Pinterest Unveils Its First Video-Like Ad And New Ad Pricing Models

Advertisers are going to have a lot more to work with on Pinterest starting today.

The company is rolling out several new tools and pricing options for advertisers today. Perhaps the biggest of them is Pinterest’s take on a new video-like Promoted Pin — but, not in the way you might expect. It’s an animated Promoted Pin that the company is calling a Cinematic Pin, and it only moves when the user is scrolling down. The animation stops when that user stops scrolling, and it is fully animated if the user taps on the Promoted Pin to blow it up.

The full-motion ad takes over the screen and moves if the user taps on the Promoted Pin. You can see an example of it below.


This is a bit different from a lot of video advertising on other platforms. Video-based ads in general have exploded on mobile devices and across the Web on most major platforms because videos tend to be much more engaging than normal ads. Pinterest settled on this one based on the feedback it got from its user base, Pinterest’s general manager of monetization Tim Kendall said. However, Pinterest did not have any interest in auto-playing video ads, Kendall said.

“We have tested this extensively with users,” he said. “What we heard was, auto-play ads are interruptive, and this is so much better because it keeps me in control. We didn’t even bother testing auto-play [based on the response from our users with this product].”

Advertisers already view Pinterest as a gold mine given that its users browse the site in multiple ways that are all valuable for marketers. There are times in which users are casually browsing for inspiration or ideas, and there are times where a user is actively looking for something — like a recipe or a piece of clothing — that signals that user’s intent that they may want to buy something. Promoted Pins offer advertisers a way to get visibility and capture that intent, all the way to the point that the user is ready to buy something and clicks through an ad to do so.

“Our users use Pinterest to plan their future,” he said. “We get access to a unique set of information that other services don’t have. So, other services may offer some of these audiences that will be similar in name, but the underlying info that powers that audience is based on real people figuring out what they really want to do in their future.”

The company also said it was bringing out new forms of specific audience targeting, where marketers can target Promoted Pins based on interests or stages of like — such as for traveling or for designing a home. Like many of its previous advertising products, Pinterest is launching its Cinematic Pins and its new audience targeting with a set of partners that include brands like Gap and Wendy’s.

The company is also releasing a new pricing model that allows marketers to pay for Promoted Pins based on engagement — such as re-pins, clicks and close-up views of Promoted Pins. It will also allow advertisers to buy ads based on users installing apps advertised in Promoted Pins. The latter is part of what the company is calling its “cost per action” Promoted Pins, where marketers don’t pay Pinterest unless a user acts on an ad (like downloading an app).

The company’s engagement, action and click-based products will be available for all advertisers through self service later this summer. Still, Pinterest will review every single ad that goes on the platform, and users will have the ability to quickly give feedback on those ads, Kendall said.

Tim Kendall Pinterest

Kendall’s role is a new one — he’s been at the company for more than three years but is now taking over sales, marketing and product development the company’s ads and partner products. Like the rest of Pinterest’s teams, his contains a mix of product managers that work closely with designers and engineers, along with other people working with partners.

“[Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann] liked the idea of combining marketing and sales with product development,” Kendall said. “Those traditionally are separate within the organization. The folks working on ad products and partner solutions on the product side are on a separate team from people working on sales and marketing. Ben believed by combining it into a single function with one leader, we’d move faster and be more responsive to marketers’ needs.”

On top of all of the company’s announcements, Pinterest also said it was opening up a new creative studio called the Pin Factory internally. Brands can pay Pinterest to create Pin images and descriptions, which are then handed off to creatives in the Pin Factory. The company already has tools for brands to track the performance of their pins through their Marketing Developer Program, but this is another piece of Pinterest’s increasing arsenal of advertising tools that is continuing to rapidly expand.

“Until now most of Pinterest’s ad products have been aimed at brand advertisers, but now Pinterest has something for all stages of the marketing funnel, for smaller as well as larger businesses,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. “Marketers have been waiting for Pinterest to expand its ad product suite and I think these new offerings are definitely in line with what they have been asking for. “