Images: The new search.

Pinterest outlined some significant future changes over on its blog yesterday, highlighting new navigation options in particular:

This in itself is of interest given Pinterest’s pervasive influence on the design of a number of sites.

The image based search may not yet be all-pervasive, but it’s certainly arguable that it represents a new kind of visual search being performed by many users, one that has seen sites like Facebook and Google take steps to optimise their own image display and search options.

If Pinterest has found a way to make text navigation more intuitive then listings sites would do well to pay close attention here. 

Optimise around your images

As for the images themselves, Pins will now be larger and contain more details, so optimising copy and links will now be even more important for businesses using the platform:

As we’ve mentioned in the past, Pinterest usage figures are easily high enough these days to enable niche and B2B companies to run a succesful Pinterest account (Econsultancy included), but these changes mean even more of a focus on platform management will be needed.

You’ll also need to ensure that you have a range of high quality images available for the site – no more sharing thumbnails or packshots.

Quality content is already a scare commodity for many, so these changes will focus users on those providing quality regularly. 

More opportunity to sell

Finally, Pinterest reveals that “on each pin, you’ll see pins from the same board, other boards this pin was pinned to, and a whole slew of related pins”. 

In theory this should deepen the site’s already impressive engagement figures, but for business accounts it means something more important:

Cross and up-sell opportunities

By highlighting other content and even users related to an original pin, there’s an increased chance that your account will be found through a users’ organic connections, and a chance to showcase more of your products, services, and even those all-important influencers who already engage with your product. 

It remains to be seen if Pinterest can maintain its initial growth rate, but by deepening engagement and value-per-visit of its enormous existing user base, Pinterest could be the dark horse of social commerce that many didn’t see coming.