Kathryn Dunn | @greengoldkate
Like Twitter and Facebook before it, Pinterest has begun to experiment with advertising, for better or worse. These “promoted pins” work similarly to the “promoted posts” or “promoted tweets” already seen on the prior two networks, with the added advantage of already being on a network used for shopping.
The demographic that uses Pinterest is overwhelmingly female, mostly young, and a great deal of them are well-paid and well-educated. This makes it ideal for certain types of retailers, fashion sites and decor stores have already seen the value of promoting their wares through Pinterest. Actual paid advertising and promotion, then, would seem a natural complement to the free interest already generated. The ads discussed by Pinterest would show up in searches for varying items/subjects: A pin-ad for a camping lantern might show up at the top of a search for “outdoors” or “camping." Wedding dresses sold by companies with contracts with Pinterest would be more noticeable than others.
The catch, of course, to what sounds like a perfectly reasonable advertising scheme, is how much Pinterest is expected to charge. Currently, Pinterest is floating numbers around $30-$40 per promoted pin, as well as contracts with companies that range into the millions of dollars. Compare that to Facebook, who operates on a sliding scale, and Twitter, which has three levels of account that ranges from $.50/tweet to $200,000/promoted trend. Additionally, Facebook and Twitter ads work partially because they are more heavily text-based and stand out in the average feed above normal content. With Pinterest’s test ads, the promoted pins only appear slightly different from a normal pin in a feed or search and are easily scrolled by, as the image-heavy nature of Pinterest means that pinners can move very quickly down a search or feed.
So is Pinterest overcharging? Only the market and time will tell, but the introduction of paid advertising on Pinterest will once again change how companies approach social media.