Pinterest Improves Its Search Features

Pinterest today announced a few changes to its new look that will make people and pins easier to find.

New to the image bookmarking site is a “find friends” tab that shows users when their Facebook and Twitter friends have joined Pinterest. User notifications, displayed in the upper right corner, will also show recent follows, repins, comments, and likes. People can also mention each other in a post by using the “@” key, just like on Twitter.

As for finding images, Pinterest has added a suggestion tool that, like Google’s Autocomplete tool, fills in the blanks of a search query with several options. For “bacon,” explained Pinterest product manager Cory Carpenter, “you might see suggestions like ‘bacon roses’ or ‘bacon desserts.’”

That’s not all Pinterest has in common with Google.

In a survey of its 10 most active clients, Pingage, a pay-for-performance Pinterest marketing optimization company, found that the click-through rates on Pinterest were comparable to those for organic searches. Researchers discovered an average pin-to-website click-through rate of 1.1 percent, based on a sample of 1.1 billion Pinterest impressions dating back to January 1, 2013. For organic searches, the industry average CTR is between 1 and 3 percent.

“Like in search, people specifically choose to use Pinterest to search for and discover content. They are ready to act and click,” explained Bob Gilbreath, president and co-founder of Pingage. “Despite the many images that appear on a Pinterest users’s feed, the level of action that a brand can see is substantial, compared to other social networks where CTR is less than 0.1 percent.”

Pinterest can also improve the experience of using a search engine through its organizational features.

Back by popular demand is the “see it now” button that takes users straight to their pins after they post, as well as the “pinned from” button that serves as a “via” feature to credit the people who find interesting pins to share. These features had been left out of the redesigned layout that the company rolled out in March.

While Pinterest is working on improving the user experience, Carpenter noted that certain organizational features, “like the ability to rearrange your pins, search for your pins, know when you’ve pinned something already, or create a board within a board” were “tricky” and did not make the cut this time.

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