About a year ago, Michael Lopp joined Pinterest as the company’s head of engineering — filling in the leadership of the engineering side next to co-founder Evan Sharp and CEO Ben Silbermann.
Much of his role, since joining, has been to help teams at Pinterest, which consist of units of engineers, designers and product managers, mesh and work well together. Lopp comes from both Apple and Palantir, where he saw environments that were focused on engineers and designers (or, in the case of Palantir, on the engineering side).
One in five photos or videos on Instagram show up with annoying whitespace around them because people use other apps to letterbox their landscape or portrait imagery to fit in Instagram’s square cropping. So today, Instagram for iOS and Android is dropping the requirement that all photos and videos be squares. Now when users upload photos, they can pinch or tap a format button on the left to post their landscape or portrait photos and videos. Squares are still allowed, though.
While Facebook continues to evolve social more generally, and Snapchat captures attention with its innovative visual tools, I do enjoy seeing how Pinterest is blazing its own path and developing unique products on their own accord.
Once not much more than a digital pin board application, Pinterest has evolved significantly in recent times – you might not necessarily be as aware of Pinterest’s development as you are of the other big platforms, but the changes are significant, and bear relevance for a great many brands looking to best utilize social and generate best returns.
Pinterest has made a small, but significant change, adding a search bar to the home screen of their app.
As explained by Pinterest:
“Now, instead of having to open the Explore tab to search for ideas to try, you simply type what you’re looking for into the new search bar at the top of your home feed. You also have the Lens camera right there at the ready, so when you spot something out in the world that looks interesting, you can quickly tap open Lens to snap a photo and find related ideas.”
Pinterest has brought on a new executive to manage the technology its marketing developer partners use to power advertising campaigns on Pinterest.
Michael Akkerman, formerly a vice president at Kenshoo, will help manage the technology and relationships with the company’s advertising partners that are using its APIs. The company started its Marketing Developer Program earlier this year that gives its partners access to better tools to manage those campaigns on Pinterest.
While it may not compare with the size and scale of Facebook, Pinterest is steadily growing its user base, and is becoming a much bigger consideration for marketers, particularly those in the B2C sector.
The platform reached 175 million users back in April, and now, Pinterest has announced that their community has expanded to 200 million MAU – up 40% year-over-year.
Pinterest is doubling down on design, thanks to a new hire it’s announcing today. Susan Kare, the designer behind such well-known Macintosh icons as Lasso, the Grabber, and Paint Bucket, is joining the company as a product design lead.
As part of their ongoing effort to improve the business value of the platform, Pinterest is adding Pin-specific stats to each Pin, making the data easier to access and analyze – and action, in the case of switching to a Promoted Pin.
As explained by Pinterest:
“Now, when you visit your Pinterest for Business profile, you’ll find a new stats icon on each of your Pins. This gives you (and only you) a preview of that Pin’s total engagements. Trying to understand how much interest people are showing in your Pin? Use this feature to quickly scan your Pins and see which is getting the most action.”
As Pinterest continues its evolution from a social network to a ‘catalogue of ideas’, the opportunities for marketers on the platform are also developing in-step. And while Pinterest may have a lot fewer users than Facebook, Pinners come to the platform in a more focused mindset, with a defined shopping mission in mind. Indeed, research shows that up to 93% of Pinners use the platform to plan for or make purchases.
That trend is also evident in the home decor sector, in which US shoppers spent $122 billion in 2016.