Pinterest’s Latest Announcement Is A Big Deal
Pinterest is the biggest untapped opportunity for e-commerce advertisers…and it is getting a little better. On April 27th, Pinterest debuted their Marketing Developer Program aimed at improving content management tools for businesses. Pinterest also teased (again) the Promoted Pins Ads API which remains in closed beta. CMOs who do not have Pinterest on their marketing roadmap would be well advised to do so quickly.
The audience demographic and level of engagement on Pinterest are ideal for many e-commerce advertisers. Pew Research Center, a market research firm, shows 28% of the adult internet population use Pinterest, an adoption level exceeded only by Facebook, and tied with LinkedIn. Women represent the majority of Pinterest’s user base, but men are adopting rapidly. The unique highly visual experience, and Pinterest’s focus on activity-based KPIs are creating a rich community of potential customers.
Ad and content management tools, to date, have been limited. Pinterest released full-service CPM Ads to the public in December 2014, but self-service CPC Promoted Pins are in beta, and Pinterest’s Ads API is tightly closed and near mythical. Pinterest’s latest announcement suggests those barriers are starting to come down.
Pinterest Third-Party Ecosystem Growing and Your Life Getting Easier
The new Marketing Developer Program is Pinterest’s first formal attempt to grow a third-party partner ecosystem. The focus at the outset is the content management API, with a small selection of companies participating in the program. The launch cohort includes tools that will be familiar to many social marketers, like Buffer and Percolate, and a few pure-play Pinterest tools like Tailwind.
Facebook benefitted from their Preferred Marketing Developer program (now called the Marketing Partner program), both from customized solutions created by third parties which increased penetration of niches, and from a higher velocity and variation of idea generation than Facebook might have otherwise sustained.
Pinterest is probably looking to achieve the same result. Pinterest’s involvement with external market technology has evolved slower than Facebook, for a variety of reasons. The MDP launch marks an exciting transition for marketing managers seeking to improve management of content and creative workflows on Pinterest.
Ads API on the Way…Eventually
Direct response advertisers will be both pleased and disappointed by the latest news on Promoted Pins. Paid advertising on Pinterest has had a very slow rollout. That pace is not likely to change with this announcement–but advertisers should take heart this signals it will likely not slow either.
The self-serve CPC Promoted Pins product has been available on a limited basis for some time now (1226 Digital manages a number of Pinterest Promoted Pin campaigns). Without Ads API partners, campaign management is limited to Pinterest’s own business interface. Campaign managers who rely on third-party tools to be effective on other networks will be disappointed. Success on Pinterest is very hands-on.
Pinterest Ads API news has appeared, and disappeared, in various forms for a few years. The April announcement is a comforting public reminder Pinterest is aware of the need and developing a solution. ROI and scale are available now on Promoted Pins–but process efficiency will be greatly improved from API integration with mainstream third-party tools. We are keeping a close eye on this space.
Smart Advertisers Should Be Launching Now
Advertisers, especially direct response and e-Commerce companies, should be taking a close look at Pinterest Promoted Pin campaigns right now.
First, Pinterest is signaling they take this business seriously–betting on the future of Promoted Pins is a smart play for CMOs looking for new growth areas.
Second, advertisers can still gain first-mover advantage in what is, in our opinion, and under-populated ads market.
Third, Pinterest’s unique format will continue to require specialized best practices to maximize performance–investing in the development of that expertise now will create the biggest opportunity for gains in the future.
Smart advertisers will be launching now to develop processes and best practices specific to Pinterest Promoted Pins. With additional features from Pinterest and third parties on the horizon in the next 6-12 months, the rich will only get richer.