Pinterest rolls out new ad targeting tools

Dive Brief:

  • Pinterest is rolling out its self-service ad platform Pinterest Ads Manager to all U.S. small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Pinterest is adding new targeting capabilities to the platform, including increasing the number of keywords and interests advertisers can use to promote their products and services from 30 to 420. 
  • Pinterest is also adding marketers’ first-party email subscriber data as a targeting option, but only via ad tech firms that are part of its Marketing Developer Partners program, according to Marketing Land. Brands with at least 100 addresses in their email database can upload them to Pinterest as a targeting option.

Dive Insight:

Pinterest is opening its platform to more (and more sophisticated) self-service advertising, much like rival social networks Facebook and Twitter have been doing for the last few years. 

In beta since June 2014, the self-service platform has attracted thousands of SMB clients, according to Pinterest officials. The system allows users to buy and track ads instantly via the web, and has produced what Pinterest calls a “healthy chunk” of revenue.

Enhanced targeting tools will soon offer 420 areas of interest on the platform (up from just 30) to help advertisers drill down into specific areas of pinning activity and find potential buyers. 

The new email targeting capability is particularly interesting, and follows similar moves by Facebook, Google, and Twitter to allow marketers to use their email lists for ad targeting. The new Pinterest functionality involves matching the uploaded list with email addresses tied to user accounts, and will include an encryption process known as “hashing” that keeps personally identifiable information out of the hands of advertisers. The subsequent database from this matching process goes into the new customer database targeting option.

Pinterest’s vast potential lies in the fact that it is a consumer-curated log of individual interests, aspirations and plans. Users (80% of whom are female) can browse vacation destinations, style tips, remodeling ideas or any number of other topics, Pin and organize them on Pinterest boards, and share the boards with other individuals and groups.

With the enhanced capabilities, Pinterest’s image-based discovery engine may finally be on its way to becoming the shopping juggernaut it has long promised to be. Ad revenues grew eightfold in 2015, and the company is targeting $2.8 billion in revenues by 2018—up from just $169 million last year.

Recommended Reading

Marketing Land: Pinterest lets brands target ads to people in their customer databases
Marketing Dive: Pinterest is at a revenue crossroads
Marketing Dive: Pinterest wants marketers to see it as a search channel


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