Pinterest has started offering paid ads on their site and allowing companies to pay for promotions, or upgrades to visibility, on their posts, or “Pins”. Many brands have already been allowed to test promoted pins and are heavily invested in this new way of marketing. Notwithstanding, challenges remain to be overcome, such as user response and proof of profitability.

Pinterest is a tool used to share and save bookmarks visually instead of in list format. Its primary use is as a visual discovery tool that can be employed to manage ideas, interests and projects. Users upload, sort, save and manage pictures as well as other forms of content on “pinboards”, Pinterest’s name for user created collections of content. Launched in March 2010, Pinterest has grown to have over 70 million users worldwide as of July 2013. Pinterest’s userbase consists of 83% women and 17% men and thus caters strongly to its mostly female user base in terms of features and layouts.

In 2014 and early 2015, Pinterest plans to roll out Promoted Pins, a system in which companies aim to promote their products on Pinterest and reach the over 70 million strong user base. Companies are expected to invest upwards of $1-2 million aiming for a CPM (cost per thousand) page view of $30 to $40.

Promoted Pins will have the same look as any other pins on the website. Promoted Pins will only be distinguishable through the small text at the bottom of each pin, labeling them as ads. Pinterest is an extremely visual and image based social media site, therefore ads will not be intrusive, since most users will not be looking at the text under each image.

Pinterest has already rolled out trial versions of Promoted Pins on mobile and web properties, trying to smooth out the kinks in the system so as not to interfere with the site and potentially drive away users. Advertisements on Pinterest will not show up in Pinterest users’ home pages (main feed), which is akin to Facebook’s homepage newsfeed. Ads will however show up in search pages and category pages.

The launch of Pinterest’s Promoted Pins has been picked up by ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia, GAP, General Mills, Kraft, lululemon athletica, Nestle (select brands), Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Ziploc. These companies have all invested in Pinterest’s new way of advertising.

Pinterest has traditionally been an effective venue for home remodelers, builders and construction companies to advertise their finished work featuring products and showrooms. With Pinterest’s easy-to-use image-based system, showrooms can be exhibited online; companies can get higher counts of user impressions by promoting Pins and Pins stand out in the home décor and construction sections of Pinterest.

Ronbow Corp. has been using Pinterest to display its products, inspirations and even highlights from trade shows. This builds Ronbow’s brand and gives it a web presence outside of just networking sites such as Linkedin. While it remains to be seen what kind of profit and additional revenue is generated from maintaining a Pinterest presence, the additional engagement Ronbow Corp. gains from Pinterest cannot be ignored.

The challenge now is to prove that Pinterest’s advertising is worth the money the previously mentioned companies have invested in it. The company needs to demonstrate that it can monetize its user base, though selling Pinterest ad space shouldn’t be a tough sell. If anything, it can be expected to ramp up very quickly, potentially generating hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue.

~ Stanton Huang, guest blogger

About Kleber & Associates
Kleber & Associates is an Atlanta-based integrated marketing communications agency serving the home and building products industry for 27 years. Visit the Kleber & Associates website for the latest news and information about marketing for home and building products for consumers, architects, builders, remodelers, designers and manufacturers. Through our marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing expertise — we build better brands that build a better home.