Over the last year, visual discovery platform Pinterest (don’t call it social media) has rolled out a series of features to help make it more commercial. There are ad opportunities for brands, and internally these placements are seen as additive to the user experience by the users themselves. As we reported recently, Pinterest considers its members high intent. They see images of products in authentic user-generated photos and want to buy them.
So instead of somehow crafting this intent to purchase, it appears that Pinterest is solving for it as an already existing problem. A good problem to have if the solution is more advertising from big-box retailers and DTC startups alike, across many verticals.
Another good problem to have is that the 200 billion-plus Pins posted on the site are considered “evergreen” or timeless. With this growing database of images, and improved visual search algorithms to structure the data, a pair of jeans from two or five years ago can be rediscovered and matched to a newly trending look this fall.
If the primary selling point to advertisers is the volume of users and high level of engagement by them, another positive that comes to mind is the convenience that AI technology provides in order to get businesses of all sizes live on the site. I recently completed a walk-through of Pinterest’s Catalog option, which automatically converts a brand’s entire line of products, or a specific collection, into discreet Pins. These products become seamless native ads, with a buy button that sends a user to the seller’s checkout cart.
Intuitive user design for advertisers can be an even bigger deal for smaller DTC businesses with a lean workforce and budget.
Yesterday, Pinterest launched new Mobile Ad tools globally, specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to make quick decisions on their Pinterest ad spend.
“Giving small and medium sized businesses the tools to be successful on Pinterest has been a strategic focus for us, and we’ll continue to make our advertising solutions easily accessible and more intuitive,” said Harold Klaje, Global Head of Growth and SMB at Pinterest. “Over the past year, we have released dozens of features and ad formats that make it easier for businesses of all sizes to advertise and to generate and measure results, including our conversion optimizer and the updates we’ve made to our self-serve tool Ads Manager.”
Cleveland-based leather goods DTC retailer FOUNT was an early user of the Mobile Ad tools in beta. The brand, founded by Jackie and Philip Wachter, was already well-acquainted with the traffic generated from Pinterest, from their early days as a husband-and-wife creative team launching the brand in 2014.
Philip Wachter told me, “Since FOUNT started, we have always enjoyed being able to share the creative work of our brand with the Pinterest community and have seen general interest and organic engagement with our Pins driving traffic to our site.”
He added, “As we started truly cultivating boards and utilizing the mobile ad features – promoting our Pins that were organically showing engagement – we were delighted to see significant increases in our website traffic. Through our website analytics, we saw that on the days we had promos running, the majority of our social traffic to our website was coming from Pinterest.”
According to Wachter, FOUNT’s initial audience was women, ages 45 to 65. As the brand evolved through digital channels, the age demo shifted to 27 to 42, while the audience has become more “style forward.”
“Beyond sharing Pins and encouraging customers to pin their photos of their FOUNT bags, Pinterest has been a wonderful space for us to create mood boards helping to shape the aesthetic perception of how people visually experience our brand,” Wachter said. “When clients visit our profile or follow our boards, they see our product, but also other Pins that we feel reinforce our brand and communicate who we are as a brand, not just what we sell.”
In the case of a DTC like FOUNT, the Pinterest mobile ads experience offers a middle road for brands who don’t budget for creative optimization and media vendors. They can control and test things out themselves. FOUNT discovered that for them, $30 per day for seven days was an optimal way to test a promotion, then stick with it depending on the response.
“Once we see how the responses to that campaign go, we will put several hundred dollars behind a post for a few more days to see if we continue to see heavy engagement,” Wachter explained. “If the Pin continues to see interactions from the public, we continue to promote it. Mobile Ad tools is truly great for being able to quickly take action on promoting a Pin while on the go.”