Pinterest recently announced an upgrade that is expected to provide a much faster and more intuitive experience with Place Pins. The introduction of Place Pins more than six months ago had opened up new possibilities for marketers optimizing for local visibility. This update now provides a much better experience when using these geo-tagged pins on virtual maps.
Place Pins were launched by this social image sharing platform site when it noticed that users were creating more and more travel pins “around the vacations they’re planning, special places near where they live and sites they want to see someday”. This feature combined the beautiful images of these places along with a map which could be shared online. Later upgrades allowed users find new places, and get directions and extra details such as addresses and phone numbers. With the latest upgrade, users can add a Place Pin on the map more easily and enjoy a faster and smarter search experience. The facility is currently available for web and iOS and will soon appear on Android, and will enhance marketing opportunities on Pinterest. Let’s take a look into it.
According to the Pinterest blog post, there are currently more than one billion travel pins representing over 300 unique countries and territories. It is estimated that Pinners have created more than four million Place Boards and the current update will make it easier to search out Place Pins from this huge repository. The changes include the following:
- One-box Place Search Interface – In the beginning, there were two distinct inputs within the place search interface – one for place’s name (‘what’) and the other for the geo spatial constraint of the search (‘where’). But, Pinterest research shown many Pinners found this non-intuitive and provide both inputs in the first input box similar to what they do on site-wide search interface. By keeping this mind, Pinterest set out to build a place search interface with a single text input field.
- Identifies Geographic Names with Query String – The attempt to recognize geographic names (if any) along with a query string is powered by Twofishes, an open source geocoder. Once you enter the query string, Twifishes tokenizes that string and uses a Geonames-based index to make out named geographic features within the string. Pinterest then ranks these interpretations on the basis of geographic bounds, population, and overall data quality. To be more specific, this process will break the original query string into two parts – one that describes the ‘what’ and one that describes the ‘where’ and discard the connector words such as ‘in’ or ‘near’. For example, if it is ‘City Hall in San Francisco’, top ranked interpretations will be ‘City Hall’ as the ‘what’ and ‘San Francisco’ as the ‘where’. If no geographic feature is found, global search request is issued (City Hall San Francisco).
- Multiple Interpretations for Ambiguous Geographic Names – If the geographic names are ambiguous, Twofishes will return multiple possible interpretations. Though Pinterest uses the top-ranked result by default in this case, a user interface affordance is also provided for the Pinner to switch between alternatives easily.
It was shown in the early tests that the Pinterest users being accepting one-box Place search interface with much enthusiasm and the Place Pin creation is being higher than ever. Overall, the smarter search experience offered by Place Pins will make local optimization more competitive, which means that businesses cannot do without professional strategies to leverage this powerful social media platform.