How people explore their interests on Pinterest

People use Pinterest to pursue their interests, but people have many interests that evolve over time. As a researcher here at Pinterest, I’ve been figuring out how and why people Pin. So far, we can break down the different stages of interests into four different Pinterest mindsets, which might help you as you figure out what type of Pins to add. 

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The four modes are:

“I’m just looking…”

This is when a Pinner might be browsing with no particular goal in mind. They’re just looking to be inspired. It’s an undefined need for someday in the future.

A Pinner might be thinking: “I’m interested in travel, running and healthy eating” or “I’m really into black and white photography” or even “What do you have to show me today, Pinterest?”

“Maybe I could…”

A Pinner here might be exploring a new interest or considering taking on a new project. The need is more defined but the timeframe is still sometime in the future.

A Pinner might be thinking: “Maybe I could travel to India someday,” or “Maybe I could go kayaking,” or even “Maybe I could pull off patterned pants.”

“I’m narrowing it down…”

This is when a Pinner might not know exactly what they’re looking for, but they’ll need to figure it out soon. The need isn’t super defined but the timeframe is sooner.

A Pinner might be thinking: “This kayak could work for my trip,” or “I need to replace my running shoes but don’t know what brand or style is best for me,” or even “I need to get my brother a gift but I have no idea what.”

“I know what I need!”

A Pinner here knows exactly what they’re looking for and they need it right away. They have a defined need and short timeframe.

A Pinner might be thinking: “I need a place to kayak during my Florida trip,” or “I need an Asian asparagus recipe to cook tonight,” or even “That’s the one!”

Pins trigger modes

Take a closer look at these modes and you start to see something familiar: the modes mirror the customer journey. People start looking, get inspired, narrow down their options and then make a decision. We think businesses like yours can add all kinds of Pins that help them every step of the way.

What’s more, most people don’t come to Pinterest with explicit goals—it’s the Pin itself that triggers a certain mode. A Pinner might move between modes on a specific interest over time, and because of Pinterest’s grid layout, they bounce between different interests and modes in a single visit.  

There’s lots of possibilities for businesses here. Pins that are a mix of aspirational and actionable can help people as they explore their interests, or cycle through different modes. A single Pin could even trigger different modes—one Pinner might look at your military-style jacket Pin and see something they’re going to buy right away while the other might look at it as something that inspires them to change up their style.

As long as your content provides Pinners with a dose of inspiration or usefulness, you’re helping people pursue their interests.

—Larkin Brown, currently saving ideas to Style Prints