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

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 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.