Pinterest recently announced 'related Pins,' a feature that shows consumers similar content, but they might not put up with irrelevant posts.

Pinterest launches ‘related Pins,’ but users wary of social spam

to read

Pinterest has put steps in motion to develop its commercial potential, hence the introduction of sponsored brand content to users’ home feeds. Now, the social pinboard site announced it’s going to show consumers related Pins that are in line with content they frequently search for and share. Based on responses shared on the official blog post, this feature is not something users are excited about because they assume it means they’ll be subject to spam. It’s up to marketers to straddle this line, crafting visual brand content that users will be glad they discovered.

The decision to introduce a ‘related Pins’ feature was born out of users’ demands for fresh content, according to the blog post penned by Pinterest Software Engineer Dmitry Chechik.

“Related Pins are picked specially for you based on the unique things you’re into, such as other Pins you’ve saved or liked,” Chechik explained.

Pinterest announced related Pins, which bring fresh content to users' news feeds.

For example, Pinterest might show a pair of handknit mittens to a consumer who has been searching for winter wear like wool scarves and snow boots. The recommendations are intended to help people find other content that complements their expressed interests. If users like the suggestions, they can click the ‘i’ (for information) button in the bottom corner to give Pins a ‘thumbs up,’ and Pinterest will log that information for future content pushes. A ‘thumbs down’ to suggested Pins removes the image from users’ home feeds and tells Pinterest to avoid similar Pins moving forward.

While this development is positioned as a user experience improvement, there’s a clear marketing angle as well. The related Pins feature can give social media marketing campaigns more reach with qualified prospects if Pinterest delivers relevant content to prospects who have already indicated their interest in similar products.

However, brands must be certain their Pins inherently offer value because users are skeptical about whether ‘related Pins’ will prove useful or spammy. In response to the announcement, a number of Pinners submitted comments asking if they’d be able to opt out of the new feature, worried that it may disrupt their organic content discovery.

Pinterest users aren't excited about the new 'related Pins' that might push brand content into their news feeds.

Assuming Pinterest doesn’t revoke the new function (and that users get over the initial shock of the change), brands can overcome consumers’ reluctance by distributing eye-catching Pins that are worth sharing. By meeting and exceeding users’ expectations, brands can compel target audiences to not only engage with their custom content, but also forward it across their personal networks. According to data recently published by ShareThis, consumers shared 15 percent more Pinterest content than in previous months.

To improve social marketing ROI, brands must find ways to propel their content naturally. The best way to achieve this goal is by creating visual and written content that users will want to see and promote independently.

Lauren Kaye
Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.


  • Muddywall

    Amazed it has taken till now for Pinterest to introduce ‘related pins’. IPO must be getting closer!

    • Lauren Kaye

      Hi Muddywall!

      Thanks for reading and offering your insight! It certainly seems that’s the social media movement as of late. We think it will be interesting to see how users respond if Pinterest continues to become more brand-centric, and how companies will need to respect their demand for organic – not purely promotional – content.

      Thanks again for checking out the post!

  • Anna Bennett

    Nice post and clearly most pinners are not happy with this feature including myself. For starters some of the “related pins” that’s showing on my feed is not fresh or new content:(

    • Lauren Kaye

      Hi Anna!

      Thanks for checking out our article and giving us your first-hand experience. I’m a little disappointed to hear that because Pinterest seems pretty adamant about upholding the organic user experience that earned it so many advocates in the first place. What kind of content have you seen so far?


      • Anna Bennett

        All the content is related to my interests.

  • Greg Ormsbee

    pinterest has great recipes anmoves

  • Missy

    The first pin that Pinterest has every suggested to me was a picture with the quote “The value of persistent pray is not that He will hear us but that we will finally hear Him”. This seemed fairly bizarre for Pinterest to suggest this to me since I’m Atheist and have never searched anything to do with God. Also, the board that it said had some of the same pins from was board of quotes, many of which are overtly anti-religion… I question the actual method used to suggest pins.

    • Missy

      Also, I looked over all the pins from my quotes board and from the other users board where the suggested pin came from. Not one pin was even similar.

  • disqus_3pYCSDMwPW

    It’s an awful feature. I have specific tastes that are not even remotely represented in the related pins. I have specific things I pin for specific reasons (ie. diet restrictions), so now I have to sort through and thumbs down all the recipes I could care less about. Such a waste of time. Put the feature somewhere else, so if users actually care to have things suggested to them, it will be in it’s own little hub not meshed in with my pins.

  • bluesky557

    Related pins are an awful feature and I hope they get rid of it, or at least give users a way to opt out. People spend a lot of time and energy carefully curating the list of pinners and boards they follow, and to have the home feed junked up with random pins completely takes away the usefulness of Pinterest. I’m leaving if they persist in forcing this feature upon us.