POV: Pinterest Promoted Pins

MINDSHARE POINT OF VIEW – Pinterest has announced the addition of paid placements or ‘promoted pins’ to its previously ad-free site. In the company’s somewhat apologetic blog announcement, CEO Ben Sibermann reassured users that the promoted pins will be “tasteful, transparent and relevant".


Much like Twitter’s promoted tweets, promoted pins will be incorporated into selected category feeds and searches clearly marked as ‘promoted’. In the blog announcement Sibermann wrote that Pinterest will clearly differentiate sponsored vs. organic pins. Rather than offering demographic buys the focus will be solely on relevancy; for example, a search for ‘Halloween’ might produce a pin related to a confectionary brand.

Pinterest may not have as many users as Facebook or Twitter, but it represents an exciting opportunity for marketers because of who uses the site and how they use it. According to Pew Research Center, the average Pinterest user is a 25-54-year-old female in households making at least $50,000. More importantly, social shoppers from Pinterest spend between $80 and $100 more than their counterparts from Facebook or Twitter. In addition to this, the nature of Pinterest means users reveal what products they are interested in buying. A GroupM Next survey of 250 Pinterest users found that 7 out of 10 users want a friend to look at their Pinterest page when shopping for their birthday present, rather than any other social network.

Pinterest’s latest venture into monetization seems a reluctant necessity; Sibermann said: “it’s so important that Pinterest is a service that will be here to stay. To help make sure it does, we’re going to start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses.” Similar to other limited tests, we can expect the ad unit to be rolled out more broadly in the near future. In August, Pinterest rolled out ‘price drop notifications’ – email alerts sent to users if a product they have pinned drops in price. It is likely that Pinterest will move further down the track of facilitating e-commerce as a way of creating new revenue. With close to US$340million invested in the company, additional commercialization can be expected.


As a self-curated and truly visual platform, Pinterest provides the perfect place for relevant advertising. If Pinterest maintains a strictly relevance-driven algorithm approach, it is likely that ads served in Pinterest will be trusted and valued. This new product provides an exciting way for brands to interact with an already engaged and qualified audience.