In December Instagram launched a new feature, which seems to be a lot like the premise behind Pinterest. Or is it? This new feature allows you to save a post into a “collection”, which is similar to the ability to “pin” to a “board”. But I’m not convinced that this is the same thing, or even in the competition ball park. In recent days, we have seen Instagram try to be more like Snapchat, so why would they diverge into Pinterest-space also? Can one app have everything, everyone wants? Or is it ok to have several apps that do different things? I doubt that Instagram is in the market to be more like Pinterest, but if I’m wrong, I will go on record with that correction later.
So why do I think this? First of all, the idea behind Pinterest is to fill your boards with pins. It might be recipes, it might be workout routines, fashion that inspires you or wedding ideas. My understanding of it is to provide us with a space to keep these ideas. Let’s say you’re looking for a recipe because you’re throwing a dinner party this weekend. In the process, you might find a recipe that will help with your weight loss goals. Now is not the time for this recipe, but you want to be able to come back to it later. So you pin it to your “health” board. That’s Pinterest… or at least, it is to me. Instagram, on the other hand is taking a picture of your friends at said dinner party. Or maybe even taking a before and after shot of you once you’ve reached your fitness goals. In my opinion those two are not the same thing.
I might be splitting hairs, but I don’t see the direct correlation between the two. I absolutely don’t think that this is even verging into Pinterest territory. I see this as more of a reference collection. Maybe I see a photo of a vacation spot that I’ve always want to go to. I save it using the bookmarks feature in Instagram. I don’t necessarily go through every image of that vacation spot and save them in a collection, the way you do with Pinterest. I would leave it there as a point of reference. Maybe it’s to help me save for that trip. Or maybe it’s a pipe dream that’s never going to happen, but I re-visit the image because it brings me some kind of joy.
Now, if I think of Pinterest, and use the same idea of a vacation spot, I personally think I’m using it differently. I am looking for more information about that spot. What are the best restaurants there? What kinds of cool things can I do when I’m there? And maybe you’re thinking – that’s exactly the same thing, but I would make the argument that it’s not. Instagram, for me, is not a tool to collect. But again, more of a reference point. If I am scrolling through Instagram and I see an interesting CNN article, I might save it to read later. Maybe change the name from “collections” to “reading list”? It does, after all, use a bookmark. So to continue with this reference idea, it could also be considered a place holder. A way to come back to information later on.
Like I’ve said, I don’t see this as competition for Pinterest in anyway. It certainly isn’t going to sway any hardcore Pinterest users.. and even unlikely to sway casual users. It might seem like an odd feature to introduce, suddenly, but maybe Instagram users were asking for a way to bookmark materials so they could be referenced later. In Twitter, when you “heart” something, it gets saved under “likes”. So is that the same feature? Essentially, you are finding something you like, or heart or whatever, and saving it somewhere. Why does Pinterest own the market on this type of feature? As I am so often saying, I think we’re blowing this out of proportion. It isn’t the same as the Snapchat features, so I think it’s safe to say that Instagram isn’t trying to be Pinterest, but like always, that’s just my opinion.
Further, from a marketing perspective it would seem that more women are using Pinterest than men. I’m probably going to get flack for saying it, but I don’t think I’m off the mark with this one – planning for weddings. Yes, that’s right. I personally know people that use it as a way to get wedding ideas. And I’m not knocking it. Maybe that will be me one day, but I see it being geared towards those users. Whereas Instagram is more user generated. People posting about the beautiful flowers they saw at a wedding. Not necessarily how to make your own arrangement.
So to say that Instagram is turning into Pinterest, in my opinion is not accurate. Would they even want to? I think that we see these improvements and jump to conclusions and try to draw correlations. But the facts don’t necessarily back up those correlations. Or at least they don’t in this case.