Earlier this month, Pinterest launched an in-app messaging service to allow its users to engage in private conversations around its content. In the past, when users wanted to share Pinterest content with their friends, they could only send a pin. Any additional engagement forced users to resort to email or other social channels to continue the conversation. Now, however, there’s no need for users to leave the platform in order to start and sustain a conversation on Pinterest. Users can now share individual pins, boards, other users’ profiles, and their own messages in chats with up to 9 other users.
Of course, social messaging platforms are nothing new. Facebook’s newly-separated Messenger app, WhatsApp, GroupMe, and even LinkedIn allow users to send messages back and forth with one or more users, but Pinterest isn’t necessarily looking to join their ranks. In fact, Pinterest Product Manager Michael Yamartino makes it clear: “We’re not a communications service. We’re not trying to be the place to say ‘What’s up?’ or ‘When are you coming home?’” Instead, Pinterest’s messaging capability is intended to enable focused discussion centered on products and projects showcased on the platform and to encourage collaboration around those products and projects between friends, family members, co-workers, and more.
More than anything, Pinterest is creating better opportunities for sharing. Initially, the platform focused on public boards and profiles, but has shifted over time to also allow for a more personalized experience. Two years ago, Pinterest began allowing users to create secret boards, but users clearly wanted even more ways to share privately. Since then, a lot has changed. This private messaging capability has created an almost Path-like experience with the opportunity to share pins, boards, and messages on a one-to-one or one-to-many (but not one-to-all) basis. It’s demonstrating that private collaboration is just as valuable to a social media platform as the outward-facing content being pinned and shared. In fact, that private collaboration often leads to the creation and sharing of new pins, better content, and more engagement for users and brands. How users take advantage of this capability will determine Pinterest’s next steps, but it’s clear that they’re already heading in the right direction.
This post originally appeared on the Advertising Week Social Club here.