Pinterest is trying to reposition its business as a home for creators, not just a site for shopping inspiration. Today, the company revealed its latest efforts in the field, which include more features inspired by Snapchat and TikTok, including a vertical video feed and plans to invest $20 million in “Creator Rewards.” It also announces a series of expanded creator tools, such as the ability to respond to videos with “Takes,” support for the Amazon Associates affiliate program, and more, as well as the release of original content.
Earlier this year the company introduced Idea Pins, a video-specific feature aimed at creators that’s like a mix of both TikTok and Stories. These Pins allow Pinterest users to record and edit creative videos using tools similar to those you might find on other short video platforms – such as background music, transitions, and interactive elements. Idea Pins can be up to 60 seconds in length, but unlike a traditional short video, a video can only be one part of what Pin offers – it can also include up to 20 pages of content per Pin, which you click through like in Stories. This might allow the creator to explain the various steps involved in recreating a recipe or DIY project, for example.
Now, Pinterest is redesigning its homepage to better highlight these Pins in a TikTok-like format. Users can choose to either “Browse” or “See” Pins when searching for inspiration by selecting the associated tab in the homepage feed. The new Watch tab will launch users into a full-screen feed of Idea Pins which you scroll vertically and you can interact with, by leaving likes and comments, or by saving a Pin for later access. Although the experience of viewing these video-enabled Pins is a lot like browsing TikTok or Instagram Reels, you can still tap to see more Pins pages, as you do with Stories, when they are available.
(You will know if the Pin has more pages as the bottom progress bar will be cut off, rather than showing you the video progress.)
Overall, the design of this watch feed is largely inspired by TikTok, featuring full-screen videos and interaction buttons stacked vertically to the right. While Pinterest changes the layout a bit by introducing support for additional pages, the resulting content is very similar to Pinterest’s TikTok feed.
However, one area where Pinterest can have an advantage is that it allows viewers to save and organize their Pin into Pinterest boards. Meanwhile, TikTok is sorely lacking in terms of saving and organizing the content you like and want to come back to, which has led many users to download videos to their phones instead. This censorship of the TikTok part can become a competitive advantage if not addressed, as many users want to save things like beauty lessons, recipes, cleaning tips, decorating ideas, and other content that overlaps with Pinterest.
In another nod to TikTok — which allows creators to interact with each other’s content through features like Duets and Stitches — Pinterest is also today introducing its own creator response feature called “Takes.”
Using Takes, creators will be able to reply to someone else’s Idea Pin with one of their own, as the response is linked to the original. Think: a creator can try someone’s recipe but then submit their own formula; They can try to replicate the project proposed by another creator, and show their results; They can show off their Halloween costume ideas and invite responses. and so on and so on.
To kick off “Takes,” Pinterest is attracting celebrities to participate, including Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion, and Storm Reed. (The company has used celebrities before to promote its other creator-focused efforts, including Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, during this year’s virtual creators event.)
Additionally, creators can add a new “Try On” sticker to Idea Pins, which allows viewers to virtually try on lip products using augmented reality. This is a fairly common use of augmented reality these days, and even Google, YouTube, Snap, and other beauty apps and retailers have embraced the technology. Pinterest, which has offered a lipstick trial since last year, expanded to trial eyeshadow in early 2021. Pinterest says the new label will support more than 10,000 tryable products.
The company is also launching its own original content series, Creator Originals, featuring more than 100 creators in 10 countries, running through January 2022. Creators will teach Pinterest users new skills in areas such as beauty, home décor, wellness, fashion, cooking and more. . Participants include Priscilla Ono, Kelly Wearstler, Ally Love, Zerina Akers, Kah Spence, Joshua Weisman, Kia Cox, Matt Sanders and more.
In addition to new product announcements, the bigger news is that Pinterest will now attempt to seed its network with more content creators by paying creators directly.
The company says it is launching a $20 million Creator Rewards fund in the US — the first-ever monetization program for in-product creators — that will pay creators to participate in its Pinterest challenges. This is an expansion of Pinterest’s April announcement of the $500,000 Creator Fund, which compensated American content creators with money to create content and ad credits.
Access to Creator Rewards is available through the new ‘Creator Hub’ on Pinterest, where creators can manage their presence on Pinterest. The company says it will also provide “small grants” to fund various projects. The company suggests that this might include things like a community garden, a health program, or a new beauty theme.
Creators will have other ways to make money as well. US content creators will now be able to tag their Pins using the existing product tagging tool with links from their Amazon Associates program. (The program has already provided support for affiliate programs like Rakuten and ShopStyle as of this summer.)
And content creators can now enable Pinterest’s visual search-powered shopping recommendations (a “similar store” feature), which is video-enabled for the first time — yet another effort to catch up with TikTok and its suite of e-commerce features.
Taken together, the products point to Pinterest desperately trying to reinvent itself for the TikTok era, largely by copying TikTok’s features and then adding its own twists. You will not be alone in doing this. TikTok, the most downloaded app worldwide, supports copying across top social media platforms including Instagram, YouTube, Snap, Reddit and more. But for Pinterest, this is a particular threat, as many of the best TikTok videos are those that are informative or inspiring and then lead directly to purchases — essentially, the entire Pinterest business model. The company hopes to restore creators’ interest in these new tools, while also providing them with ways to monetize their followers beyond virtual perks or brand engagements.
Pinterest says its new features will be rolling out starting today on iOS, Android, and the web.