One thing that’s always separated Pinterest from the social media pack: It’s had very little advertising. That’s about to change.
In June, the company launched a program to test promoted pins from a limited number of brands, including including Nestle, General Mills, Kraft, Gap, ABC Family, Expedia and Lululemon. Now that we’re in the new year, that program will expand. As of Thursday, Pinterest is letting advertisers pay to promote their pins, boosting the visibility of them (as on Facebook or Twitter).
In keeping with the native ad trend, those images will simply look like regular pins. In fact, it seems possible that while scrolling through wedding ideas, recipes and style tips, you might mistake an ad for a post from a regular user — especially since the ads will be targeted to users’ location, gender and the topics they’ve historically shown interest in, according to The New York Times. For example, a Kraft Foods promoted pin might pop up on a Pinterest board of slow cooker recipes searched by someone who’s on their smartphone at the supermarket. The only difference is, these pins will include a tag indicating that it was promoted by a company.
Users will have the option to filter out the ads.
Users will have the option to filter out the ads, a Pinterest spokesperson told The Huffington Post. Simply clicking an “X” in the lower-right corner of the pin will give the option to either hide the ad (and provide feedback as to why you’re removing it) or learn more about it.
This opens up opportunities for brand advertisers to connect with the some 70 million potential customers using the site, of course; the Pinterest network has always aimed to introduce people to the things they want to buy and the experiences they want to have.
“Advertisers tell us Pinterest is the only place where their brand feels truly welcome,” Joanne Bradford, Pinterest’s head of partnerships, told The New York Times.
It does represent a shift for Pinterest as a business. The social media network has been taking a relatively gradual approach to growing the revenue side of things. By comparison, Facebook and Twitter have featured ads for years, and both Instagram and Snapchat have rolled out their own programs, as well.
An ad about Lululemon yoga pants is bound to look more natural mixed in with the many fitness-related posts on Pinterest than it might on Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest has been valued at about $5 billion by investors and has raised more than $760 million in venture capital to date, but still has little to no revenue to report. The company’s potential leg-up on competitors: Ads do seem to lend themselves better to the site. In other words, an ad about Lululemon yoga pants is bound to look more natural mixed in with the many fitness-related posts on the site than it might on Facebook or Twitter.
Dana Shank, an associate director at Kraft Foods, had this to say to the New York Times about her company’s advertising on Pinterest:
“We’re aiming for the holy grail here: trying to provide the right content to the right people, at the right time. To be on a platform where people are actively looking for that content? That’s invaluable to us.”
Pinterest mobile image via Shutterstock.