Digital POV: Pinterest Promoted Videos


Pinterest has introduced Promoted Video ads this week in an effort to expand its capabilities and keep pace with its evolving counterparts Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.  With Pinterest’s recently rolled out video player, brands can now run full auto-play video paid advertisements (with sound) that look like animated posts. 

Details and Implications:

According to Pinterest, the move into video was the next logical step because: “the number of posts that linked to videos saved by its user base increased 60% in the past year.”  As video becomes more central to what defines Pinterest, Promoted Videos is an example of how the company is looking to expand its portfolio of brands outside consumer-packaged goods and retail and into other categories like travel, entertainment and financial services.

Promoted Video ads are very similar to Pinterest’s existing cinematic pins, which allow users to fast-forward or replay scenes by simply swiping the screen.  This type of scrolling video is exactly what sets Pinterest apart from other social platform video options.  The video player supports any length of video, but best practice is for brands to pick a few scenes or create cut down versions of longer form videos to preview in a post that appears in their social feed. These videos can then be targeted to the appropriate audience using Pinterest’s existing targeting capabilities. Once the promoted ad is clicked, the video then expands across the full screen and the sound automatically begins.  As an added benefit, brands can include pins directly underneath the video that link to products featured in the video.  For example, recipe videos may link to the products featured in that particular recipe.

Promoted Video ads are currently only available on mobile, but will be rolled out to desktop in the future.  Additionally, Pinterest is currently charging on a cost-per-impression model at a minimum of $500,000.  As a result, promoted videos are currently only available to Pinterest’s biggest advertisers that work with its account teams – they are not available to companies that use its self-serve ads platform.


Pinterest continues to grow at a rapid pace, 92 million U.S. users visited the platform this past July, up 21% from the same time a year ago.  This tremendous growth can only be sustained through new services and promoted video was the logical next step in its evolution as a platform.  As Pinterest users are generally interested in shopping, the integration of promoted video with e-commerce makes perfect sense – the ability to deliver engaging visual ad formats to the right audience at potentially their highest point of intent is a recipe for success.

Like most new opportunities in the digital market, it comes at a steep price but that entry fee will drop over time.  As more brands become able to utilize promoted video ads, it will be exciting to see how this tactic evolves. For now, we recommend that brands capable of utilizing promoted video ads get involved immediately to discover how these videos can resonate with their target audience on Pinterest.