Social network Pinterest has given US advertisers a new advertising tool to kick off the New Year. As of January 1st, the Promoted Pins ads first launched in September 2013 and available only to select brand partners in 2014 has been open to all advertisers.
Early Pinterest brand partners including Kraft Foods and General Mills have been testing the Promoted Pins ad format for eight months. Like Promoted Posts on Facebook and Promoted Tweets on Twitter, Pinterest's paid ad offering is designed to help marketers amplify the exposure of their social content. Marketers will be able to pay to show certain pins at the top of search results and category feeds.
With this expansion, Promoted Pins will be available on a CPM basis. When are CPC, auction-based ads coming? Soon. In the announcement, Pinterest's Joanne Bradford promises, "We're still making tweaks to the (CPC) product and want to make sure we get it just right before we roll it out to all businesses."
What Can You Do with Promoted Pins?
Promoted Pins look much like organic Pinterest content - and that's the point. Advertisers can promote a regular pin, targeting groups of Pinterest users based on their sex, location and the types of topics they're interested in.
Based on their beta testing results with brands, Pinterest says Promoted Pins are shared by users (re-pinned) an average of 11 times per post. Interactions with a pin are great - obviously it's a good thing if people respond to your ad and comment, click a link or otherwise take action. Social sharing, though, drives the exposure that's critical for marketers with brand awareness or other exposure-based goals. On average, says Pinterest, every Promoted Pin ad will be seen by 30% more people than the brand paid to show it to, thanks to the ability for users to re-pin and share it.
Early advertisers ran the gamut of industries and verticals and included ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia.com, Gap, General Mills, Kraft, lululemon athletica, Nestle, Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Ziploc.
So what can YOU do with Promoted Pins?
Pinterest's appeal has a great deal to do with user mindsets, Bradford told the NYTimes. "On Facebook, you think about friends, and on Twitter you think about news," she said. "On Pinterest, you think about what you want to do, where you want to go, what you want to buy."
If you're already using Pinterest, start planning your Promoted Pins strategy for testing the CPM-based ads. Pinterest notes that since Pins are evergreen and last forever, early testing showed an extra 5% in earned media in the month following the end of a campaign.
Basically, Promoted Pins are Pinterest's native ads. Keeping in mind the discovery mindset of users, you should plan to experiment with promoting any relevant, organic content that will resonate with users at the top of search and category results. To get maximum benefit from this type of social ad, you want people to not only respond to the ad with a click, but to share (re-pin) it, as well.
Learning Pinterest Advertising with 'Pinstitute'
Pinterest wants you using their ad products, but they want you to do so knowledgeably. They've created an educational system for advertisers with different levels of resources available for different types of advertisers. Pinstitute will focus on both creative and measurement.
Small businesses will soon have access to online learning tools and webinars, to help them use paid Pin products more effectively.
A "select group of brands and agencies" (see: big spenders) will get more hands-on training, by way of quarterly Pinstitute workshops. According to Bradford, these elite advertisers will meet, learn, exchange ideas and have opportunities to meet with the Pinterest product team. Their feedback will no doubt be invaluable as Pinterest continues testing and improving their ad products.
The first Pinstitute workshop for brands will be held in March, 2015.
What's Next in Promoted Pins?
Watch for the CPC-based ads to become available to all US advertisers once Pinterest is satisfied with their testing phase.
Bradford also wrote, "We're planning to make major upgrades to Promoted Pins, including new brand ad formats and more advanced targeting." No timeline was given, but these are their goals for Pinterest advertising in the near future.
For now, CPM-based ads are available to all advertisers in the US as of January 1. Give them a try and see whether native ads on Pinterest should become an integral part of your social advertising arsenal!