The Internet’s Scrapbook Is Getting a New Feature: Advertising

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Pinterest is looking to raise money through advertising, a common move for social media platforms looking to raise revenues. A recent story in AdAge shows that Pinterest is looking for $1 million to $2 million commitments from potential advertisers.

Advertising would bring revenue to Pinterest, a company that has made none since its launch four years ago in March 2010. The company is funded by investments from various firms. This year, the company hopes to make its first revenue through advertising.

Pinterest is considered highly valuable to business. The visual social media site is valuable for driving revenues for companies whose products are featured as pins on the site. Women, a valuable advertising demographic, make up the majority of Pinterest users. Now the company is looking to make some of that money directly through advertising that will show up as promoted pins, similar to the promoted content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

The company first announced that it would begin to experiment with advertising last fall in a post on Oh, How Pinteresting!, Pinterest’s official news blog. The post begins with Pinterest CEO and Founder Ben Silbermann talking about how he uses Pinterest and how him and his team will ensure the longevity of the website. “That’s why for us, it’s so important that Pinterest is a service that will be here to stay. To help make sure it does, we’re going to start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses. I know some of you may be thinking, ‘Oh great … here come the banner ads.’ But we’re determined to not let that happen.”

Since then, starting in October 2013, promoted pins have been scattered throughout the site quietly. The Wall Street Journal names home décor website Wayfair, hotel chain Four Seasons, and Unilever brands TRESemmé and Hellmann’s (yes of the mayonnaise) among the first sponsored posts.

The advertising comes in the form of promoted pins like the recipes in a advertising page of a cooking magazine, a photo of a destination resort, or an advertisement from a fashion magazine. The ads are meant to look like the rest of the content on the website so that users will repin it to their boards like any other pin on the website. That is the goal is to feature ads that catch the user’s eye through quality content, not flashing banners.

This approach is how many companies have gained followers and repins previously through the social media platform. Workouts from Fitness or Women’s Health get repined, bringing users to the website through a click. Recipes from Whole Foods get repined by users looking for a recipe. Fashion labels put up photos of the latest fashions.

A close comparison to this new advertising is in Tumblr’s sponsored posts, which look like regular user-generated posts with the exception of a small icon marking them as advertiser-generated. No word yet on when promoted pins will spread throughout the social media platform.

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