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I've been a fan of Pinterest for a long time, though I rarely use it these days.

I've been fascinated, and slightly horrified, by their pivot away from social functionality and towards a vision of a neutral bookmarking site.

It's not that I'd want Pinterest to be more social in and as an end itself, but rather because I think it better incentivizes people to create good quality content, and it makes it easier to discover things I want to find.

There's very little ROI for cultivating a public image on Pinterest, so few people put much effort into doing it. At the same time, people who have taste similar to mine are a much better way to find things than any algorithm Pinterest has ever released. And yet, they keep emphasizing algorithmic recommendations while disincentivizing people from publicly expressing their taste and making it harder for me to follow people I like.

And then there are the ads, which, as a bunch of other commenters have pointed out, tend to be really far out of line from anything I've ever expressed interest in. It's just off-putting to see a bunch of low-quality ads for tacky crap in the middle of my feed of minimalist interiors.

Maybe they have something up their sleeves, or maybe I'm very different from their target user. Otherwise I just don't agree with their product direction.




>And then there are the ads, which, as a bunch of other commenters have pointed out, tend to be really far out of line from anything I've ever expressed interest in. It's just off-putting to see a bunch of low-quality ads for tacky crap in the middle of my feed of minimalist interiors.

This seems likely to be an inventory issue more than anything else. Fine-grained targeting requires fine-grained ads which requires a sub-linearly scaling sales team.


Well, it's hard to get good advertisers when the ROI isn't there.

It's not something you'll hear unless you're in the know, but there is a pretty high level of animosity towards Pinterest in most retail marketing departments. I love Pinterest, so it was surprising to learn when we started this work, but it boils down to: 1) traffic from Pinterest ads show very poor quality / engagement. 2) Pinterest has not been a good partner - they've actively "snubbed" a number of big labels. There are even a few major retailers who "deleted their Pinterest". 3) Organic Pinterest basically doesn't work, so they won't even put an intern part time onto managing their Pinterest account. Even one of their top retailers, Nordstrom, appears to use a bot to post to their account.

When your ad dollars don't show ROI, people spend elsewhere. And if your main customers aren't engaging your platform, that's definitely trouble too.


If Pinterest ads don't show ROI why is their revenue growing? People say the adboard is full of diet, teeth whitening, fidget spinners, these campaigns are all about a ROI or otherwise they wouldn't exist.

So yeah, a ton of fear mongering on here. I'm long on Pinterest.


Email spam also has ROI, for products even less serious than the worst you find on Pintrest. It only takes a very few to make it worthwhile. But the users that don't buy might be more inclined to leave the platform if ads are too invasive and low quality.


That is an entirely different argument and one easily refuted by the fact that Facebook has thrived even when the base of their ad revenues is built on scammy ad campaigns.


On the other hand, people "need" to be on Facebook, and have needed to since before some of the worst of the ads.


But their non scammy ads return positive ROI, which brings advertisers back.


"..people who have taste similar to mine are a much better way to find things than any algorithm Pinterest has ever released"

Yep, I could not have said it better. Pinterest is now intent on serving us up predigested pap, while at the same time serving us up more literally to advertisers. Item: It's impossible now to discover who else likes a pin that you love. It's bewildering, it's a sea-change, and it effectively renders Pinterest useless to me now.


If they want to be a bookmarking site that also recommends items, they need a way to unequivocally say, "I'm not interest". I get wood working an fashion recommendations. Then one day at the height of Zootopia they recommended some comics based on the story. Tried to figure out how to say no. Apparently I missed. Now I get Zootopia every 5th recommendation.


How much of that is Pinterest trying to surface something incorrectly based on their matching algorithms, vs. the people advertising Zootopia using poorly-chosen or intentionally broad targeting settings?


I have no idea. But it's taking a Fury twist and I just don't want that.


How do you mean?


Sex and abortion.


Yes, I always placed Pinterest at the same end of the spectrum as Etsy.


I get wood working on fashion recommendations, too.


oh man, nice


Ads will likely improve over time. Remember when Facebook was filled with "one weird tip" ads?

My bigger concern is yours, that Pinterest will lose its human touch by removing social features. The new tried-it feature seems like a promising new foray into making Pinterest social again in a way that's uniquely Pinterest. Time will tell.


>disincentivizing people from publicly expressing their taste and making it harder for me to follow people I like.

"There isn’t a user-generated component on the platform, so people aren’t here to learn about what they’re friends are doing. They’re there to plan their lives. And people plan their lives through content that brands produce.” Tim Kendall https://www.fastcompany.com/40428266/pinterest-just-launched...


> "And people plan their lives through content that brands produce"

This sounds completely wrong to me...

However, I know I'm at least somewhat atypical in my spending habits & life planning, so it's hard for me to judge.


Algorithmic seems more amendable to monetization than user-submitted. If nobody knows the algorithm (and supposing they can get one working well), then nobody knows how if {new movie X} pops up organically or because its production company spent advertising budget to make that happen.


I watched this really interesting mico-documentary just last night - I think you'd like it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cZWPId-KNg




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