3 marketing trends to watch in 2018

Image of CES space
Cameras are the new keyboards

Let’s say you’re out at dinner and see a lamp you like. If you want to buy a similar lamp for your living room, wouldn’t it be easier to take a picture and search for it visually, rather than try and come up with the right search terms? Pinners certainly seem to think so: visual searches on our platform have increased 74% year-over-year.1

The camera is quickly becoming the primary input device. People have discovered that if that they take a picture, it’ll search better. With pictures, they won’t just see products, they can see ideas of how to use those products. That’s why we’re helping Pinners easily snap a picture and search for ideas that inspire them by developing tools like Lens.

But this trend isn’t just affecting the products we develop, it’s also transforming the way marketers think. Over time, advertising is going to be less and less about what keywords or interests to target. Instead, it'll be about using visual signals behind the scenes to create more useful, relevant and results-driven advertising.

Reaching consumers early

For a long time, digital advertising has been focused on the “last click.” But now that technology offers consumers more choices than ever, brand loyalty has dwindled. Marketers are beginning to realize that the chance to influence starts as soon as the consumer begins shopping.

This means you should make sure your brand has a presence on places where people go to get inspired, not just to pull out their wallet. The consumer journey often crosses multiple platforms, and being first pays off. According to a recent McKinsey study, 70% of shoppers said they purchased brands from their initial consideration set, rather than brands they found later on.2

This is good news for brands on Pinterest. When people come to Pinterest, they often haven’t decided on what or where they’re going to buy, so it’s easy to influence people early on. A study by Neustar found that shoppers who used Pinterest to help plan a purchase had a shorter path to purchase and their shopping carts were 40% larger than those who used other digital platforms.3

Context and relevance will rule

For many years, online advertisers have attempted to attract eyeballs through pop-ups and non-skippable screens. But we’ve learned that disruption doesn’t work—in fact, Millward Brown recently found that young consumers (especially Generation Z) are much more likely to engage with native ads.

Brands should focus on creating content that enhances an experience, instead of ads that take away from it. Because when people come to platforms like Pinterest, they want to get inspired and discover new ideas. They don’t want to be bombarded by marketing messages that stop them in their tracks and disrupt.

At Pinterest, creating relevant experiences for Pinners and brands has always been core to everything we build. We’ve combined the world’s largest data set of human-curated ideas with machine learning so that each month, we can deliver the most relevant content to over 250 million people, with thousands of different tastes and preferences.

These 3 trends, along with other themes that are still coming out of CES, are going to help us evolve the way we think about connecting with consumers. Here’s to another year of creating, learning, and growing!

—Jon Alferness


1Pinterest internal data, 2017

2McKinsey, “The Customer Growth Indicator: How to win the battle for initial consumer consideration,” August 2017

3Neustar MarketShare, “Pinterest Insights: Retail”, June 2017, MTA study with 3 blinded advertisers