Pinterest is adding a new feature today that allows users to pinch a photo to zoom in and out on various Pins, matching a feature that’s available on a lot of other services, like Instagram.
Pinterest is trying to be a central hub of high-quality photos and videos centered around ideas and products, but this still more or less exemplifies that the ability to manipulate photos within the app has started to become table stakes for sites like Pinterest. It also has to refine its visual search product as more and more companies offer similar products, like Google (ironically also called Lens, the same name as Pinterest’s camera search product). As the company becomes increasingly focused on mobile and discovery centered around photos, users will start expecting the kinds of behaviors that exist on other services (like Instagram) to exist on Pinterest.
One of Pinterest’s core directives is to push people closer and closer toward a moment of inspiration where they act on some kind of idea they discover on Pinterest. That can include buying a product, downloading an app or even changing things in their closet based on something they see on Pinterest. If Pinterest is able to do that, it can go to advertisers and explain that it has a different kind of user behavior that they won’t find on Facebook or Snap — and get them to start spending a lot of money on Pinterest.
Zooming in on a photo to get a better look at something seems like a good feature for digging through cluttered photos in order to identify a product. Pinterest is giving users a way to take photos in order to search for products, but those kinds of amateur photos might not have the right products in focus. That might be especially true for rooms in homes and could hold true even for professional photos.
That might also help Pinterest fend off apps picking off certain use cases that the company has traditionally owned. Houzz, for example, is trying to become a go-to place for interior design and products you would buy for your home. That’s catapulted Houzz into a startup with a $4 billion valuation.
Pinterest is also making a small tweak to make the option to search visually on a Pin easier to find. All these kinds of tweaks may seem somewhat small. But the sum of these incremental changes may help Pinterest continue to show advertisers that it’s a company that deserves a big chunk of their ad budgets typically reserved for Google and Facebook. Pinterest recently raised capital at a $12.3 billion valuation, and if it’s going to justify that valuation it has to turn into a critical spend for marketers.