Pinterest will use image recognition to target ads, including in Lens results

Pinterest will parse the objects in an image to include ads in galleries of related pins.

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To target ads, Google uses search data, Amazon uses purchase data, Facebook uses social data, and now Pinterest is using photo data.

Last year, Pinterest started using image-recognition technology to suggest related pins so that people could tap an object in a photo and see a list of organic pins featuring similar objects. Now the social-slash-search platform will start including, in those results, ads that are selected based on the characteristics picked out by Pinterest’s computer vision, the company announced on Tuesday.

“When a potential customer spots a table they like the looks of on Pinterest, visual discovery helps us recognize the style, textures and shapes that make it unique. We can identify it as a ‘rectangular, mid-century modern dining table,’ and show similar products that match the look and feel,” according to a company blog post announcing the move to use Pinterest’s image-recognition technology for ad targeting.

For now the AI-triggered ads will only appear in the Related Pins gallery that’s displayed after tapping on an individual pin and among the Instant Idea pins that pop up after tapping the white circle on a pin in a person’s home feed.

Pinterest plans to eventually add them to results displayed when people use its Lens feature to scan a photo from their phone to find related pins as well as the Shop the Look feature that lets people tap products featured in a photo to reveal a list of links to similar products available for purchase.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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.

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