Pinterest Transitions Toward Generating Ad Revenue
- Ally Reis
- On May 20, 2014
In the last month, Pinterest has expanded its platform with new marketing tools and service offerings. Last fall, the company announced it would be using “Promoted Pins” to experiment with advertising on its site. Now, Pinterest is expanding to work with a paid test of Promoted Pins with participation from a select number of major companies including ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia, GAP, General Mills, Kraft, Lululemon Athletica, select Nestle brands, Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Ziploc.
This latest output of Promoted Pins is focused on brand and user feedback, utilizing a small test group to generate helpful responses before expanding paid advertisements throughout the year. The company has even opened feedback to the public with a specific Google Doc to solicit responses from everyday Pinterest users. According to Adage, Pinterest is asking for spending commitments between $1 million and $2 million from current participating advertisers and is looking to price the cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) between $30 and $40.
Pinterest has focused on incorporating these Promoted Pins as seamlessly as possible with the already image-heavy site in order to avoid upsetting users. For the most part, advertisements show up only in the search or category pages on Pinterest, not on individual users’ main feeds.
Though these Pins ads are labeled with the title “Promoted Pin,” they’re actually relatively hard to catch when scrolling through a page of similarly formatted pictures within a specific subject. If they can maintain this synchronicity between ads and existing posts, Pinterest could become a very effective marketing tool that manages to not clutter the user interface with advertisements. Though the Promoted Pins launch is not really a milestone for Pinterest, the challenge now will be proving that they can in fact monetize their “tens of millions” of reported users.
In addition to the company’s marketing upgrades, Pinterest appears to be on its way to incorporating a new, and potentially very helpful, user service tool. Pinterest is now delving into a world that companies like Jelly, Quora and Yahoo have been very focused on, questions and answers. Pinterest confirmed that they are “currently testing the ability to ask and answer questions in a more structured way on Pins, with a small group of Pinners.”
Developer and designer Tom Waddington, who often looks “behind the scenes” of companies’ websites, was among the first to discover this new feature. While digging through Pinterest analytics he found a new option labeled “questions.” After some investigation within the websites code, he found that was indeed working on a new feature that was close to public release. Pinterest has created code for users to ask questions about specific Pins and for those Pinners in turn to respond with an answer. Though it’s unclear whether questions will go to the original pinner or simply the most recent, it is evident that the system will have the same delete, report and like/unlike functions as regular comments on the site.
It’s not a sure thing that adding a question function will make a major difference for the site. Facebook’s question feature and Google Answers were both retired after little success with users. However, observing the trajectory of new visual search app Jelly could help predict how Pinterest’s question function tracks out, given both companies’ visual focuses.
This new question feature, much like Promoted Pins, will likely help brands connect with users through visual storytelling and text conversations. As users ask questions about Pins, brands are able to answer in conversation, obtain feedback and effectively adjust their Pinterest marketing strategy as a result. Additionally, with the use of Promoted Pins, companies can seamlessly contribute to the visual content on the website, making it an incredibly advantageous and user-friendly social media marketing tool.
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