Pinterest, the four-year old social network that functions as a digital scrapbook will soon allow marketers to advertise to the site’s almost 50 million users.
Pinterest began testing promoted pins on both its web and mobile apps about six months ago with a set of undisclosed businesses. Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s CEO, was very clear that the intention was to test the ad product, not make money. “Nobody’s paying for anything yet—we want to see how things go and, more than anything, hear what you think,” he wrote in a blog post.
By summer, a select number of advertisers will be able to place promoted posts in category feeds and user searches. Pinterest wants these visual ads to be viewed more like magazine ads than typical online ad units.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Pinterest ad chief Joanne Bradford equates them to “works of art.” It’s a smart strategy aimed at siphoning more ad dollars away from legacy media formats like print and television, but it will place Pinterest in direct competition with photo-sharing app Instagram, which has the exact same plan.
Because of their highly visual attributes, both Pinterest and Instagram offer a very intriguing medium for advertisers online. Pinterest launched it’s 6 month experiment using brands like Four Seasons and TRESemme to test out the ad units. There is no word yet on who it’s first paid marketers will be.
To read more about Pinterest ads and how they are selling them to agencies, click here.