Here's how Pinterest wants to 'pin' advertisers

Pinterest screen on a mobile phone
Source: Pinterest
Pinterest screen on a mobile phone

Fresh off its latest $11 billion valuation in March, Pinterest is unveiling even more advertising options to attract marketer dollars.

"I think that because we have these comprehensive set of solutions, we can compete for any marketing dollars out there," said Tim Kendall, head of product management. Pinterest is a social media site where people share links to items they like, admire or want by"pinning" photos on their profile page.

The privately held digital pin board is the third-most-used social media site by U.S. adults 18 and older, according to the Pew Research Center. Its main competitors, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, began offering advertising on their platforms way before the female-leaning social sharing site did.

The company only began offering advertising in April 2014, when it launched a beta program for its Promoted Pins, the name it uses for sponsored posts. The program became official in January. Kendall said the company has always been set up for marketing, with its main functions of encouraging users to "discover, save and do" lining up with brand goals of raising awareness, driving intent and calling consumers to action.

Pinterest declines to reveal it ad revenues.

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Pinterest unveiled on Tuesday plans for new ad types, which included cinematic pins, animated GIF-style images that are controlled by scrolling through the mobile app. Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, L'Oreal (Feria, Garnier, L'Oreal Paris and Maybelline), Nestle (Outshine, Buitoni, Dreyer's), STX Entertainment's new movie "The Gift," Target, Unilever (Suave), Visa Checkout, Walgreens and Wendy's are already on board.

Most interesting is its upcoming pricing model. It currently offers standard cost-per-million views and cost-per-click payment models. But now it is testing a cost-per-action plan that will only charge marketers if Pinterest delivers on an agreed upon goal, whether that's actually driving a user to install a brand's app or leading a consumer to purchase an item from a retailer. All these new features are projected to roll out this summer.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for a marketer to work with Pinterest," Kendall said. "We have been working very deliberately to drive marketability. This also takes the risk out of spending with us."

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The company also announced an in-house creative service team called the Pin Factory, available for an undisclosed "minimum spend," and repromoted its "Marketer Developing Partners" program, which was announced in late April.

What these services will do is help give brands more insights into how their campaigns are doing, as well as tools to further highlight their promoted pins for their apps and better ways to target specific demographics based on interests or life stages, like foodies or millennials.

"At the end of the day, we're creating a better experience for pinners with more relevant content and ads that provide a better overall experience," Kendall said.