Pinterest Reveals Updates to Its Lens Visual Search Tool

Pinners can take photos or upload images from their camera rolls

Pinterest's visual search technology can now identify more than 2.5 billion objects across home and fashion Pins Pinterest

Pinterest made some changes to its Lens visual search tool to aid Pinners in their searches for ideas and inspirations.

Pinners can now take photos or upload images from their camera rolls and use them to search via Lens.


Conversely, people on Pinterest can save photos from Lens, turn them into Pins and save them to boards.

Pinterest said in a blog post Tuesday, “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. Lensed photos will also power ongoing recommendations as you curate your room and Pinterest helps define your style.”

Also revealed Tuesday: When Pinners use Lens within a fashion or home Pin to zero in on a specific product or object, they will see shoppable Product Pins with current prices and direct links to check out on the seller’s site, as well as visually similar ideas.

Pinterest said its visual search technology can now identify more than 2.5 billion objects across home and fashion Pins.

The company went all-in on visual discovery with its rollout of Lens, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas in February 2017.

Pinterest also commissioned a survey by CSpace to learn more about how people use visual search, and its findings included:

  • 80% of Pinners start with visual search when shopping, versus 58% of non-Pinners.
  • 85% of respondents put more importance on visual information than text information when shopping online for clothing or furniture.
  • 55% of respondents said visual search is instrumental in developing their style and taste.
  • 49% of Pinners develop better relationships with brands they love through visual search.
  • 61% of respondents said visual search elevates their experience while browsing in brick-and-mortar stores.

GroupM global head of social Kieley Taylor said in Pinterest’s blog post, “A picture is indeed worth 1,000 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.”

Ikea retail U.S. media manager Joy Kelly added, “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. 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.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.