Corporate Eye

One Step Closer to Pinterest Advertising

pins for pinterestThere are over 70 million people around the world using Pinterest, a site that debuted just a few years ago. Given the site’s rapid growth and massive size, it’s not surprising Pinterest announced this week that it would start testing promoted pins as a way to generate ad revenue.

As CEO Ben Silbermann explained in a blog post on the Pinterest blog, “It’s important that Pinterest is a service that will be here to stay. To help make sure it does, we’re going to start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses.”

At launch, Pinterest will test promoting pins in search results and category feeds, but Silbermann points out that his team hasn’t figured out how the entire process will work. In fact, no one is paying Pinterest for promoted pins yet. Furthermore, Silbermann explains that his team doesn’t want promoted pins to damage the user experience on Pinterest. To that end, Silberman explains in his blog post that his team is working to ensure that promoted pins will be:

  • Tasteful. No flashy banners or pop-up ads.
  • Transparent. We’ll always let you know if someone paid for what you see, or where you see it.
  • Relevant. These pins should be about stuff you’re actually interested in, like a delicious recipe, or a jacket that’s your style.
  • Improved based on your feedback. Keep letting us know what you think, and we’ll keep working to make things better.

Given the fact that the vast majority of Pinterest users are women, a coveted audience for brand marketers, promoted pins could be a significant opportunity to brands in a long list of categories. Silbermann explained that users will start seeing promoted pins which are relevant to their searches very soon. For example, a user who searches for children’s birthday party theme ideas could see a promoted pin for invitations or decorations from a greeting card brand or party supply company.

Until now, Pinterest didn’t have an advertising platform, and whether users are happy about the introduction of promoted pins or not, two things are certain. First, Pinterest needs to generate revenue if it wants to stay around for the long term, and advertising is the most logical place to start. Second, brands should pay close attention because Pinterest advertising could be an excellent opportunity to get in front of targeted audiences, particularly female audiences whom research shows make or influence the vast majority of purchase decisions.

Image: Jeffrey Collingwood

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.