Over the past few months, Pinterest has made the jump into ad sales with its new paid search platform and Pinterest Ads Manager app. The scale of the website, the addition of visual search tech and the niche oriented approach could soon bring Pinterest Paid Ads into competition with some of its predecessors.
Pinterest Ad’s Ads Manager app services are open to all businesses with at least one Pin. The Manager gives companies the ability to create, optimize and track selected Pins. Most impressively, however, is the focus on the so called “discovery” phase of paid search. This phase is said to occur when the user is open to suggestions about a purchase and does not have anything specific in mind.
Because Pinterest is focusing on users who are in the beginning of their customer journeys, they have invested a great deal of time and tech into the visual aspects of search. Huge investments in object detection and image recognition technologies gave birth to the interesting Pinterest Lens search tool. This tool works a bit like the Related Images search on Google. From a picture, a user highlights an item that triggers a keyword. The keyword then triggers related images.
Pinterest ran a test on its services with some of the biggest advertisers in the world – Kenshoo, Target, and eBay, among others. Feedback on this new search technique was overwhelmingly positive. Although the Pinterest Lens is a new idea, it is quite intuitive and straightforward in terms of discovering new possibilities for a purchase. It is safe to say that Google actually stole some ideas from Pinterest for its own image search in the past few months.
Pinterest has compiled an impressive list of statistics that seem to point to plenty of opportunity for new advertisers. The site now boasts over 200 million users and 2 billion searches per month. Companies already on Pinterest take up a large part of the interest users generate, with 75% of saved Pins coming from commercial sources. Pinterest is also promoting the fact that the overwhelming majority of its searches (97%) are not branded whatsoever.
A Native Feel
Pinterest made the wise choice to allow ads to look very similar to organic Pins. This actually gives Pinterest a more sophisticated platform than even AdWords, which seems to relish in its highly recognized format for paid advertisements.
Where Pinterest may fall short is in its keyword options. It took many of its ideas from AdWords, meaning that it will falter where AdWords falters. However, Pinterest is promising newer ideas in the future for both keywords and audience granularity.
Paid ad images also have a much higher chance of being mistaken for organic content in the mobile environment by users. In the early stages at least, this may be important for driving new advertisers and users to the Pinterest app.
Is Pinterest Paid Search the Future of Search?
There is certainly a great deal of promise in Pinterest’s initiatives. Only time will tell if the company can build on its current momentum, but the odds certainly look good. With new options such as auto targeting announced recently, Pinterest seems to be studying its audience and its competitors, looking for opportunities to improve the way that we perform searches online.