Pinterest is expanding into live events. The company is planning to host a three-day virtual event that will feature livestreamed sessions from top creators, including big names like Jonathan Van Ness and Rebecca Minkoff, among others. The virtual event will run inside the Pinterest app from May 24th through May 26th, and will serve as the company’s first public test of directly streaming creator content to its more than 475 million global users.
The rise of the creator economy and a pandemic-fueled demand for virtual events led Pinterest to explore the idea of livestreaming. Last fall, it began testing a “class communities” feature that allowed users to sign up for Zoom classes through Pinterest, while creators used Pinterest’s boards to organize materials, notes and other resources. These communities also included a group chat option and shopping features.
The new livestreamed sessions will operate a bit differently.
For starters, they’re not directing users off-site to Zoom for the sessions. Instead, users will launch the livestreaming experience directly inside Pinterest mobile app and remain there during the sessions. Pinterest users can also comment to interact with the creator during their stream. The shopping functionality will now include the ability for creators to tag products with Product Pins. (Note: At the time of the initial report, Pinterest had said no shopping functionality would be available. That has now changed.)
The livestreams allow up to three “guests” and an unlimited number of viewers. Meanwhile, moderators — which may include Pinterest employees, during this test — will help to control the experience. They will also have the ability to remove people from the chat if they do not uphold Pinterest’s Community Standards.
The forthcoming event’s lineup will focus a variety of topics, including food, design, cooking, style and more.
Jonathan Van Ness‘ session will discuss morning rituals and self-care routines. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff will teach Pinterest users how to style their summer wardrobe. Others featured during the event include food creators GrossyPelosi and Peter Som, who will showcase favorite recipes; Women’s Health magazine will talk about using vision boards to achieve your goals; Jennifer Alba will show how to communicate the Zodiac through sign language; and Hannah Bronfman will offer ideas for creating an at-home spa night.
In total, Pinterest will feature around 21 creators throughout the three-day event, with around seven different sessions per day. Users will be directed to the live event via a new “Live” tab inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android, where they can view the schedule and join sessions.
“As a visual platform, people discover billions of ideas on Pinterest every day, and we’re always looking for new ways to help them bring those ideas to life,” says David Temple, Pinterest’s head of Creators.
Temple notes Pinterest has integrated with third-party livestreaming technologies and built its own in-house messaging systems to power live interactions.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to respond to Pinner feedback for more dynamic and timely events as new interests like cooking have emerged for many in quarantine, and trends like beauty, fashion, and home renovation are on all-time highs as we move into a post-pandemic world,” Temple adds.
However, Pinterest isn’t discussing how it views the potential for live events longer-term. For the time being, it’s not offering tools that could woo creators away from other platforms where they can monetize their fans through features like donations, tips, virtual gifts, paid ticketing, subscriptions or brand partnerships via a creator marketplace. Without such options, Pinterest could have a hard time competing for creators’ attention.
Nearly every big tech platform today is making a play for creators, and some are even willing to throw cash at them to win them over. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter are all building out features that let creators do more than build an audience to monetize through ads or brand deals. Now, fans can send creators money during or after streams, subscribe for exclusive content, pay for access and more, depending on the platform.
New types of creator services are emerging, too, including the audio chat room experience pioneered by Clubhouse (and being cloned by everyone else), as well as dozens of virtual events startups hoping to win the market.
Pinterest’s attraction among such heavy competition isn’t clear, but the company will use this experiment to learn more about what works for its own community.
Pinterest tested its livestreaming technology with employees a few weeks ago, but this will be the first time the feature will be available to the public.
While the event lineup can be viewed on the web, the livestreams themselves will only run inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android starting May 24th.
Update, 5/14/21, 11:35 AM: Following publication, Pinterest now says there will only be support for up to 3 guests, not 5, in addition to unlimited viewers. The events will also include some shopping functionality.