Pinterest’s stated mission is to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. Their platform is fundamentally different to other social platforms, in that their users have a forward-looking mindset focused on future planning. Pinners, as they’re known, come to the platform to plan things of interest or importance to them, whether that’s a big event like a wedding or a holiday, or more everyday things like an outfit or a haircut. Each year, Pinterest analyses and explores their rich in-platform search data and produces Pinterest Predicts, an annual report that defines up to 30 predicted trends for the year to come. Although Pinterest has been predicting future trends for a number of years, over the past three years they have done so with 80% accuracy, with 80% of their predicted trends coming true (Pinterest global search data, Jul 2018 to Jun 2022). So how are they predicting what’s to come so effectively? How do they approach the required data analysis? What are the trends for 2023 and what do they mean for business planning? Read on to find out.
Pinterest Predicts is based on months and months of internal search data. For their 2023 report, they analysed global in-platform search data from September 2020 to September 2022, looking at rising trends and robustly analysing them to ensure they’re likely to continue to grow and to last for an elongated period.
There are four key stages to their impressively vigorous approach, which spans weeks, if not months:
Pinterest set rigorous volume and growth thresholds to sift through the billions of searches that take place each month over a two-year period. To reduce bias that could be introduced by seasonal topics (e.g. Christmas), they work with normalised searches only. Once their initial data set is established, they layer on a predictive approach which uses a trend score and AI modelling to help them pinpoint what’s likely to trend in the future with additional confidence. A visual analysis layer also evaluates the actual data trendlines to ensure they’re being identified as close to their inception as possible, ensuring the trends have true staying power.
Pinterest then curate 500k searches that qualify for their Predicts report. They assemble a broad, cross-functional team of writers, designers, researchers, and strategists who come together during ‘insights making week’ to distil these search terms into about 50 distinct trends, while another team of trend-spotters look at what’s happening in the real world to try to determine why these trends are developing. At the end of this stage, Pinterest have defined the final 30 or so trends that make up their annual report.
Pinterest vet each of the final trends for global relevancy and representation. They also partner with NXT Labs, an external focus group, to check the trends for any missed biases and ensure they are inclusive of people from all backgrounds.
Finally, Pinterest grade their trends and set up the processes necessary to measure each trend’s progress throughout the year. They also solicit internal and external feedback and publish an annual scorecard to measure their success.
So, what are the trends for 2023? You can find the full list of their 27 emerging trends on Pinterest’s site, but we’ve pulled out our three favourites below as a taster, quoted verbatim:
Pinterest are quick to point out that their trends are not simply fun and quirky takes on the year to come – they have real implications for business. They take off 20% faster than trends across other platforms in the first six months (Black Swan Data for Pinterest, trend analysis, US and UK, June 2021). The momentum this generates can result in really strong cultural relevance for brands that can get ahead of a trend that’s rising fast with relevant organic content or bespoke ads. Their trends also sustain monthly growth for more than 20% longer than trends on the rest of the internet (ibid, Black Swan), meaning brands and creators stand to benefit from the trends’ longer lifespans. Finally, when Pinners engage with trends on the platform, they don’t just search for them once. Data shows they often revisit them again and again, and search above and beyond their original vertical (ibid, Black Swan), which provides a unique opportunity for brands to own trends across additional categories and reach users beyond their original target audiences.
How can your brand tap into these trends most effectively? First and foremost, use relevant trends as creative inspiration for organic content and paid asset production. They can inspire with fresh content ideas across verticals or infrom a fresh aesthetic for your ads. By digging into specific search queries that are listed for each trend, brands can get additional detail on what people will search for in the future and use this to further inform content. Additionally, the trends themselves and relevant, related queries can be used for testing new in-platform targeting. If your brand sells physical products, could any of them be reframed around rising predictions to lean into the trend or give the product a fresh look? As an example, is there a new colour or pattern that’s rising in interest and could be part of a bespoke, on-trend offering? In the Rust Married trend above, could your brand lean into the rising popularity of the colour and look to align it with wedding planning content and related searches in-platform? In the report there are trends that span a wide array of verticals including beauty, events, entertainment, fashion, finance, FMCG, travel and well-being, so we recommend getting into the detail and remembering to think beyond your brand’s immediate category. Pinterest also offer media opportunities to own a trend, including working with creators to create exclusive content in line with a trend or working with Pinterest’s creative partners to update existing assets into trend-specific ones. If you’re interested in getting involved, speak to our Strategy team or your Paid Social account team.