Anti-social media: Pinterest waves goodbye to its ‘Like’ button

By Jacqueline Buckland

28th April 2017

Pinterest has announced that it will remove its ‘Like’ button to put a bigger emphasis on its ‘Save’ button over the coming weeks.

The reason for the change appears to be users’ confusion between the two buttons. However, we are living in a very digital savvy world so this is hard to believe.

Looking outside of the company’s blog post announcing this change, it seems that it is also shying away from big brand media buys and is instead focusing on core interest relationships to the platform – such as John Lewis, Hunter and Tesco  – to build on its home interest, food and fashion foundations.

Bloomberg highlighted that this move cements the platform as an ‘inspiration’ destination where users shop for ideas to suit their needs and then go offline to buy the item. This is opposed to a social media channel where users predominantly share content they have generated to update friends and family on what they are up to.

With this in mind, it makes sense for the platform to focus on the ‘Save’ button—it creates a space for users to save down shortlisted product/service ideas to later review before making a purchase. By contrast, ‘liking’ something that stands out doesn’t necessarily mean someone wants to buy it.

Is this the right move for Pinterest?

Currently, there are no other competitors offering this service (websites with ‘shortlist’ options aside) so it gives Pinterest a niche purpose and users a reason to use it who may not be looking to add another social platform to their repertoire.

For me, this opens up a new way of shopping without the added pressure. I can browse websites and pin down items I’m interested in without, for example, being in a clothes store and feeling like I need to make a purchase when coming out of the changing room. It almost gives me a virtual magazine to read as and when I please, made up of all the things I love.

Is there a risk?

Moving away from a wider advertising model in a world where digital spend is set to surpass TV by 2020 could be a risky move. But, if Pinterest does opt for the unique ‘inspiration’ route, it needs to grow advertising relationships in those relevant sectors to broaden its income. Habitat, Made.com and House of Fraser could be obvious targets to align with John Lewis.

In all, it’s a bold and brave move from Pinterest and one to watch closely.