A Year Since its UK Launch, Pinterest’s Advertising Programme Continues to Evolve

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A lot has happened in the year since Pinterest launched Promoted Pins in the UK and extended its Marketing Partner Programme to include British businesses. Not only has the platform significantly increased its global users to reach 175 million monthly active users; a range of new features, ad products and platform updates have launched over the past twelve months as well.

Pinterest’s API offering naturally builds on the platform’s unique nature and native USP: 75% of the content currently comes from businesses, so people are inherently receptive to brands, products, and services. As a result, Promoted Pins are interwoven into the platform’s organic service without interrupting or disturbing the Pinner experience.

Adaptly, as an early Pinterest API partner, has offered brands the ability to plan, deploy, optimise, and report on paid media campaigns since the programme initially launched in the US – gaining deep insights and learnings that have enabled us to truly maximise success for UK-based clients. And, over the past twelve months, Pinterest has continuously worked to develop and improve its advertising offer – for consumers, advertisers, and API partners alike.

A tool to design your life, Pinterest is all about planning and visual inspiration. In June last year, the platform announced a subtle yet important change to the user interface, by renaming its “Pin” button to the more utilitarian “Save”. The update is important as it further improves Pinners’ experience on the platform; especially for those located in international markets where the notion of “Pinning” might seem confusing or vague. Ten months on, tests show that the renamed button has led to an 8% increase in Pins saved (formerly known as “repins”) on the platform – a significant figure for brands as this form of earned media is unique to the Pinterest offer.

In the last year, Pinterest has also continued to significantly evolve the ad products and related features offered to advertisers. In August, the platform introduced auction-based CPM campaigns, allowing brands to bid on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis. It also introduced a frequency capping feature, granting advertisers control over the number of times individual users will see a specific ad. The addition is interesting for advertisers as it enables them to further fine-tune the strategy and execution of campaigns, making sure that their Pinterest activity delivers measurable results against a range of various of objectives.

One of the most compelling additions to Pinterest’s advertising offer is last year’s roll out of Promoted Video, following a 60% increase in organic video consumption on the platform. The format is particularly effective as videos are accompanied by a row of related Pins – a feature which has shown to inspire 67% of users to take action when seeing ads. Social video formats are great for offering highly engaging experiences, connecting with users in an immersive and all-consuming way. And with the majority of Pinterest’s content linking back to a brand’s own assets (or a third party site showcasing its products) skilfully created video ads tend to sit seamlessly within the native customer journey.

A key strength of Pinterest is that searches are based on keywords, meaning that advertisers have the opportunity to serve highly relevant content to the right audience, at the right time. Earlier this year, the platform introduced a new Search Ad format, allowing brands to connect directly with users who are actively searching for their products. More specifically, this includes “keyword” and “shopping” campaigns shown within the search results section, and comes with a range of new targeting and reporting options aimed at creating a smoother and more relevant experience for both users and advertisers.

Kyle Benedetti, Adaptly’s VP of Partnerships, says: “Much of Pinterest’s growth in the past year comes from international markets. The platform currently has over 10 million users in the UK and this naturally opens up significant opportunities for advertisers in that region. As a platform, Pinterest is unique in that it borders between social and search, meaning that most users are actively there to discover products and new ideas. In the light of last year’s developments, as well as what’s in the pipeline, I think we can expect a lot of exciting things from Pinterest in 2017”.

Looking ahead, the concepts of search and discovery will stay a focal point for Pinterest. In February, the platform launched Lens – a new visual search tool that uses machine vision to detect real-world object and match them to related items within the app. It is the next version of digital discovery and online shopping which, in combination with other features such as Shop the Look and Buyable Pins, further facilitates the shopping experience and helps brands drive actual conversions on the platform.

Twelve months since launching Promoted Pins in the UK, Pinterest continues to develop and improve its offer for advertisers in a steadily growing number of markets. It will be interesting to follow the platform’s continued evolution in the year to come.