Social bookmarking site Pinterest is bolstering its advertising strategy with a “cinematic pins” feature that adds motion to users’ boards. These special pins play short animations at the same speed that a user is scrolling. When the user clicks on an ad, the pin plays a longer version of the video. These new ads are part of a revamped strategy designed to compete with Twitter and Facebook. Advertisers will now have more targeting options and access to a new ad-creating service.
Cinematic pins are different from the video ads that have brought Facebook and Twitter so much revenue. These aren’t auto-play videos or press-play ads, but rather something in between. If the user scrolls slowly, the ad will change frames slowly. If the user scrolls fast, they can see a fast-forwarded version of the ad. Clicking on the ad will play a longer version at normal speed.
Pinterest could use cinematic pins and their other types of advertising to target unique audiences. Users often bookmark things they want in the future, and for advertisers, that could signal an intent to buy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Also, users organize all of these pins into boards with common themes. For the first time, Pinterest will begin selling ad targeting based on the titles of these boards and the personas that often make them, like millennials or foodies or parents.
In addition to new targeting options, Pinterest is also changing its advertising fees, so that advertisers will only pay for certain actions, like downloading an app. Advertisers can also go to the new in-house ad-creating service, where creative teams will build the promoted pins.
Despite the changes, Pinterest ads still won’t be reaching as many people as Facebook or Twitter ads. Pinterest only had a user base of 72 million in March, while Facebook had 1.4 billion and Twitter had 303 million.