Pinterest Engineering
Jul 25 · 3 min read

Jingxuan Hu and Sophia Feng| Growth Activation

​​Email is one of the primary channels we use to communicate and engage with Pinners. The goal is to provide engaging relevant recommendations that encourage them to further explore ideas on Pinterest. However, there exists a challenge with bringing Pinners back to Pinterest through email: How do we balance seamlessly connecting the user from viewing their content from email to on Pinterest while maintaining the safety of that Pinner’s account?

​​Pinterest’s solution for the past several years has been to provide the user a limited experience, in which he or she can have unlimited access to browse their public content, but is prevented from engaging in any “write” actions (e.g. saving Pins), to safeguard in the potential event their emails land in the wrong hands (e.g. through email forwarding). However, even with this solution, users face the challenge of not understanding that their access to Pinterest is limited, and why they’re prompted to log in. We’ve made significant progress in tackling this issue over the last several months through two key approaches: optimizing login prompts and personalizing their landing experience.

​​Optimizing our prompts to log in

Original login prompt
Testing different copies on the login prompt

To users, the original limited experience appears no different from a fully logged-in experience, rendering the copy “Please log in…” confusing and out of place. We started small, believing that a simple copy change (“Confirm it’s you…”) might help better inform users of their limited access. Unfortunately, the copy alone didn’t make a significant impact on the likelihood they’d fully log in.

Web flyout login modal with personalization

We then explored showing users a more eye-catching prompt, swapping out the dull, grey banner for a flyout, which had previously seen success for logged out users. This experience significantly increased explicit logins, and even resulted in a 7% increase in users saving Pins as they could take write actions in their fully logged in state.

Enter personalization

While optimizing login prompts did lead to increased logins and downstream user engagement, the experience still felt bland because we had information from users as they came from emails, but we didn’t fully make use of these signals. We decided to explore customizing key aspects of their return experience to further encourage them to explicitly login, including:

  • Personalizing the login modal with their name and profile photo
  • Increasing login by presenting familiar options based on their original sign up method
  • Reducing friction by prefilling their email
  • Promoting content continuity as they transition from limited to fully logged in states
Original web login modal with no personalization
Web login modal personalized with name, avatar, email and original signup method (email/password)
Mobile web personalized login screen with original signup method (Google)
Web login modal showing content as users are prompted to explicitly log in

These efforts collectively contributed to a 14% increase in explicit logins from the limited state, validating our hypothesis that increased personalization of users’ return experiences impacts downstream engagement positively.

Given our successes and learnings from personalizing the email landing experience, we’re looking forward to making even more experiences more seamless and personalized to empower Pinners to engage with the ideas that inspire them.


Phebe Huang, Yize Li, Tingting Zhu, Neeraj Chandra, Victoria Kwong, and the Growth team

Pinterest Engineering Blog

Inventive engineers building the first visual discovery engine, 200 billion ideas and counting.

Pinterest Engineering

Written by | Inventive engineers building the first visual discovery engine |

Pinterest Engineering Blog

Inventive engineers building the first visual discovery engine, 200 billion ideas and counting.

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