Pinterest Experiments with Promoted Pins

pinterest-logoIt was only a matter of time before Pinterest dabbled in the promoted content world. Pinterest announced it will be “experimenting” with promoted pins to help ensure the future of Pinterest.

“Pinterest is where you keep your wishlists, vacation plans, dream home ideas, and other things you want to do soon and in the future,” Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said. “That’s why for us, it’s so important that Pinterest is a service that will be here to stay.”

That statement may sound like the company is in dire straits, but earlier this year, Business Insider reported Pinterest was valued at $2.5 billion. Yet, Pinterest had yet to generate revenue, according to the report.

Business Insider speculated that Silbermann’s new parenthood may have shifted his mindset on Pinterest’s business model, as Silbermann was quoted earlier this year saying to MIT Technology Review:

I had a kid recently, so I planned the kid’s nursery with my wife on Pinterest. I plan activities to do with my kid. A lot of those things end up being the blueprint of what I end up buying and doing. I think that’s at the heart of how we’ll eventually make money. It would be better if it showed me the perfect crib to get and I could go get it – that would be better than Pinterest is now.

But before that statement was made, in 2012 Pinterest hired former Facebooker Tim Kendall, who served as the company’s director of monetization. And Kendall’s new role with Pinterest would help it grow the business. Which brings us to this week’s announcement, where Silbermann was able to nicely tie in his previous reference to using Pinterest as a new father:

Just over a year ago, my wife and I welcomed our son into the world. Since his first day, I’ve been pinning fun things we can do together, right now while he’s still little and later when he gets older. I know many of you do the same.

Promoted pins will first be tested in the search results (for example, a search for “Halloween” may show a promoted pin) and in category feeds (for example, the “Holiday” category). A Pinterest rep couldn’t share a visual of what this might look like, but said the tests will begin over the coming weeks.

Promoted Pins Coming Soon

While Silbermann said they’re still working out the details on how promoted pins will pan out, he also said they could ensure promoted content would be:

  • Tasteful. No flashy banners or pop-up ads.
  • Transparent. We’ll always let you know if someone paid for what you see, or where you see it.
  • Relevant. These pins should be about stuff you’re actually interested in, like a delicious recipe, or a jacket that’s your style.
  • Improved based on your feedback. Keep letting us know what you think, and we’ll keep working to make things better.

Silbermann said because this concept is in beta, “no one is paying for anything yet” and that Pinterest is going to “see how things go and, more than anything, hear what you think.”

So far, feedback has been mixed. From the announcement’s comments:

Pinterest Promoted Pins

So what do you think about promoted pins both as a user and a marketer?

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