Pinterest is the world's most popular engagement platform, as the entire purpose of the product is to visually explore areas of interest. This leads to massive engagement numbers - and a lucrative nascent advertising platform that's posting explosive revenues at whopping $35 CPM.
Messaging, a recently announced feature on the photo-pinning platform, is the next phase of Pinterest's domination of targeted consumer engagement.
The company announced the new feature with flair, going so far as providing an interactive introduction to the new feature. There's clearly impetus behind this push, as the feature is quite promising for further entrenching the platform as one of the most captivating in media today.
For travel, this new feature is also quite exciting. Messaging allows couples, friends and groups to brainstorm destinations, look for activities and plan trips using Pinterest's vast database of images, products and services.
Similar to the way that Facebook messaging works as far as connecting friends, Pinterest takes this one step further and allows pinboards to be shared among friends and to seed conversations using visual data in addition to words.
The potential for this feature to be implemented commercially is where the true value lies for the travel industry.
If brands are allowed to communicate within these streams - say to target ads to people who are already discussing a particular destination or place - the value will be immense. And users will likely welcome these hyper-targeted ads, as long as they add value and maintain relevance to the conversation at hand.
The other opportunity is for travel brands to be able to engage in a messaging manner with potential guests and customers. For example, a destination brand account could be pinged by a user with a particular pinboard and then begin a discussion about an upcoming trip. Travel agents could also take advantage of messaging, using their pinboards as an inbound marketing tool to capture user interest via messaging. Concierges could offer specific threads for their hotel guests, and then book specifics via the messaging tool.
The ease of adding visual content to the discussion also allows travelers to be engaged in the travel planning process without necessarily doing all of the bookings themselves - of particular interest to travel agents who offer the value of taking care of the travel nuts-and-bolts but want to maintain user engagement in the trip inspiration/planning process.
Even without direct brand access to the messaging platform, the Pinterest platform now has increased appeal as far as a marketing strategy for travel. Creating brand-specific boards and visually curating the destination offering is essential to participate in the messaging product - users can then find the board, and share with friends as part of the discussion surrounding an upcoming trip. A very useful engagement tool indeed!