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What Marketers Need to Know About the Pinterest Update

Cami Winding
Social Community Manager, Oracle Marketing Cloud

With a projected valuation by investors at $5 billion, Pinterest, the image and discovery focused social media network, knew it was time to follow in the advertising footsteps of their older social network siblings and compete for marketers’ ad dollars.  According to comscore, Pinterest has about 70 million active users who visit the social scrapbooking mecca at least once a month.

Over the past 9 months, Pinterest rolled out a beta advertising program to a few select brands to try on their new ‘Promoted Pin’ feature for fit. There has been a lot of marketing chatter following the brand's January 1st open invitation to all brands to participate in this evolving, but very promising advertising platform for consumer brand marketers, hopefully also luring even greater interest from investors.

The 411 on Promoted Pins
So how exactly do Promoted Pins work? You choose the pin you want to promote, select keywords, define your targeted audience, allocate your budget and select a start and end date to your campaign.  “Pinterested” advertisers can add a tracking pixel to the promoted pin to narrow in on their target user, whether broad or geo-focused.  Pinterest is naturally concerned in striking a balance between their loyal users who covet organic pins and these promo pins, cautious not to over-saturate, slowly eroding the “home-spun prideful” creativity and individuality at the heart of this still growing bulletin-board network. 

Pinterest will try to ensure the quality of the promo feeds via a Smart-Feed algorithm that will analyze, sort, and score the highest quality pins to spoon feed the most valuable, visual appealing promo pins at the top of the users specially prepared “daily meal.”     

Not much will change for pinners. These promoted pins aim to look like any other organic pin, but they are paid ads. The whole idea is for these promoted pins blend in with all the other organic content. Users will be able to tell whether they are looking at a promoted pin by small text at the bottom of each pin reading “promoted pin.”

So what does this mean for marketers?
Although results are limited from the select beta test group, brands using the Promoted Pin function saw roughly a 30% jump in earned media. Joanne Bradford, Head of Partnerships at Pinterest, says that these Promoted Pins performed just as well, if not better than regular organic pins. Pinterest embodies an evergreen platform, meaning pins are continually shared and last forever, unlike the standard news feed on other social media platforms. This type of landscape is beneficial for both Pinterest and marketers because these promoted pins have the potential to extend and perform even after a campaign ends.

Pinterest not only has great hopes for promo pins, but also has plans in the works for creating new brand ad platforms, all reliant on continuing to make all the right moves to fine tune their targeting abilities and stay focused on their loyal pinners. As one of the younger siblings in an elite social media family, Pinterest has the distinct advantage of learning from it’s older siblings like Facebook and Twitter what works and what doesn’t, what turns users on and more importantly, with pinners what turns then off.  Joanne Bradford sums up the Pinterest mission to stay on track to build a scalable business for partner brands, “This year we’ll provide the best ads canvas with the most actionable insights to reach and engaged and passionate brand-centric audience.”  

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