In the TikTok era, social media companies have been exploring ways to drive their networks with videos, and Pinterest is no exception. On Wednesday, the company announced Story Pins, a new publishing platform for creators interested in mobile interactive video content and analytics.
The new Story Pins feature lets influencers post videos, engage with followers and view metrics on how these types of pins are doing.
“We’ve decided it’s time to push our mission to inspire even further. It’s time to do more than connect people to what inspires them,” said Evan Sharp, cofounder and chief creative and design officer at Pinterest. “And so today we’re announcing new tools that connect ‘pinners’ directly with the people who inspire them.”
According to Sharp, the company is going to release those products “with guardrails” designed to keep Pinterest a positive and inspiring place. That’s why, he said, the platform is starting off as invite-only.
“We’re also going to have much higher content standards for this than other content on our platform,” he added. “This is how we’re going to make it possible for creators and pioneers to connect [in] an environment that’s positive-inspiring from Day One.”
Story Pins can work as stand-alone posts or multipage pins, and carry in-depth descriptions for things like step-by-step tutorials, full descriptions for a new fashion look, a list of travel tips or instructions for recipes. The goal is to inspire people to make, try and do. As for the parameters on the videos themselves, videos can be from 1 second to up to 60 seconds long. The company recommends using short, compelling videos for the most engagement.
While available on iOS, Android devices and the Web, iPhone-wielding creators can use the Pinterest camera to shoot and edit videos right on the device. The platform also allows for importing media, and adding text, voiceovers and music, as well as the ability to play with different filters, fonts and colors. And, as with all pins on the network, Story Pins can be saved to boards for later reference and won’t expire. In other words, these pins will last forever.
“This is part of the beauty of Pinterest and the way that Pinterest works,” explained David Temple, who leads creative products at the company. “And so, when pinners see a Story Pin, that Story Pin will often tell them about something that they want to take action on in their own lives.”
Influencers can also tag story pins with trending key words and, thanks to a new suite of creator tools, they can establish a creator profile that showcases their published content or offer message cards, so users can interact with them. People can leave reaction icons for sentiments like “great idea,” “love,” “wow” or others, or leave a comment or photo after they’ve tried out the idea in the pin.
Improvements to the platform’s analytics tools let creators track performance nearly in real time, the company added. Pin Stats offer key metrics like impressions and engagements right on the pin. A redesigned analytics dashboard shows details on content performance, such as the categories and interests that their audience engaged with the most. Audience insights let creators know more about their fan base, including info on demographic, geographic and top interests.
Of all the new features, fashion and beauty influencer Shiquita Hyman seems the most enthused about the content-editing tools. “I can do a voiceover, I can add music — you know, some things that I can’t necessarily do in other places,” she noted.
She also liked being able to search Black-owned or Black-oriented beauty trends on Pinterest, as the new tagging protocol was designed to help people discover areas of interest more easily. “[For] all of these things, I’ve been able to search the brands on Pinterest and see how other folks are using them as well,” she said. “I draw inspiration from that. Because although I love makeup a whole lot, eye shadow is not my strong point, so I really enjoy collecting inspiration for how other folks have done their eye shadow, especially using the same products. So it’s been so helpful.”
Naturally, Story Pins will draw comparisons to TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, as other video-friendly platforms or ones with “stories” models. Temple understands that tendency, but draws distinctions between Pinterest’s Story Pins and those offerings.
“The key differences are, one, our audience, who comes for positivity. Two, the product itself, which allows for saving and long-term value. And then three, the creators can reach people who are specifically looking for ideas on Pinterest,” he said.
“Story features on other platforms are designed to show you what people are doing, and Story Pins are designed to show you how people are trying new ideas and new projects,” he added. “And so this means that the features and the intent are dramatically different.”
Whether distinct or not, for brands and influencers looking for more live product demos and, perhaps, live shopping opportunities, Story Pins could become another implement in what’s becoming a rapidly expanding tool box.