Tuesday 15 October, 2013
In September 2013 it was reported that Pinterest was testing its Promoted Pins, the popular social media site’s first attempt to monetize. According to a blog post by Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, the company is testing Promoted Pins with select businesses.
The move by Pinterest to monetize has been a long time coming. The site has been around for four years and this is its first attempt to make money. It quickly made a name for itself and rose to popularity as a video and image sharing social media site. It’s been especially useful for marketers and brands, which can effectively use the site to spread awareness of their brand, engage customers and advertise their products. It was only a matter of time before the site sought a monetization strategy.
The move was announced in an email sent to Pinterest users and on a blog post by CEO Silbermann. He said it would start with select businesses but he didn’t name names and he said the product would be free for the initial testers. He also didn’t say exactly when the new product would be rolled out, but he said it would be sometime in the near future.
Pinterest is borrowing its monetization idea from fellow social media giants Twitter and Facebook, which have very similar products. The post and email announcement hinted that it was taking their lead. But it stressed that it would do everything possible to make the ads inauspicious. The announcement said Promoted Pins would be native ads and not banners or pop-ups. They’re to be tasteful and transparent. Ads will be clearly marked as ads and you’ll only see ads relevant to searches. All of this was stressed in an effort to not alienate users.
Pinterest clearly wants to learn from the mistakes made by Facebook and Twitter. With a number of ex-Facebook employees on its staff, they should be able to avoid making the same mistakes.
Whether inauspicious or not, the ads probably won’t alienate Pinterest users because there’s a key difference between them and users of other social media sites. That difference is that Pinterest users are there to shop. Users of Facebook and Twitter are there for a number of reasons, but they’re not shoppers. This is why when ads began appearing, users were annoyed. Since people already use Pinterest to shop, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The announcement also stressed that Pinterest would seek user feedback and make changes to ensure the best user experience possible.
This isn’t a desperate strategy to make money. Unlike Facebook, which now faces pressure to monetize, there’s no pressure for Pinterest. It’s doing better than ever. According to the announcement, the site is just trying to stay around in the future for the enjoyment of its users.
Pinterest currently has 46 million users and is making a major shift from desktop to mobile. It recently retooled its look to focus more on its mobile strategy.