Pinterest’s boards are based in sharing niche interests through a collection of item. Facebook may have just found a way to one up them on that point. A Facebook feature known as ‘Sets’ is in the testing phase, letting a user select status updates, photos, and videos, and share them as a themed collection among friends. Already having been deployed among select users, Sets adapts Pinterest-esque thinking into the Facebook model of communication.
This is not the first time that Facebook has directly attempted to compete with Pinterest. Previously, it launched ‘Collection ads’ that let users save items to a wish list section of their profile. Facebook also has allowed niche interests in the Newsfeed to be followed and for status updates to be applied to photo albums. Though these moves are similar to what happens on Pinterest, Facebook Sets is a near duplication. Sets simply builds from personal content rather than content that has been shared web-wide, for example amassing Sets that lean on wedding planning, vacation memories, fashion, or family.
How Facebook Sets appear to work is that for select users, they should see the option to create a Set based on a theme of their choosing. Sets is made visible to friends on your profile and your newsfeed.
The belief is that Sets could re-invigorate the traditional Facebook newsfeed which has been dominated by newsfeed posts sometimes not relevant to a person’s interest. For example, a post about a niche interest might not get a fair bit of attention if none of your friends share the same passion. Sets allow for more targeted sharing, allowing likes to accumulate easier and arguably, giving a post the chance to be seen by more people. Potentially, Facebook could monetize Sets for businesses interested in employing this tool in their social media marketing plan.
Facebook has been successful at adapting competitors’ products to its platform, such as Instagram Stories which is now doing battle with Snapchat, Facebook Watch which is in direct competition with YouTube, and its Yelp app which continues to compete with numerous brands. Though it’s unfair to say that something like Sets will displace Pinterest, if Facebook can continue to duplicate and re-develop products and concepts associated with its competition, it may be sufficient to keep expanding its audience and to continue acquiring value in consumers’ eyes.
If Sets reaches the entire platform’s audience, it could drastically change the way in which posts on Facebook arrive. The newsfeed has continued to be re-shaped according to updates and Facebook continues to invest in future app technologies in the hopes that something will catch on in a big way. As limiting as Pinterest may seem to come, it does come with its unique following. How much of that following a site like Facebook can pull over is unclear. The months ahead should give some sort of indication on what, if any, effect that Sets has on Pinterest and vice versa.