Pinterest announced this week the acquisition of image indexing startups The Hunt and Pext to improve its ability to recommend relevant pins. Pext cofounder Harsh Goel is expected to bring knowledge of image indexing and Hunt cofounder and CEO Tim Weingarten will be tapped for his expertise in mobile shopping. Once again, it appears as if Pinterest is focusing on search capabilities – especially on mobile – rather than attempting to compete with emerging social platforms. Just a few weeks ago, it launched visual search to help users search image selections without typing word.
L2’s Digital IQ Index: Fashion finds that brands in the category are embracing Pinterest. Among emerging social platforms (Vine, Pinterest, Periscope, Google+, and Snapchat), Pinterest is by far the most popular with 74% of brands in the study active on the platform. And frequent posts have paid off for select brands. Alice + Olivia, for example, has invested heavily on Pinterest with a profile featuring 36 boards and 10,200 pins (4x the Index average). As a result, the brand’s reach is 1.2x the Index average with 43,000 fans.
Pinterest could resonate even more with fashion brands as a visual search engine, since most brands in the category rely on search for site traffic. Half of all site traffic to luxury brands comes from search, compared to just 40% for mass brands. Savvy brands have recognize the importance of search and invested accordingly. Fashion brands control 35% of organic first-page search real estate on Google for their own terms, and retailers like Neiman Marcus dominate on paid results.
Furthermore, more searches are happening on Pinterest’s other area of focus: mobile. Smartphones now drive half of search volume vs. just 35% in 2014. Brands could find Pinterest even more beneficial if it becomes a destination for mobile and visual search.