clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pinterest Joins the Private Messaging Party

Pinterest looks to keep users on the platform while they chat.

Pinterest has finally jumped into private messaging.

The San Francisco-based discovery platform added a new feature on Wednesday that allows users to chat back and forth in a private window.

Users are required to start a conversation by sending a Pin to another user along with a message, but subsequent replies do not need to include Pins and work similarly to other chat and text services. Users can also send group messages.

Private messaging has been a major focus for other social networks over the past year. Facebook has a slew of private messaging services and spent a whopping $19 billion on messaging app WhatsApp in February. Twitter has added incremental improvements to its Direct Messaging service over the past year, and both Twitter-owned Vine and Facebook-owned Instagram have had private messaging since December.

However, Pinterest wants its messaging feature to stand out in a different way. Instead of casual chats (e.g. “How’s it going?”), Pinterest wants users chatting about specific Pins. “This is different from other messaging platforms because conversations are around a Pin and are focused on planning something for the future,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to press.

That doesn’t mean Pinners will use the feature in this way, but it’s Pinterest’s attempt to put a unique spin on an otherwise crowded product category.

Regardless of how people use it, the messaging feature will be a hit if it keeps users more engaged with Pinterest. If you can chat about a specific Pin within the app or website, it means you won’t need to leave to send a text or message on another platform. The bottom line: Users spending more time within Pinterest will make the product more attractive to potential advertisers down the road.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.