Pinterest would’ve had a pretty decent first quarter if it wasn’t for … the coronavirus, of course.
But engagement is at an all-time high, and the immediacy of what people are searching for is changing, said Arthur Sevilla, Pinterest’s head of global vertical strategy.
The shift first became noticeable in early April.
“It’s gone from planning for the holidays or starting a Christmas list to ‘What am I going to feed my kids tomorrow?’ and ‘How do I turn my home into a classroom?’” Sevilla said.
Searches were up more than 60% year over year in Q1.
Pinterest is helping brands take advantage of this surge by calling out trends and new intent signals it’s seeing in its search data. Brands are using that information to adapt their organic marketing strategies on Pinterest.
For example, the insights team at Pinterest noticed early on that “how-to” searches were up as certain staples became more difficult to find on store shelves. Searches for “how to make bread” shot up by 12x.
Pinterest brought this to the attention of spice manufacturer McCormick, which quickly created a carousel pin featuring four creative homemade bread recipe ideas, including roti flatbread and coconut banana bread.
Search is a source of “indirect questions that consumers may not know who to ask,” said Alia Kemet, senior director for creative and digital strategy at McCormick North America.
“By watching the trends, we can anticipate the question and make sure that the appropriate brand has an answer waiting in their search results – sometimes asserting our culinary expertise where someone may not have considered us,” she said.
Take non-food-related queries. Since the pandemic struck, Pinterest has seen a 13x increase in searches for indoor activities to do with kids. Armed with that information, McCormick created pins explaining how to use its food color products, egg dyes and extracts to create homemade window clings and DIY scented kinetic sand slime. (Click here if you don’t know what the heck that is.)
Together, those two pins were saved to boards more than 37,000 times and are already among the brand’s top-saved pins for the year.
“The pins being saved and arranged on boards are for that individual’s future reference,” Kemet said. “[They give] us a chance to be there for our consumers today and again weeks from now when they refer back to their custom collection.”
But there’s also still some long-term aspirational planning happening on Pinterest, despite the fact that most weddings are on hold, big vacations probably won’t happen this year, graduations have gone online and Mother’s Day (and maybe even Father’s Day) will be mainly socially distanced affairs.
Holidays and life events are a big source of engagement for Pinterest and, in turn, its brand partners.
“We’re usually a very future-oriented platform,” Sevilla said, “but we’re seeing that people do still want to plan for these moments.”
… even if the moments are forced to happen virtually.
Baby registry company BabyList, for example, quickly developed content for Pinterest in April with advice and suggestions for throwing virtual baby showers – because coronavirus is changing the world, but some things are constant, Sevilla said.
“Guess what?” he said. “People are still having babies – COVID-19 or not.”