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They're Finally Here: Pinterest 'Ads'
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Consumer brands are all over Pinterest and if they’re not, they are losing out; this social media platform is where users go to ideate, search, and be inspired. It’s also what customers are using to organize things in their lives; decorating, fashion, recipes, workouts, you name it. Brands that ignore Pinterest are brands that won’t leap into this new social media world and ones that aren’t connecting with their customers where they spend the majority of time. So yes, Pinterest is a must-do for consumer brands.

Now it’s more than simply having an account, asking for followers, and pinning away. Pinterest is stepping it up with a little and making this whole pinning thing a lot more worth it for brands. Why? Because now Pinterest is doing a little test; not banner ads per se, but some sponsored ad units. So no, brands aren’t paying for these at the start, but Pinterest is doing a little trial first to see how it makes pinners feel and to see what it does for a brand. But won’t consumers be annoyed? Won’t they know, or has Pinterest figured out a way to still make pinning pleasurable?

When diving into this paid media world, Pinterest is taking it one step at a time. With a social media platform that is overly successful and over 25 million users, Pinterest is making sure it keeps the core business focused on customers and its secondary focus on helping brands. How so? Instead of sponsored banners splattering the pages of Pinterest, brands will be able to sponsor a pin. This pin would be relevant to a user's search and make sense with all else they see on the page. For instance, someone could search “holiday tablescapes” and potentially a sponsored pin for Target dinnerware would appear. The sponsored pin would be called out as a paid pin, allowing users to identify what is an organic search result and what is a form of advertising. Seems pretty seamless and pretty well thought-out. Currently, Pinterest isn’t unveiling which brands will be part of the test, but it’s appreciated that the social media maven went the test route as opposed to the all-out annoying paid banner route.

What does this mean for brands? A whole lot. If the test goes well and Pinterest allows brands to sponsor pins, the result could be more engagement and potentially higher ROI. If users are on Pinterest looking for inspiration and ideas and are subtly provided with real suggestions, everyone wins — the brand, the customer, and Pinterest. But there’s also going to be a very fine line that Pinterest will have to watch carefully. The one where users find sponsored pins useful versus the point where these pins take over and become annoying. Only future pinning will tell.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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