Have you discovered how to use Pinterest’s Visual Search Tool?

How to use Pinterest's Visual Search Tool

This Visual Search Tool is a useful way to find exactly what you’re looking for on Pinterest. It’s been available for some time now; however, I’ve only recently come across it. Have you come across it before or is this something new to you too? I was wondering what the icon in the top right hand corner of Pins was for!

If you’re looking for home décor inspiration for example and you see a vase in a Pin, do you ever think to yourself where you could get one from? If you do, then this is the tool and blog for you. Read on......

You can find the Search Tool on your phone, iPad and web.

Dozens of interesting objects in a Pin image

Do you see a lot of different objects within a Pin’s image that you like? I do. There are loads of interesting objects within a Pin’s image. This Visual Search Tool enables you to find out more about them.

Visual Search Tool

How to use Pinterest's Visual Search Tool

Photo Credit: Screen Shot pinterest.com

All you need to do is click on the search tool, it’s like a search magnifying glass, in the top right hand corner of the Pin. Drag it down over the object you want to search. Then you’ll be able to select the part of the Pin, zoom in on the Christmas Tree, for example, and draw a box around it. Crop it, and Pinterest will show you visually similar Pins as well as colours, shapes, and patterns.

How to use Pinterest's Visual Search Tool

Photo Credit: Screen Shot pinterest.com

Then scroll down. You can even search by topic to drill down to exactly what you’re looking for. Pinterest gives you related keywords on tags that you can tap onto to help the system to come up with more relevant results for your search.


If we use the Christmas Tree specifically as an example. When you zoom into the object you’ll find out what it’s called and where you can find it. If it’s in the Pinterest database, it’ll show the name, where to find it and you’ll be able to buy it directly from the retailer.  The Pin below of the similar image took me to a blog Home to Home.  This had a link to the White Company to buy Christmas Trees.  So I couldn't buy it directly off Pinterest, however it did lead me to where I could buy one.

How to use Pinterest's Visual Search Tool

Photo Credit: Screen Shot pinterest.com

If there’s more objects in the image that you’d like for your room, resize the selection and move the box around and Pinterest will show you more Pins.

It’s great being able to hone in on what attracts your eye within the image that you’re looking at. I quite often look at Pins and think WOW I would love one of those. Where can I get one from?

Not at all similar

How to use Pinterest's Visual Search Tool

Photo Credit: Screen Shot pinterest.com

When I’ve played around with the tool, sometimes Pinterest does come up with some bizarre Pins if I haven’t cropped the image tight enough. Pinterest selects Pins on visual similarity so sometimes you’ll get Pins similar in shape, style or pattern.  These will be nothing like what you’ve cropped into, continue to scroll down to begin with as they may appear further down the list. If this happens you should go back to the crop and be more selective, more precise or tap on one of the tabs at the top. It is classed as a discovery engine and the Visual Search is another dimension of discovery!

The Manly Pinterest Tips Show

Vincent NG, an expert in Pinterest search optimisation was interviewed on The Manly Pinterest Tips Show. He has experimented with the tool for some time and felt that it would have a major impact, especially in the field of e-commerce. In his interview, he offered advice about how business people could take advantage of the marketing opportunities created by this Visual Search Tool. He mentioned partnerships and cross-promotion joint ventures.

Ecommerce platforms that sell products will get the most out of the tool. Pinners are always looking for ideas and inspiration. When they can search exactly for what they want and can buy it there and then, the retailer will benefit.

Not a game changer for bloggers

He didn’t feel that it would be a game changer for bloggers.

Jeff Sieh, host of the Manly Pinterest Tips Show, mentioned that if the Pin had an Instagram icon on it and Pinners searched that, more articles on Instagram would come up. To be perfectly honest, I don’t understand this and I’ve searched for a Pin with an Instagram icon on it and can’t find one. When I do I’ll share!

The more this tool is used the more accurate it will become. As I mentioned above if the object is obvious there isn’t a problem. It’s when the object is like other products it sometimes picks up the incorrect form. That’s when you should be more precise with your selection and cropping process.

Ecommerce platforms

Business people who have ecommerce platforms need to make sure that their Pins show appealing products and they’re visible. Ensure that Pinners can see the products and they can’t potentially be mistaken for something else. The advice was to have plenty of products taken from different angles and have images with different colours.

The key issue for ecommerce businesses is that competitor products will show up if they are similar. So, good Pin descriptions are critical to encourage click through straight away. Businesses need to put more time into a Pin, make it the best, visually, as they can.

Play around with the tool to see what works and how products should be placed, clarify, and tell people what the product is. Have close-up shots of individual images, not group shots so that the visual search picks up the product and it converts. Make sure plenty of Pins are loaded into the system, Pinterest can only recommend Pins that are there, so if they’re not in the system, Pinterest won’t recommend them via the Visual Search Tool.

Also, make sure products are recognisable and visible on a mobile screen. Don’t make them too small and always make the shot inspirational. Not just a vase on a white background, place it on a table or shelf within a room setting.


Another valuable snippet was partnerships, where businesses partner each other to have product placements in their Pins, cross promoting products. Cross pinning isn’t allowed, so linking to other Pins isn’t possible so the best way to do this is to collaborate and place products within the Pin itself.

So, starting tomorrow, especially as you’re going to be Christmas shopping over the next few weeks, take some time to experiment with the Visual Search Tool. You’ll most probably come across some great ideas for Christmas decorations, gifts, present wrapping, table decorations and place settings.

Let me know how you get on and if you have any questions 'Ask Heather'.



I'm Heather Love and I'm the one researching and writing the posts on this blog. My ambition is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to benefit from using Pinterest on a personal basis or as a route to drive traffic to your website, so that you can sell more products and services online.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments