Upgrading Lens for more online to offline inspiration

Ever walk down the street and see something you love but don’t have the words to describe it? Enter: Pinterest visual search. You can use Lens camera search to snap a photo offline and Pinterest will tell you what it is and where to find something just like it. Or, if you see something within a larger Pin on that you want to know more about, just zoom in to get recommendations. And now Lens is smarter than ever. Our visual search technology can identify more than 2.5 billion objects across home and fashion Pins. That means there’s a good chance Lens will be able to help you find what it is you’re looking for. 

Today we’re rolling out improvements to Lens and bringing shoppable Pins to visual search results. If you see it — online or off — you can shop it.

New and improved Lens camera search






A new Lens design makes it easier and faster to take a photo or quickly upload a photo from your camera roll. You can also now save photos from Lens, turn them into a Pin and save them to one of your Boards so you can come back to it anytime. For example, if you’re in the market for a new sofa, you can save Pins to a board and also Lens photos you see in stores in the real world to add to your inspiration. Lens’ed photos will also power ongoing recommendations as you curate your room and Pinterest helps define your style.  

“A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. With Pinterest’s investments in pioneering technology, computer vision, and machine learning, Pinners benefit from communicating what they want in an instant, without resorting to obscure strings of terms, hoping that they’ll find what they want. We see significant value for brands to tap into visual search on Pinterest as it will allow wider discovery by tastemakers and drive meaningful consumer engagements online and off," says Kieley Taylor, Global Head of Social, GroupM.

Visual search and shopping see eye to eye

Now, when you use Lens within a fashion or home Pin to hone in on a specific product or object, you’ll see shoppable Product Pins (Pins with the current price and a direct link to checkout on the retailer’s site) along with visually similar ideas to try or buy. These are our latest updates make it easy to go from inspiration to purchase, whether that inspiration sparks on Pinterest or in the real world.

Computer vision technology is no longer just a futuristic idea — it’s made its way out of the labs and into the hands of Pinners who use the technology every day. From camera search where a picture is entered as the query, to saving Pins, visual signals power search, recommendations and results across Pinterest. In new research* we found: 

  • 80% of Pinners start with visual search when shopping vs. 58% of non-Pinners. 

  • When shopping online for clothing or furniture, over 85% of respondents put more importance on visual information than text information 

  • 55% of consumers say Visual Search is instrumental in developing their style and taste

  • 49% of Pinners say they develop a better relationship with brands they love through visual search

  • 61% of consumers say visual search elevates their experience while in-store browsing

“We’ve worked with Pinterest since 2015 to bridge the online and offline worlds and bring back the magic of shopping through innovative paid campaigns,” said Joy Kelly, media manager for IKEA Retail U.S. “We will continue to watch the advancements Pinterest makes in visual search to help IKEA customers find the products they love and be able to purchase them when they see it.”


Bridging the online and offline worlds with Pincodes

Pincodes — Pinterest visual search-enabled QR codes — are used by brands around the world to connect offline and online retail experiences. Some examples include: 

  • IKEA Germany has been using Pincodes in their mailings to inspire customers with more ideas around their products and connect them with their Pinterest profile. 

  • Albertsons, one of the largest grocery store chains in the US, used Pincodes in the end caps of grocery stores to engage with shoppers looking for “quick and easy” recipes. When      

  • The Conran Shop, a leading UK luxury retailer of furniture and home accessories, used Pincodes throughout a window installation in their flagship London store during London Design Week 2018 to provide access to exclusive inspiration boards about iconic products. Throughout the store, a custom API experience along with Pincodes let people save their favorite products with a simple tap on their phones.

  • The Home Depot launched Pincodes in 30 of its stores in Mexico to offer customers inspiration for home renovations and DIY projects. 

We’ll continue making visual search updates to help you search outside the box. These latest improvements are rolling out on Android today and on iOS in the coming weeks.


*Source:  US, CSpace Visual Search quantitative survey March 2019