Today we’re talking about the most recent Pinterest iOS app update as well as the newest Pinterest iOS widget — Interests. The latest features and updates were launched back in February 2021 but we’ve learned a lot about both since then.

We’ll discuss how these new features are being used and how you can take advantage of them as a business owner. We’ll also discuss whether this Pinterest iOS app update impacts Pinterest ads like it has impacted Facebook ads.

Simple Pin team member Elysha joined me for this update. Elysha is on our Promoted Pins team and helps out in our Simple Pin Ads Society.

Flash alert: the Ads Society will be opening again next month so watch for details!

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Our services leverage eight years of management experience to keep you updated on best practices and diversification on Pinterest. We use our expertise and signature Simple Pin Framework to help you reach your ideal customer or reader right where they are in their journey.

Okay, let’s dive into my conversation with Elysha.

woman scrolling on iphone - text "Recent Pinterest ios app changes that affect Pinterest Marketers".
Elysha thinks of Pinterest as the positivity platform. When she took a break from social media for a while, she deleted everything except Pinterest because she feels Pinterest is always a great place for inspiration.

She loves that you don’t have the negativity or everybody’s two cents common to other platforms. Elysha describes the platform as a place for proactive information and finding resolutions to problems you might have.

When people are going on Pinterest, their specific intent is to be inspired or to make an informed purchase decision. They can’t get that anywhere else.

As an example of the power of Pinterest marketing, Elysha recalled my comments from a previous episode about the smokeless Solo Stove. She said that she was compelled to purchase one based on my ringing endorsement.

We recently took our stove on a camping trip and while everybody else was getting smoked out by their firepit, ours was delightfully smoke-free, hot, and amazing. It all came from a video Pinterest ad. That’s how it started for me and that’s the type of powerful story you just can’t track.

As a member of our Promoted Pins (Pinterest ads) team and a leader in our Ads Society, Elysha is actively involved with the Pinterest platform. Elysha loves seeing business owners discover the benefits of Pinterest and realizing there can be profitable returns. The power of getting your name and your brand out there is unlike any other platform.

Her favorite thing about her position on the team is being able to simplify the ads process for people.

I think we often get caught up in meeting magical numbers or formulas or using fancy jargon. I like being able to break it down for people in terms of best practices. At the end of the day, I want to draw it back and have them think about their business and what their specific needs are instead of trying to cram their business model into what they think they should be doing on the platform. ~Elysha

I get what she’s saying. When I meet with Pinterest ad reps it kind of feels like we are speaking a different language. It’s like you don’t know what they just said or how it applies to your business or you feel intimidated by the fancy language they use.

I’m hearing the same from many of you when it comes to the Pinterest iOS updates.

So let’s tackle that update today. First, we’ll look at the Pinterest iOS Interests widget, then we’ll talk about the impact this update has had on Pinterest ads.

The February 2021 Pinterest iOS App Update


Pinterest Interests iOS Widget

The “Interests” iOS update is a widget for the home screen of your smartphone. Depending on the interests you select, (e.g., home decor, food, inspirational quotes, etc.), Pinterest will send you a daily clickable photo that is a shortcut into the platform which leads to a pin they think you might be interested in.

When the Interests widget first came on the scene, Elysha admits that she dismissed it. She didn’t feel like it applied to her. But as more time passed, she decided to set it up on her phone to see what it had to offer. She’s realized it’s a really neat tool that likely resonates well with Gen Z.

Elysha shared an experience she had last year that led her to download the widget on her phone. While searching Pinterest Trends one day, animal print cowboy hats stuck out to her as a strange thing to find in Trends.

She realized the significance of this trend information while on this camping trip with some friends who have kids that are in that Gen Z group. Sure enough, these kids were all sporting animal print cowboy hats!

It was a lightbulb moment for her. Regardless of what she might think about the trend, Elsysha learned that she can’t just dismiss the information. As someone who works in Pinterest marketing, it’s crucial to be aware of trend data.

I believe this new widget is Pinterest’s way of getting people to continually circle back to the platform.

It’s like Pinterest is saying if you tell us you’re interested in something, we’re going to make sure that we’re feeding it to you in regular intervals so that you come back. 

It’s an interesting take on notifications because so many other platforms’ notifications are tied to what other people have said to you or letting you know that someone liked your post. They’re not so much about you.

Pinterest is looking at your interest in XYZ and they are going to show you those interests.

In addition to the general positive vibe of the platform, Elysha believes that another thing that makes Pinterest awesome is that you don’t need to deal with the annoying notification interruptions as you do with other platforms.

Related: Pinterest is NOT Facebook. A Breakdown of How They Differ

The Pinterest iOS app widget is not invasive because there are no notifications associated with it. They are just making little suggestions through a clickable photo and you can choose whether or not to pursue it.

When I walk it through and think about wanting continued engagement as marketers, I see this Interests widget as an opportunity to get in front of people even more. It’s an easy way to have your content delivered to the right people and it takes them right to the pin close up.

All they have to do is click on it and click save.

One interesting observation that Elysha shared about the widget is that for her, the pins associated with it have almost exclusively been editorial photos and product pins. She hasn’t seen a single pin with text overlay so far. I’ve noticed the same type of thing on the Today tab. There aren’t a whole lot of text overlay pins presented to the user.

Elysha believes it’s really important to pay attention to what Pinterest is doing because it is constantly evolving.

Over the last year or so, Pinterest has been in this transitional period. As a creator or an eCommerce marketer it can seem very frustrating at times. But really at the end of the day, whether you’re selling on the platform, using it personally, or you’re looking at buying stock, Pinterest is in it for the long haul. They’re trying to find ways to speak to those upcoming generations that will have a huge influence on the platform. ~Elysha

I see the Interests widget as a unique tool for marketing.

So here is a call to action of sorts for our Pinterest marketers.

Even if you don’t love Pinterest, we highly encourage you to use the Pinterest iOS app. There are a lot of different features, like the widget, that you’re going to see there that you won’t see on your desktop.

If you’ve already added the Interests widget on your phone, we would love to have you DM us on Instagram and let us know what you are seeing and what your experience has been.

If you’re interested in more information you can learn all about the Interests iOS widget here.

Impact of the Pinterest iOS Update on Pinterest Ads

Let’s jump from this widget update to the iOS update we’ve heard so much about in conjunction with Facebook ads. We’ve heard people talk about the impact on their Facebook ads account but haven’t heard as much conversation about how this iOS update affects Pinterest ads.

When it first came out, people were concerned and were asking if they need to be worried about this because other platforms were experiencing issues.

Elysha says we shouldn’t panic.

She doesn’t think we’re going to see a significant impact because of how things are designed on the Pinterest platform.

Pinterest has been proactive and prepared for this. They’re so focused on positivity and organically displaying information and they’re not heavily dependent on the users’ emotional response or how often they’re on the platform. So they aren’t running into the same issues that some other platforms have run into. ~Elysha

Elysha admits she’s making some assumptions about the low impact, but she based them on the fact that her team runs a large number of campaigns and they have regular conversations and feedback inside the Pinterest Ads Society forum. They just haven’t heard much regarding a negative impact on promoted pins as a consequence of the update.

Since the update occurred in February 2021, she believes with this amount of time passing, we would have seen a significant impact by now.

One of the things we read in the Pinterest Q4 earnings report was the term “first-party attributes”. We’ve talked about third-party attributes concerning Facebook. Third-party is what happens when users leave the platform.

Pinterest’s report about first-party attributes refers to the interaction you’re seeing right on the platform. Elysha thinks this focus on first-party activity has set them up for success in avoiding the impact on their platform in terms of how marketers are still able to effectively reach their desired audience.

So the take-away from this conversation about the iOS update is it doesn’t seem to change anything when it comes to paid advertising on Pinterest. We can continue to run our paid ads and feel like there’s really no bump in the road.

At the end of the day, regardless of what Pinterest is or isn’t doing, as long as you have your basics in place and understand how users interact with the platform you’re going to be okay.

Cell phone displaying the Pinterest app.

Spend Some Time on New Pinterest Features!

We see these new features, like Idea Pins or the Interests widget, and we tend to dismiss them or dig our heels into the ground with frustration because the Idea pins don’t link or we don’t see the relevance of a new idea.

But just think of this story of the smokeless Solo Stove. I saw that video ad on Pinterest and it made such a huge impression on me.

There is so much power in Pinterest, you need to be on the platform and participating with the new features so you don’t miss that opportunity. Additionally, Elysha recommends doing both organic and paid Pinterest marketing because it is important to diversify within the platform.

I totally agree!

I think this investment in how people interact with your content and how you position your value is really important. It doesn’t have to be hard and we are here to help.

If you want to dive into ads, joining the Simple Pin Ads Society is one of the best ways. It’s a great community for learning with a low monthly cost. The Ads Society will be opening again soon, so keep a watch for that on our website.

Our desire here at Simple Pin Media is to serve you and continue to help decode all the things that are coming from Pinterest to make it work for your business.

For Further Listening/Reading:

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