Digital Dash: Pinterest scraps Buyable Pins & more

1. Pinterest scraps Buyable Pins, replaces with upgraded Product Pins 

Pinterest is marking the start of holiday season with a slew of updates for businesses.

First up, it’s scrapping Buyable Pins and replacing them with Product Pins.

With the change, “hundreds of millions” of pins will become shoppable, with real-time pricing and stock info added too.

Indicated by a new shopping tag icon, Product Pins – rolling out globally now – take you directly to a retailer’s checkout page when clicked, making the purchase process quick, smooth and simple.

The shopping tag icon only appears when an item is in stock.

And that’s just the first of many announcements from Pinterest this week. Here’s a run-through of the rest:

Shopping recommendations section: will now appear beneath Style and Home pins so you can browse similar items across multiple brands.

Photo: Pinterest

Shopping shortcut: holding down on any Style or Home pin will now reveal a shopping tag leading to a shopping feed full of in-stock related products. Available now for iOS in the US.

Photo: Pinterest

Ads Manager updates: Pinterest has gone wild with its self-serve advertising suite, introducing tons of new features. These include the ability to…

  • Review pins before going live
  • Promote multiple pins at once
  • Create new pins within Ads Manager
  • Test and optimise ads more easily
  • Manage where people see your ads
  • Build robust targeting audiences
  • Take advantage of updated interests to get your brand in front of more people
  • Monitor ad performance and make in-line optimisations with the revamped reporting dashboard
  • Identify and promote top performing organic pins
  • Measure your influence on Pinterest

Find full details on the shoppable updates here, and the Ads Manager updates here.


2. Holiday shopping forecast: for every 1 Google shopper, 3 will flock to Amazon

A new Holiday Shopping Forecast from CPC Strategy asked 1,500 US adults where they plan to shop for gifts online this holiday season.

And – now’s the time to shield your eyes, Google – the shoppers surveyed plan to use Amazon 3x more than the world’s most famous search engine.

Amazon has emerged as an unstoppable force in digital and this is really just more evidence of that. Although the survey is small-scale, Amazon led by a country mile with 81% planning to use the site for their holiday shopping.

Photo: Marketing Land

As reported by Marketing Land, Walmart was the next most popular gift destination with 56.7% saying they’ll shop there.

Google didn’t even come close, scoring 26.1%.

While Amazon is undoubtedly an ecom front-runner, I wonder how people’s interpretation of the survey’s question could have skewed results. Some people (me included) might not immediately associate Google with shopping per se, more pre-shopping searching.

Anyway, another interesting finding from the survey was that while most people plan on holiday shopping on desktop, mobile followed very closely behind. Also, 46.2% intended to shop online, compared to 28.5% in stores and 25.3% both.

A tip retailers can take from this is to make sure the customer journey is optimised across all touch points.


3. Facebook now lets you customise dynamic ad images

Facebook’s dynamic ads are a great way to automatically retarget people who’ve shown an interest in your products with similar or related items.

If you’re reading this thinking “Hold up, I don’t have this. Why not?” it’s probably because you don’t have API integration in your website, which gives Facebook access to your entire product catalogue.

Without this, the only way you can use dynamic ads is if you manually upload your catalogue – and this is clearly only feasible for brands with a limited range.

For those already using dynamic ads though, this week brings good news: a newly introduced Creative Tools feature means you can automatically customise your visuals with either catalogue info (e.g. price) or a frame (e.g. for the holidays).

Here’s an example of the set-up for the catalogue info side of things. Shout out to Facebook guru Jon Loomer who shared this screenshot in a webinar.

Photo: Jon Loomer

These are both valuable new tools for businesses. When you’re dealing with advertising at scale, any kind of automation that could increase engagement/conversions is worth knowing about.


4. Will Instagram swap scrolling for tapping across entire platform?

This Instagram test is hot off the press!

The platform is toying with the idea of expanding its tap-to-advance functionality (i.e. how you flip through Stories) to other sections of the app.

As you can see in the below screenshot from user Suprateek Bose, Instagram will encourage you to tap, rather than scroll, to move through posts.

Photo: Tech Crunch

Instagram confirmed to Tech Crunch that this is currently being tested within Explore only, and there are no plans to bring it to the main feed right now. Make of that what you will, but I take it to mean you can expect this to be rolled out within the next 3 months.

The whole “tap to advance” thing is an attempt to make it as quick and low effort as possible to signal you’re done with one piece of content and ready to see the next.

Scrolling isn’t exactly arduous but it’s more work than split-second tap. And, that my friends, is truly a first world problem in action.

There are a couple more Instagram updates I want to quickly tell you about too. And these are super relevant to retailers:

Quick Replies: page management teams everywhere can rejoice as Quick Replies – personalised preset responses – are coming to Instagram.

Story splitting: Instagram will soon lift the 15 second Stories limit (kind of) for Android users. You’ll be able to film/upload longer video content, that will be automatically spliced into 15 second segments. Use this feature with caution though: your fans go to Stories for quick, easy-to-consume and entertaining snippets – you’ll risk boring them if you start posting 15-part sequences.


5. Initial results for Snapchat’s pixel are in! Should Facebook & co. be worried?

Snapchat launched its long-awaiting pixel just a few months ago. It allowed businesses to sharpen their sales-focused strategies on the platform in two main ways:

  • Bidding on conversions rather than swipes
  • Retargeting website visitors

And initial results, as outlined by Digiday, look positive. Director-to-consumer (DTC) brands are reporting significant drops in customer acquisition cost.

Now… while this sounds great, it’s also expected. Snapchat has essentially provided a way for businesses to specifically target people lower down the sales funnel, or more likely to progress down it. It’s not really surprising that tapping into this has yielded some great results.

So what can we learn from these initial findings then?

Well if businesses continue to see success with the Snapchat pixel, and the platform’s Ads Manager continues to evolve, it’s possible they’ll shift some ad budget away from Facebook and the like.

But to be honest, I think we’re a mighty long way away from Snapchat’s ad business making Facebook sweat.

Snapchat is under huge pressure to stay popular and profitable up against Instagram, which just goes from strength to strength to strength. Attracting advertisers will be a big part of the plan, but in reality Facebook’s advertising capabilities are still far superior.