To say I’m obsessed with Pinterest would be an understatement. While I don’t spend hours everyday curating my ideal wardrobe or future wedding, I do find an immense amount of joy in occasionally discovering vegan and gluten free recipes and interior design inspiration. While Pinterest has dramatically evolved over the past few years, it has never provided a personalized experience that reflects my desire to discover more pins about food, design, and fitness rather than diamonds and wedding decor.
That is, until today. In a blog post, Pinterest announced it will be rolling out suggested boards to follow based on your pins and websites you’ve visited that have the Pin It button implemented. As Pinterest explains, “if you pin lots of outdoorsy stuff, we’ll try to show you rock climbing, kayaking or backpacking boards. And the more you pin, the better our recommendations will get!”
While Pinterest is excited about rolling out these new changes to their user base, they’re also aware that not everyone want to be tracked so closely. As Pinterest said “We’re excited to give everyone a more personalized experience, but we also understand if you’re not interested! We support Do Not Track, and you can change your account settings anytime.” It should be noted, though, that Do Not Track is off by default.
While many users may be wary of Pinterest tracking their Internet activity and collecting personal information, they should also know that the information collected will end up providing them with a better user experience.
With Pinterest’s new personalization features, users will be able to better discover the types of content they are most interested in without irrelevant content clogging up their feeds. The more relevant content that Pinterest users engage with means that more content is helpful or interesting. At the end of the day, this means users will keep coming back to the site for longer periods of time – a win-win for both users and Pinterest.
Do Not Track is designed to prevent advertisers and websites from collecting personal information about users. By turning this feature on and blocking relevant information obtained while shopping, engaging with other users on social networks and/or otherwise browsing the internet, users may be unaware that they are creating a poor user experience for themselves. As Do Not Track becomes a more prevalent option, it’s going to become increasingly important that users understand exactly what information is being collected when websites track them and what impact turning this feature off – or leaving it on – will have.
In the case of Pinterest, it’s not entirely clear how much information is collected about a user to create a personalized experience. It’s understandable that even average users would be concerned about too much information being collected to create that experience – even if it isn’t necessarily being used to harm, but rather to monetize the site in the future. Transparency about what information is being collected, and why, will be the key to keeping users from turning on Do Not Track. Otherwise, questions such as the ones I have about Pinterest – despite my obsession with the service – will make many users consider choosing that option.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.