Bloomberg Línea — With social networks engaged in a fierce race for users’ attention by employing new interaction modalities such as short videos or the inclusion of chat services, e-commerce is beginning to adopt a similar dynamic.
According to Statista, in 2021, TikTok was the leading social networking application in the world, with 656 million downloads, surpassing all mobile versions of social networking platforms owned by Meta ((META). Photo and video sharing mobile app Instagram followed, with 545 million downloads, while Facebook and WhatsApp generated 416 million and 395 million downloads respectively.
Pinterest, Inc. (PINS), the content creator platform is in the middle of these two worlds. The social network that operates as a visual discovery engine that allows people to find inspiration for home, DIY and educational tasks, among others, has just launched in Latin America its new business plan based on e-commerce.
André Loureiro joined Pinterest in 2020 as managing director for Latin America and told Bloomberg Línea of his plans to grow the brand in the region.
“During the pandemic, we took the time to launch our strongest investment agenda in Latin America, where we have 80 million users,” he said, adding that the region is important for the company, where it sees “a very large monetization opportunity.”
Pinterest, whose second-quarter revenues this year grew 9% year-on-year to $666 million, but whose global monthly active users declined by 5% to 433 million over the same period, is looking to capture that monetization opportunity in Latin America.
“The headquarters are looking at the region,” Loureiro said when announcing the launch of ads for the platform in Argentina, Colombia and Chile, which join Brazil and Mexico as the region’s newest markets.
Rather like a virtual Ikea, Pinterest will not only provide inspirational ideas, which is what its users look for, but also offer users access to the products that are displayed in the photos or videos on the site, opening itself up to companies as an advertising platform.
Back in 2020, Pinterest had no monetization tool in Latin America, and only six years earlier had launched its advertising model in the US.
With the opening of its advertising platform for Argentina, Chile and Colombia, the company has partnered with Tiendas Paris, part of the Cencosud group (CENCOSUD.SN), as well as agencies such as Publicis Groupe.
Beyond the traditional categories on the social network, such as fashion, beauty and gastronomy, the company believes that it will be also able to add companies from the financial and mobility sectors, in addition to a number of SMEs.
MercadoLibre joins the fray
In the competition for users, capturing their attention is key, and social networks are leading the way in that regard. Reels or videos that increase the time a users spends on social networks such as Instagram are a trend that more traditional platforms are seeking to emulate.
This is the case of e-commerce retailer MercadoLibre (MELI), which has launched a new tool in a bid to attract potential buyers.
With 300 million products listed, 10 million vendors and more than 100 million buyers, MercadoLibre has made available the publication of short vides of one-minute duration that can be scrolled through in a feed of items for sale.
“This is going to greatly improve the shopping experience, as it will be available on the app, because it takes some codes from social networks: vertical videos, one-minute maximum,” Pablo Garcia, vice president of marketing at Mercado Libre, told Bloomberg Línea.
“It’s a discovery experience for buyers and a promotional experience for sellers,” he said. “Each video is going to allow the user to be redirected to the publication of the item in question.”
The tool, which is currently operating in pilot mode with 1,000 videos uploaded in Brazil and Argentina, has no additional cost, and all those who have published a product on the site can upload a video.
“There are two search characteristics: target, when you already know what you are looking for, and there is another segment of users who are not so clear about what they are looking for, and that is where we see a demand for more audiovisual content,” Garcia said.
The launch of the new tool in Brazil and Argentina reflects the fact that the company considers the two countries to be its most important markets in the region.
MercadLibre saw consolidated net revenues of $2.24 billion in the first quarter of 2022, a year-on-year increase of 63%.