Pinterest Launches Visual Discovery Tool

Pictures, not words, are what Pinterest is all about. With Pinterest Lens, the image platform's search and discovery functions have gotten camera-ready too, thanks to the addition of artificial intelligence.

Pinterest is rolling out a beta test of a new search function that aims to match discovery to images, not words.

Dubbed Pinterest Lens, “it lets you use the camera in your Pinterest app to discover ideas inspired by objects you see out in the real world,” the company says Evan Sharp, co-founder and head of product at Pinterest, in a blog post.

Pinterest Lens In Action

Pinterest is encouraging users — and marketers — to focus the Lens function on apparel, home decor, and food items.

Pinterest app users can open the Lens function by allowing access to their smartphone’s camera. Snapping a picture of a pair of shoes lets the user tap to see related styles as well as ideas for what else to wear them with. The same idea can be applied to a furniture item or even broccoli (assuming Pinterest users need recipes that go with a side dish).

“As more and more people give it a try, and we continue making improvements to our technology, results will get even better, and the range of objects Lens recognizes will get increasingly wider,” Pinterest says. “Eventually anything you see when you’re out and about can kick off a search for ideas to try. Just pull out your phone and see what Lens turns up.”

The use of Lens could aid retailers who already rely on Pinterest’s Promoted Pins to generate visits and sales.

As GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain reported last year, citing an Oracle Data Cloud’s study, Promoted Pins drive 5x more incremental in-store sales per impression — meaning that brands with a visible presence on Pinterest are remembered at the moment of purchase.

The idea of Lens is intended to build on Pinterest’s Shop The Look offering.

CB2, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Target, Wayfair, and other brands will all be offering shoppable looks, thanks to Pinterest’s new partnerships with Curalate, Olapic, Project September, Refinery29 and ShopStyle, the company notes.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.