Pinterest signs visual search and advertising deal with Target to license its Lens technology

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People will be able to use Target’s app to scan items in the real world and find similar products sold by the retailer.

Pinterest has signed a deal with Target to license its visual search technology, Lens, the retail brand announced on Monday. In exchange for a multiyear ad spend commitment, Target will be the exclusive retailer in the US with access to Lens.

The deal marks Pinterest’s second to integrate Lens into another company’s product. After debuting Lens in February 2017, Pinterest signed a deal with Samsung in April to embed Lens within the hardware company’s line of S8 smartphones.

Target will plug Pinterest’s visual search technology into its Target Registry mobile app so that people registering gift ideas for their new baby, new home or wedding can use Lens to scan objects in the real world and be shown a list of similar products sold by Target. Eventually, Target plans to make Lens available through its main mobile app.

In addition to getting more data to improve its computer vision technology, Pinterest is also getting more ad revenue. As part of the multiyear deal, Target has agreed to increase its ad spending on Pinterest, according to a Pinterest spokesperson. The spokesperson declined to say how many years the deal will span and how much money Target has agreed to spend on Pinterest ads as part of the deal.

The deal could also open up more ad revenue for both Pinterest and Target, if the companies eventually opt to sell ads within Target’s Lens-powered results. Pinterest said earlier this year that it plans to place ads within Lens results in its app. Asked if Pinterest and/or Target will sell ads within Target’s Lens results, the spokesperson said that Pinterest does not currently offer advertising within Lens.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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