Pinterest rolls out chatbot, native features for Facebook’s Messenger

Pinterest is making a home for itself on Facebook’s Messenger.

On Tuesday, the social-cum-search platform debuted a chatbot for the Facebook-owned messaging service and a new way for people to interact with pins shared on Messenger. Both moves make it possible to use Pinterest within Messenger without needing to use Pinterest outside of Messenger. That may sound cannibalistic, but it may also help Pinterest convert Messenger’s users into Pinterest users.

Pinterest is staking an official presence on Messenger in recognition of the unofficial presence it already has on the messaging service. Every week, people share almost 1 million pins from Pinterest to Messenger, according to Pinterest. Pinterest’s hope is that these pins will lead these people to sign up for Pinterest, but it may need to tease out more of what it’s like to use Pinterest in order to convince them. And so it will.

Messenger bot

Pinterest’s Messenger bot

People will be able to use Pinterest’s chatbot in much the same way they used the search bar on Pinterest’s site or apps. When a person first starts a conversation with Pinterest’s bot, they will be prompted to pick from a list of categories, such as “trending,” “food” and “home,” and the bot will reply with a carousel of pins related to that category. Or the person could opt to type out a search query and send it as a message to the bot, which will respond with the relevant pins. However, people will not be able to send images to Pinterest’s bot and have the company use its visual search technology to find relevant pins.

While interacting with Pinterest’s bot largely mirrors searching on Pinterest’s own properties, unlike its site or app, Pinterest’s bot will not include Promoted Pins among the pins it sends on Messenger, according to a Pinterest spokesperson.

Messenger-native pins

Pinterest’s Chat Extension

Previously, clicking on a pin sent through Messenger opened that pin on Pinterest’s site or mobile app. But now that pin will open within Messenger.

Pinterest has adopted the Chat Extensions feature that Messenger unveiled in April to enable people to interact with content from a brand’s site or app without leaving Messenger and to make it easier for them to share that content within Messenger.

Pinterest’s Chat Extension will showcase the pin shared on Messenger and will also feature a gallery of Related Pins, as well as a search bar to find more pins. People will be able to share pins from the Chat Extension as messages on Messenger, and they will be able to pull up the Chat Extension while in a message thread with their friends.

Pinterest will be able to generate revenue from its Chat Extension. If a person’s Facebook account is connected to their Pinterest account — and that person is logged in to Pinterest on the device they are using to access Messenger — then Pinterest will include Promoted Pins among the Related Pins and search results shown in the Chat Extension, according to the Pinterest spokesperson.

Reducing the friction for people to send and view pins within Messenger may increase the number of pins shared on the platform, as well as the number of people using Pinterest overall. But even if people using Pinterest within Messenger don’t become users of Pinterest’s own site or apps, all is not lost. Pinterest will still be able to use the data it receives through Messenger to improve its search results and pin recommendations. And for the people who interact with Pinterest’s bot on Messenger, Pinterest will be able to receive profile information — such as a person’s name, gender and country-level location — and could use that information to supplement the pin-related data, inform the aforementioned search results and pin recommendations, as well as for ad targeting.

About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.