Pinterest is getting closer to formal ad products with the announcement today that it’s experimenting with promoted pins for select businesses.
Although Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann noted promoted pins won’t be “flashy banners or pop-up ads,” and that it’s not a paid product, yet, Pinterest looks to be finding more ways to commercialize the value of its visual platform with price-drop notifications it launched last month.
“With Pinterest not having advertising in place, it’s really unclear how they’re deciding who to open this up to and who has access first,” commented Jennifer Polk, research director at Gartner. “I have to imagine it’s through relationships certain brands had developed [with Pinterest].”
As a first step, Silbermann noted that a few pins will be promoted in search results and category feeds to the 50 million monthly active users that use the platform. “We want to see how things go and, more than anything, hear what you think,” he wrote.
“It’s clear they have an eye for the future,” Polk said. “Now, whether that means they’re looking at monetization as a platform for growth or whether they’re looking at it simply as a way to reinvest in the platform and continue to offer a user experience that allows them to remain relevant” is unclear.
But Pinterest’s recent moves to hire a director of partner marketing, as well as marketing developer partnerships indicates its interest in adding marketers to the mix.
Although Polk said she’s not sure if a marketing API is imminent yet, “I do think the demand is there and that may be one of the reasons why they’re looking to monetization as a mechanism to help fund that kind of growth and investment in analytics.”