Pinterest is introducing a new way to browse its site with the addition of a category called “Personalized for You.” This new section is essentially a version of Pinterest based entirely on your interests. For example, a fashion-focused Pinterest user might see categories like boots, jackets, dresses, or jewelry on this page, which they could then click into and further explore.
The feature is not yet available to all users, indicating that it could be the first step within a larger rollout, or a public-facing personalization experiment. We asked Pinterest to clarify this, but the company declined to offer further details.
From our understanding, some selection of the Pinterest user base is seeing a notification asking them if they would like to try this new feature when they log in.
This option started appearing in select users’ accounts this week, where it becomes available in Pinterest’s top navigation. That’s where you find your “Home Feed,” the “Popular” feed, the “Everything” feed, and other categories like “Art,” “Food & Drink,” “Home Decor,” “Travel,” “Weddings,” and many more. For those users who are able to access the new personalized section, it is now the first option in this category list.
Your “personalized” page itself is a collection of words and topics that seem to be based on your pinning activity. What’s different about this section is not only the content, but also the look-and-feel, which is somewhat Flipboard-esque. Instead of uniformly sized pins, some sections here are larger than others, likely indicating you’re doing more pinning around that particular topic.
Also interesting is that each individual category page within your personalized section shows which pins inspired its suggestions.
Early feedback from the Pinterest user base has been positive, with many expressing excitement about the addition, surprise, or even shock at well Pinterest seems to know their interests.
The only somewhat negative review we’ve come across so far is one posted on a blog called “Posh Purpose,” where the user complained that she had no interest in one of the categories presented on her page, saying she was only doing research on the topic. Of course, this “research” took place before she apparently wrote about the subject and then pinned her own article to Pinterest – so I’d argue Pinterest understands her pretty well, in fact.
As you may recall, Pinterest has been slowly working to better personalize its service since the middle of last year, when it first introduced a way for users to opt out of having their activity tracked. The company’s decision to implement this “Do Not Track” toggle switch was meant to head off any future complaints before the company scaled up its personalization efforts in full force.
At the time, Pinterest noted that it would introduce a new “Edit Your Home Feed” button on web and mobile which would make it easier for you to follow and unfollow boards. When users entered into this editing mode, they would then be met with personalized pin and board suggestions based on things they had already been pinning on the service.
Later, when Pinterest rolled out support for “Promoted Pins” (in beta testing with advertisers now), the idea was to not inflict an awful advertising experience on the Pinterest user base with things like flashy banners or pop-ups, but instead showcase native ads in the form of subtly marked sponsored pin placements that blend into the overall look-and-feel of the site.
And most importantly, which Promoted Pins a user sees is, again, dependent on their interests.
Brands testing the Promoted Pins beta today include big names like Disney, Nordstrom, Four Seasons, Hellmann’s and Tresemme (Unilever), to name a few. A fully personalized version of Pinterest would offer brands like these and others a great place to showcase their Promoted Pins, where their placement would make even more sense to the end user.
The personalized page has another benefit as well – it allows you to explore Pinterest in a way that’s not dependent on who you follow on the service. That’s something which Pinterest has struggled with, as advertisers and brands looked to the “following” metric as if it was meaningful. In fact, Pinterest has even considered discarding this metric entirely, from what we’ve heard.
It’s easy enough to envision a different sort of Pinterest where what you see and explore is less about which friends or accounts you follow on the service, but rather what sort of things you like to pin and share.
UPDATE, 5:45 PM ET: This article was updated to reflect Pinterest’s comment. The full statement provided states, “We’re always working on ways to help people discover the best Pins for them based on their interests. We’re currently testing features to help people get to these Pins quickly, but have no further details to share at this time.”
(Image credits: TechCrunch sources and Posh Purpose blog)