There is a marked difference between search and discovery, according to Raashi Rosenberger, creative and brand strategist, Pinterest.
“As Pinterest first came to be, a lot of people were thinking about search, search as a very specific type of concept. It’s ‘Where I can get that particular black sweater?’ It’s very tactual, it’s factually right answers and it’s efficient retrieval,” Rosenberger explained.
In contrast, discovery — the founding pillar of the seven-year-old social platform — is centered on questions such as, “How can I wear that black sweater?” and “What are the different ways I can find a particular look?” She called Pinterest the destination people can go to discover collections, things and ideas that they love, where data shows that core categories are style and beauty.
Digging a little deeper into this data via a variety of ethnographers across the U.S. and global markets, Pinterest learned that its assumption about user behavior was incorrect. Rosenberger said the team assumed that people woke up filled with “stylistic passion” and fed this passion by scouring various tools, apps and magazines to find out what they should wear that day.
“We were super wrong. In fact people don’t wake up with that stylistic passion,” she admitted. “People put pretty little effort into what they wear on a day-to-day basis. Instead they think about four different criteria.”
These are: weather, the people they’re going to see, activities and mood.
“We know that magazines, street fashion and social will play a part into these different criteria and even though they don’t seek out this inspirational content, we know that they are looking at these different channels to be inspired,” Rosenberger added, calling the way ideas previously were stored as being in a “brain file.”
Today, this “brain file” has evolved into Pinterest and the Pinterest board, of which style is the third most popular category on the platform. There are over 2 billion style “saves” (Rosenberger put it into context, pointing out that this is more than the entire Amazon product catalog) and 70 percent of women use Pinterest once a week to discover style ideas.
More than anything, users are coming to the platform for planning outfits, with top searches revolving around finding the perfect outfits for everyday occasions that span business casual, back-to-school, date night and interviews. Overall, more than 123 million outfit ideas have been saved on Pinterest.
“[But] on top of everyday outfits, we see 56 percent of style shoppers are using Pinterst as the app for their in-store shopping experience.… Pinterest is used not only online but also in the real world,” Rosenberger said.