The acqui-hire could also be an attempt to take a page out of Twitter’s playbook. Twitter acquired digital ad platform TellApart in August and recently started testing dynamic product ads that allow DR advertisers to target users off-platform with personalized ads based on browsing behavior.
TellApart is mainly a desktop player. URX is all about mobile. But as Milinovich told AdExchanger in February, “information is information no matter where it is.”
Although Pinterest has been making advertising-related overtures – it opened up its ads API in June – some advertisers, although interested in the platform’s potential, are a little lukewarm about the reality.
It “feels like they haven’t come through with a super-compelling product,” said Scott Symonds, managing director of media and data at AKQA. “It had its moment, and now it’s almost too late to get excited. You want a darling period where everyone spends, but then you want to come out with a product that works soon after to keep up the momentum.”
Perhaps this is a belated effort in that direction, a way for Pinterest to enhance its buy button with deep-linking tech. Although there’s been a lot of hype, social shopping hasn’t really taken off.
That said, Pinterest as a source of rich user intent is nothing to sniff at.
Facebook is arguably top of the funnel, while other players like Amazon or Yelp are way down at the bottom of the funnel. But Pinterest “activates the consumer in the middle to power portion of the funnel – when they may be particularly receptive to purchase and looking for ideas or inspiration,” noted Andrew Lipsman, VP of marketing and insights at comScore, in a recent report.
Bolstering that certainly seems like a major rationale behind the deal.
“We’re focused on building useful and relevant experiences to help people discover ideas and bring those ideas to life,” Pinterest’s head of product Jack Chou noted in a statement. “We can now accelerate our efforts with the URX team, who are leaders in mobile content understanding, recommendations, monetization and discovery.”