Pinterest plans to draw revenue from promoted pins

24 Mar 2014

Pinterest's mobile interface (via Oh, How Pinteresting!)

Four years after its launch, Pinterest is finally pushing forward on plans to monetise the platform and, soon, users will start to see promoted pins cropping up in their feed.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, promoted pins will start rolling out in Q2 of this year with a select group of advertisers.

The feature has already been tested by home décor site Wayfair, the Four Seasons hotel chain, Unilever’s Tresemmé hair products and condiment-maker Hellman’s. These pilot pinners have reportedly been pleased with their results so far.

Valuable customers

According to Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, promoted pins increased the brand’s organic audience on Pinterest, which it has already found are 20pc more valuable than the average visitor.

Previous studies have highlighted the value of the Pinterest audience, who are more likely to make purchases than those directed from other social media. While this means money in the bank for e-tailers, it has yet to rake in the dollars for Pinterest.

Established in 2010, the company scored a US$225m funding round in October last year and has been valued at US$3.8bn. The groundwork for its monetisation was laid in 2012 with the launch of dedicated business pages, and advertising revenue from key partners will likely be its bread and butter. 

Why pay for pins?

However, converting advertisers from those already using the site to promote their wares for free to paying customers will be difficult, and the challenge for Pinterest is to make this offer an appealing one.

Promoted pins won’t simply be images advertising a service or product, but will resemble what users are accustomed to seeing on the network. For example, they might see a recipe containing a particular ingredient, or a DIY technique making use a of a certain product.

They will be placed strategically in front of users’ eyeballs across the site, targeting specific searches. To differentiate between organic and paid-for content, these pins will be labelled as promoted pins.

Pinterest intends to charge advertisers on a cost-per-thousand impressions or cost-per-click basis, depending on the client’s goals, though the company has kept schtum on prices.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.