Pinterest Launches Paid Ads With Select Brands In Form Of Promoted Pins

Last fall, Pinterest announced it would begin experimenting with advertisements on its service in the form of “Promoted Pins,” which would be featured placements from select retailers and other businesses. Today, the company says that it’s expanding on these earlier tests with the rollout of a paid test of Promoted Pins. These pins will only appear on the search and category feeds, says Pinterest.

A small number of brands from across different industries are participating at launch, including ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia, GAP, General Mills, Kraft, lululemon athletica, Nestle (select brands), Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Ziploc.

Pinterest says this test group is being kept intentionally small, so that it can collect feedback prior to opening up the paid advertisements to more businesses throughout the year. The company is even soliciting public feedback via a Google Doc here.

According to earlier reports, Pinterest has been asking for spending commitments from between $1 million and $2 million from its advertising partners, and has been looking to price CPMs between $30 and $40, said AdAge.

Prior to today’s announcement, Pinterest had been trialing Promoted Pins across its web and mobile properties – refining the experience in ways so that it wouldn’t upset Pinterest’s user base. These advertisements have been showing up in the search and category pages on Pinterest, but don’t appear in a user’s main feed – which is the first thing they see when they sign into the service.

Today, the pins are labeled with text indicating they’re an ad, but otherwise appear as any other pin would. At a glance, it can even be difficult to spot the ads, if you’re just looking at the photos on the site – which, because Pinterest is an image-heavy site, many users are.

The launch of paid ads is a notable milestone for Pinterest, whose massive Series E round of $225 million valued the company at $3.8 billion. The company now has to prove that it can effectively monetize its user base of “tens of millions,” who have now added over 30 billion pins to the service, notes this morning’s blog post about the launch of paid ads.