TheSuiteSheet_White.png

IDEAS. STRATEGY. TACTICS. INNOVATION. INSPIRATION.

Aya Kanai On How To Build An Audience On Pinterest


Aya Kanai Head of Content and Creator Partnerships at Pinterest
Aya Kanai Head of Content and Creator Partnerships at Pinterest

Aya Kanai is Head of Content and Creator Partnerships at Pinterest. She was previously Editor-In-Chief of the U.S. edition of Marie Claire magazine. Before her appointment at Marie Claire, Kanai was Hearst Magazines Chief Fashion Director since 2016, overseeing the fashion content for Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, Seventeen, and many more Hearst brands. In 2015 and 2016, Kanai appeared as a judge on the Lifetime reality television series Project Runway Junior. Before that, she was the Style Director at Amazon's Shopbop.com. In the following discussion, Kanai unravels the mystery of Pinterest.


How does Pinterest differ from other social media platforms?

Pinterest isn't social media. It's a search engine. Every word of text, and every image or video that a creator or brand puts on Pinterest is read by our algorithm. And that's how we surface it to users.


On other platforms, the content you put up expires after 12 to 24 hours. Content on Pinterest grows over time instead of depreciating - it is evergreen. We have seen that after two weeks, content on Pinterest starts to pick up and gain speed. As users continue to search for keywords that appear in your content, it gets seen more.


Pinterest isn't social media. It's a search engine.

How would you describe your typical consumer?

One of the reasons I was super excited to join Pinterest was our changing audience. We saw a 40% increase amongst men and Gen Z on our platform. We still reach six out of ten U.S. women, but the platform is diversifying a lot. As someone who comes from the millennial and Gen Z content creation space, I‘ve been excited to see our platform getting adopted by young people.


How are users primarily using Pinterest today?

Pinterest is, and has always been, a place where people plan their lives. It's kind of like your me-time where you're able to design your home remodel, plan your trip, or arrange your dream lifestyle. It's a fun place to focus on yourself and focus a little less on your FOMO of other people's lives.


Historically, Pinterest was always an image-based platform. That said, there are almost 1 billion video views on Pinterest every single day. And pinners, which we call our users, are twice as likely to use video to discover a new idea, learn a new skill, or start a new project. Video is a format that we're leaning heavily into because we see our user base responding to it in a pretty substantial way.


Of the new features, which one are you most excited about?

Our inclusive beauty products. When searching for products, Pinterest will populate skin tone ranges so you can pick out what matches you best. It'll then show you people wearing the product with a similar complexion as you. We also have several other exciting beauty-related AR trial launches coming out. How does Pinterest sync with the shopping experience?

A Pinterest search is what we call "higher up in the funnel," which means that 97% of the top searches on Pinterest are not branded. When people search for things on Pinterest they aren't searching for brands they are searching for items that fit their needs. If they are looking for black boots, they won't search for a specific brand of black boots they'll just search for black boots. They are on a discovery journey, meaning they haven't yet decided what they want. They want Pinterest to help them figure it out.

Last year, we saw a 350% increase in catalog uploads from brands. It was propelled by our partnership with Shopify, which allows its 1 million users a quick way to upload their products into shoppable product pins. It's a really cool feature.


A Pinterest search is what we call "higher up in the funnel," which means that 97% of the top searches on Pinterest are not branded. When people search for things on Pinterest they aren't searching for brands they are searching for items that fit their needs.