January 20, 2015
With nearly 70 million visitors per month, Pinterest is becoming a popular destination for advertisers to reach new audiences, except not in the way that Pinterest intended. Instead of advertising directly through Pinterest via “Promoted Pins,” advertisers have found success in partnering with an array of “Pinfluencers,” individuals that have accrued millions of followers. Advertisers see the influence these individuals have over followers, and are discovering new ways to leverage them as effective marketing tools.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Pinterest “launched its first ad product last year, offering select brands a chance to buy ‘Promoted Pins,’ and recently made that service available to the whole industry.” Pinterest’s advertising strategy is in its early stages of development with potential for growth.
Despite advertisers’ preference for Pinterest influencers, Joanne Bradford, Pinterest’s head of partnerships, tells WSJ that the company “can build a thriving ad business even as brands tap into influencers on its service — much as YouTube has done.”
Advertisers are working with HelloSociety, a startup company to which many social media influencers, including Pinfluencers are connected. “HelloSociety Chief Executive Kyla Brennan said there are only 300 or so Pinterest influencers today who can claim a following large and influential enough to be worth an advertiser’s time,” notes WSJ. “But that number is growing as Pinterest grows.”
VH1 recently amassed 600,000 followers and a 40 percent increase in engagement during a campaign when choosing to partner with Pinterest influencers as opposed to buying ads directly from Pinterest. “We often see twice the lift in engagement on a product when we use an influencer on Pinterest,” said Sean Ryan, JCPenney’s director of social and mobile marketing.
While Pinterest influencers seem the preferred way to advertise via Pinterest, that is not to say Pinterest ads won’t have a role in the future. Target for example, is one of the companies experimenting with Pinterest ads.
Nate Elliott, an analyst with Forrester Research predicts Pinterest will prove much more valuable to advertisers when it can put its collection of user data to better use. “Pinterest’s data will help it create advertising opportunities that will rival those of Facebook and Twitter, he said.