Pinterest is in the middle of a major image revamp and it's hoping that that will help advertisers start to flock to the image-collecting website.
The nine-year-old company has been shedding the perception that it's a social media platform in favor of being known as a visual search engine. Over the past few months, Pinterest has made several strategic moves to achieve this, such as getting rid of its Like button and rolling out its first major advertising campaign in the U.S.
Pinterest has even more tools in the works to court advertisers, the latest of which Pinterest president Tim Kendall introduced at Tech Crunch DisruptNY in Manhattan on Tuesday. Kendall said Pinterest will soon bring advertisements to its Lens feature, released in February, which lets users snap photos of objects they see, and using machine learning technology, generates similar objects based on them. For now, advertisements will appear on Pinterest's Instant Ideas section, which shows pins that are related to a post.
He said he thinks the update will serve as a unique opportunity for brands, while also setting Pinterest apart, especially as advertisers determine how much money they plan to spend on digital media properties.
"We think people are way more open-minded to products and pitches when they're on Pinterest," Kendall said at the event. "What we see is an ability to reach someone before they've decided on a brand or even know what they're looking for."
Pinterest is looking to enter an advertising market that's become increasingly dominated by Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get ReportGoogle and Facebook (FB) - Get Report . Google and Facebook currently maintain a strong hold on the U.S. digital advertising marketing, with eMarketer estimating that the tech juggernauts will control a combined 60% of the sector in 2017. Meanwhile, internet companies like Pinterest and Snap (SNAP) - Get Reporthave been fighting to move out of brands' experimental ad budgets.
To that point, Snap's disappointing Q1 results may be viewed as foreboding for companies who are looking to shift away from experimental ad dollars. Kendall said he paid attention to the earnings report because it's the "responsible thing to do" but that it's not a threat to Pinterest's pitch to advertisers.
"They're in the same business as us," Kendall said. "It's important information for us to have, but it hasn't altered our conversations with advertisers. [We're] focused on building ad technology and making sure it works...we just keep investing in those core tenets."
As Pinterest continues to build out its first advertising campaign in the U.S., the company also reached another milestone: it currently has 175 million users on its platform. The moves have caused Wall Street to be abuzz with speculation that Pinterest could be preparing to go public sometime soon. But Kendall quickly shot down those rumors.
"We don't have any plans to go public," Kendall said. "We've said we want this to be an independent company."
For now, Kendall said the company is focusing on distinguishing itself as a place for people to "plan their lives," not as a social network. He said whenever he logs onto Facebook, he leaves feeling a sense of inadequacy about his life.
"The emotional experience of Pinterest is very different," Kendall explained. "We want people to discover and do what they love."