Expanding its Promoted Pins business, Pinterest is testing ads in users’ home feeds and other locations. Pinterest officially launched Promoted Pins at the beginning of the year, after nearly eight months of testing. Until now, the program has given brands more visibility by featuring their pins in search results and category feeds.
Clearly, adding Promoted Pins to users’ home feeds will give brands greater prominence on the social network. “Your home feed is the first thing you see when you come to Pinterest,” Annie Ta, product manager at Pinterest, notes in a new blog post.
With the expansion, Pinterest risks turning off users with unwanted ads. But according to Ta, she and her team are growing to great pains to limit branded pins to those that are “beautiful, relevant and tasteful. If you don’t like a Promoted Pin, you can always hide it from your feed and tell us why you didn’t like it,” Ta explains. “We’ll use your feedback to improve what you see in the future.”
Regardless of where they appear on Pinterest’s network, Promoted Pins are always labeled “Promoted.”
Analysts say Pinterest’s ad program remains a work in progress, particularly because it doesn’t give marketers enough Web-based targeting criteria. “The result of such limited targeting is unclear ad performance,” Nate Elliott, principal analyst at Forrester Research, explained in a recent report.
In its defense, brands that participated in the Promoted Pins beta program saw a 30% increase in “earned media” — i.e., the share of users who saved a Promoted Pin to a board, according to Pinterest.
Per internal findings, Promoted Pins are already being “repinned" an average of 11 times — the same as nonbranded pins.
To improve its pin recommendation process, Pinterest just recently acquired the machine learning specialists at Kosei.
Among other applications, Pinterest already uses machine learning — which employs algorithms to glean insights from available data — to suppress spam, identify objects in pictures, and monitor ad performance.