Pinterest’s New Search Feature Will Take The Product Discovery To The New Level



At the end of 2015, Pinterest has released a new search function which enables users to search by content within an image.

The feature is quite handy (and cool addition to the Pinterest experience) and has been developed by the platform’s relatively small design team, in comparison to how bigger players like Facebook and Google are developing their own advanced image recognition capabilities. Now, as part of their ongoing efforts to convert the platform into a major eCommerce and online shopping destination, Pinterest’s looking to advance the feature in order to make it easier to use and a more natural element in the on-platform search process.

Now, Pinterest is experimenting with a new form of “enhanced product recommendations by object recognition”. In essence, it’s Pinterest’s search by image functionality re-packaged, with a red dot to appear on items within a Pin image (when you hover over the picture) prompting you to “Click on the red dot to see similar looks”.


The system uses Pinterest’s object recognition technology “to detect products such as bags, shoes and skirts from a Pin’s image”. Once detected, the system allocates the red dot – in testing, Pinterest’s system has identified over 80 million ‘clickable’ objects from a subset of their Pin image base. Pinterest recently launched the red dot system to a small percentage of live users to see how they responded to the option.

“Specifically, we looked at the clickthrough rate of the dot, the clickthrough rate on our visual search results, and also compared engagement on Similar Look results with the existing Related Pin recommendations.”

Pinterest’s research team found that an average of 12% of users who viewed a pin with a dot clicked on it, and those users went on to click on an average 0.55 ‘Similar Look’ results.


While the test data doesn’t necessarily provide overwhelming evidence as to the potential utility of the red dot function, it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless, underlining the ongoing efforts Pinterest’s going to in order to improve their search process and turn their platform into a more shopper-friendly place to discover – and ideally purchase – new products.