Pinterest: Seeing Taste At Scale Can Help Brands Predict The Future



Human-powered curation is actively informing the trends of tomorrow… but brands have to be able to read between the Pins.

Social media has given us unparalleled insight into human choice and preference. We all have refined tastes and specific interests. When these trends are curated, they morph into larger macro-trends.

But rather than simply using the power of social to get a reading of where taste is at today, what if we could use it to predict where tastes—on both an individual and a collective level—could be in six months or a year?

Pinterest’s Creative Strategy Lead, Brad Spychalski, took to the stage on day two of SMYNYC to shed light on the topic and give audiences a sneak preview of the social platform’s new Audience Insights tool, which is designed to transform brands’ ability to map and predict future taste trends.

“Taste is incredibly personal,” he explained. “And our tastes are far better described by a visual than by words. In the past, our taste decisions were dictated by magazine editors. They’d tell you what haircut you should get or the dress you should buy. Today, all of us have the power to shape trends.”

Mobile devices have accelerated the democratization of taste, while other tech has stepped in to facilitate curation based on individuals’ own specific tastes, such as Spotify mixes. Add social into the picture, and it’s now possible for brands to transform the way they think about—and market to—individuals.

Spychalski took the audience of brand marketers through a four-step approach to getting taste just right.

Recognize your audience’s taste

Too many brands still rely on guesswork or inventing trends themselves, rather than studying where their audiences’ preference is, or how preferences might have shifted since the last brand campaign or product launch. As Spychalski noted, “Your interests evolve over time. Your hairstyle changes, what you eat changes. You have multiple interests—and as they all change, Pinterest can map this and surface relevant new ideas or products to people.”

Use trends to shape your creative

Weddings are, for many users, a gateway into Pinterest. So, it’s no surprise that Spychalski was able to point to a raft of matrimonial examples—including the growing popularity of oval engagement rings and the introduction of post-reception wedding pizzas—where brands are successfully tapping into trends surfaced on the platform and using those trends to inform their ads.

Give them what they want (next)

Pinterest is using machine learning to analyze how people engage with and catalog content on its platform, in order to make predictions about what’s likely to captivate or excite them further down the line. Spychalksi described this as “taste at scale,” looking at the behavior of 200 million users to establish likely future patterns about audience preference and, thanks to its new Audience Insights tool, giving brands the power to plan ahead and get ahead of future trends.

Taste the revenue growth

So, what can brands do with this insight? According to Spychalski, they use it for campaign planning, validating merchandising and offline touchpoints, and even for future product/service development. From preventing overstocking to informing website look and feel, Spychalski’s point is simple: “The trends that brands deploy here are not made up. They’re being defined by the people.”

Pinterest helps you discover and do what you love. Find recipes, style inspiration, projects for your home and other ideas to try.


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