Pinterest Ads Manager Focuses On Monetizing Small Businesses

Following the lead of Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is inviting every small- and medium-size business in the country to join its self-serve ad platform.

The new Pinterest Ads Manager includes a bulk editor -- so businesses can manage multiple campaigns at the same time -- along with easier ways to track the performance of their Promoted Pins.

The pin-sharing platform is also increasing the number of keywords and specific interests that advertisers can sell against, according to Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s general manager of monetization.

“We know more about our audience’s interests than any other platform, which is why we’re offering targeting against more than 420 interests, including healthy recipes, street style, baby gear and even sustainable architecture,” Kendall notes in a new blog post.

Additional new features include customer database targeting, and better conversion tracking.

“Now, you can return order value and quantity in your conversion tag to help you track and optimize performance against revenue goals,” according to Kendall, who Pinterest poached from Facebook in 2012. He has been pushing ad initiatives with increasing zeal.

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Last summer, he spearheaded the launch of a new video unit, along with fresh targeting features, cost-per-engagement measurement tools, more accountable pricing, and an in-house creative team.

So far, the efforts appear to be paying off.

“Our Pinterest advertising business grew by 215% from Q3 to Q4 2015, and we expect that number will continue to increase this year,” Jamie Tedford, founder and CEO of Brand Networks, said on Tuesday. Brand Networks helps brands advertise on Pinterest.

This year, Pinterest will have 54.6 million domestic users, which is up 9%, by eMarketer’s count. As has long been the case with the platform, the vast majority of is users (81.2%) are female.

Trying to live up to its $11 billion valuation, Pinterest is still trying to map out a clear monetization strategy.

Last summer, the company started rolling out a “buy it” button on its pins on iPhone and iPad apps. It also launched new shop categories, including "Shop our picks" -- a curated selection of seasonal goods -- and "Shop" for the latest buyable Pins

Yet, analysts were unimpressed with the effort. “The energy … appears premature,” Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru wrote in a related report.

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