Pinterest Woos Social Media Marketers with New Features

Pinterest is making moves, y’all.

Within the last month, the image curation platform hired Gunnard Johnson, formerly of Snapchat, as head of measurement science and insights. Pinterest hired Johnson to improve tools for analyzing its users and advertising spend. Since then, whether because of Johnson’s influence or through a greater shift toward bringing in ad revenue, Pinterest has rolled out a slew of new features for advertising.

Some of the changes will be geared toward large brands only, (think Universal Pictures, General Mills and Kate Spade) but some of the changes will affect anyone and everyone who advertises on the platform. Across the board, however, the changes mean big things for the future of Pinterest and how advertisers use it.

Read more about the changes and what they could mean for you:

The Introduction of Video Ads

If you needed more proof that video is taking over, here it is. Following the popularity and success of video ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, Pinterest rolled out a video player in early August allowing users and brands to upload and store clips of any length straight to the site.

"What we want to do with video is not just drive views for the advertiser but actually enable actions," said Pinterest's ads product manager Mike Bidgoli in an interview with Ad Week.

Brands upload videos using the new video player and pick a few scenes to preview in social feeds. The video ads then mimic Pinterest's existing cinematic pins, which let users fast-forward or replay a scene by swiping up and down the screen. The scrolling feature is another differentiator between Pinterest’s videos and those on other platforms, since it is more interactive.

The video ads will initially only be available on mobile with a cost-per-impression payment model. They’re also currently only available to Pinterest's biggest advertisers, the ones working with reps to organize their ad buys.

New Auction Process for CPM Campaigns

Barely a week after the announcement of video ads came more news: Pinterest is changing the way it sells CPM campaigns, with marketers now able to bid on inventory through an auction process and add frequency capping.

Before, CPMs were only available on a fixed priced basis. Frequency capping allows brands to choose the maximum number of times a person can see their campaign.

Pinterest is not the first social channel to offer these type of features by any means, but it’s still a big deal. It reflects Pinterest’s shift to make advertising there easier and more profitable. It also reflects the greater industry trend of using social media advertising to drive clicks, leads and sales rather than just raising awareness.

Awareness Campaigns for the Little Guy

This one isn’t necessarily new, but it is unfamiliar to a lot of marketers. Awareness campaigns were previously only available to Fortune 500 companies, but Pinterest has finally rolled them out to everyone, even users of its self-serve ad platform.  

Awareness campaigns use promoted pins to introduce and expose brands to a relevant audience. According to Pinterest, pinners who have seen promoted pins had 40% greater awareness of new products and 50% higher purchase intent than pinners who had not.

The campaign format has already seen success with the big brands using it; L’Oreal Paris improved purchase intent by 37.2% and boosted brand favorability by 27.8%.

Written by: Kelsey Thompson