country Manager, WPP, CEO, Group M), who will talk about personal and professional stories of positive failure through the lens of inspiration, but also Steven Bartlett (Founder of Social Chain) and Alex Loizou (Founder of Trouva) who will discuss being an entrepreneur and heading up a challenger brand. We’ll also have some very special guests that we will be announcing to registrants just before the event on March 3rd.

What sets Pinterest apart from the other platforms for advertisers?

Pinterest Presents is a unique opportunity for marketers to have a first-hand view of how Pinterest differentiates itself and prove why advertising on the platform is a ‘must-buy’. We’ll share some exciting ad updates that will allow advertisers to engage in new ways with the more than 450 million monthly Pinterest users, and we’ll also unveil key findings from a brand new audience study.

What’s special and truly unique about Pinterest is that we have a uniquely decision-oriented, commercially minded audience. That means ads are additive on Pinterest and we’re putting brands in front of consumers who are open to discovering something new and are full of commercial intent. In fact, 84% of weekly Pinterest users come to the platform when they are considering products and services to buy but are undecided, and 97% of the top searches on Pinterest are non-branded. Retailers who use Pinterest well, understand that their customers on Pinterest travel from inspiration to action and back again on the platform and savvy retailers on Pinterest target content and advertising accordingly.

It’s important to remember that people come to Pinterest to plan. This means they are coming to Pinterest to look for new ideas and are actively considering what to do or buy next. So, brands and businesses can reach them when they are making a decision about what products and services to try. Ads have a natural home on Pinterest, adding value to the user experience. People go to other platforms to interact with friends or read the news, you don’t need or want ads in those environments. You do need ads and information however when making decisions for your life.

How should marketers realign their social strategies this year?

Marketers need to find new and efficient ways to move people down the funnel – as everyone fights for attention on digital screens, and shoppable moments are ubiquitous than ever before. Because Pinterest is grounded in the future, we get an earlier indication of where consumers are headed, and can help brands and agencies predict what is to come for their category. Some have made simple tweaks to existing assets so they better suit the times. Others have quickly developed new creative or offers to address new needs.

Pinterest provides a unique and different opportunity for advertisers, and they’re seeing results. Many brand categories such as food, tech, telco and general e-commerce have able to reach audiences in the form of tips, editorial content from their website or blog, products, a new use case, and more. We’re also continuing to make it easier for marketers to use our services and scale on Pinterest which in turn helps diversify our advertiser base and improve ad relevance.

How has the pandemic cemented or changed the way that users and advertisers are using the platform?

We’ve reached all-time highs for engagement globally over the past year. It’s been a hard year for everyone as we’ve navigated through uncertain times. Pinterest is a positive corner of the internet, where people find inspiration to create a life they love – even during hard times. We’re seeing that consumers are looking for a personal media experience, a positive place on the Internet to make these inspired decisions. Now more than ever, people are looking for places to be inspired and find answers to their day to day challenges.

People use Pinterest to find new possibilities and bring them to life. In fact, according to Nielsen, 98% of Pinners report trying new things they find on Pinterest, compared to an average of only 71% across social media platforms. Businesses can reach people on Pinterest when they’re planning to act and open to new ideas. The combination of consumer planning behavior and open mindset provides great results for marketers no matter what their objective – brand awareness, customer acquisition or retention. We expect advertisers will continue to show consumers how they’ve changed with them during this time.

Fashion, food, home and beauty are some of our top categories, and we expect people will continue to discover products to shop in these areas, helping brands reach new and existing customers. The top categories are the same across countries – food, home, fashion and beauty, but what people are actually saving in each country is aligned with their local tastes.

Pinterest has always been a place where people can be themselves and be inspired by new things. It’s heartwarming to find that recently, their searches overwhelmingly reflect a sense of optimism and a specific focus on well-being and self care.

In the burgeoning age of social commerce, what can you offer?

At Pinterest we’re building a place to shop online—not just a place to buy. We think shopping is about more than searching for a singular product—it’s about browsing, being inspired by new ideas and discovering what you didn’t even know you wanted. Particularly at the moment as people can’t visit and wander the aisles of their favourite shops, it’s become important for us and our partners to work out how to recreate the magic of that experience in the online world.

We launched a suite of shopping features in the UK in 2020 including Product Pins and Lens visual search, to make it as easy as possible for people to find something they love, and be able to click through and buy it. We’re delighted that over 800 brands have uploaded their catalogues in the UK including retailers like Topshop, John Lewis, and Trouva. 2020 saw a 60% increase in searches and 40% increase in saves on Pinterest, which is an all-time high engagement rate.

In terms of what’s next – our ultimate vision for shopping is that you’ll be able to buy anything you see on Pinterest, or get personalised recommendations for something just like it. Every Pin can be a starting point for shopping and it should be seamless from Pin to purchase. Our shopping features will continue to build on this vision.