Pinterest, the digital catalogue of objects, how-to, recipe and article “pins,” is offering marketers video advertisements for the first time.
The San Francisco, Calif.-based company said on Wednesday that advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. can now purchase video ads, called “promoted video,” which will mainly run in users’ feeds but may appear in search results and other parts of the app over time. Pinterest’s move reinforces the importance of video to online advertising businesses, and is a format that has already been embraced by the likes of Google, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, all of which compete for users’ mobile screen time and digital ad dollars. Pinterest is uniquely positioned among online networks in that 75% of content on the site is created by businesses. Users go to Pinterest ready to explore products they could use in real life, often for projects, personal styling, trips or major events like having a baby or a wedding.
“There are a lot of places where users can watch video but can’t take the next step to learn more about a product or buy it — on Pinterest, people are here to do that,” Mike Bidgoli, Pinterest’s product manager for monetization said in an interview. Bidgoli’s online shopping startup Tote was acquired by Pinterest earlier this year.
“Video on Pinterest is not just about offering marketers views, but about offering action,” Bidgoli added.
Pinterest said video ads have been the top request it has received from advertisers. The site’s data backs its push into the format. Pinterest, which has 100 million monthly users, said the number of videos on the site has grown by 60% over the past year, featuring anything from home projects and hair and beauty tutorials to work out or cooking videos. Data shared by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers general partner Mary Meeker earlier this year showed that 55% of people on Pinterest want to shop for products, compared to just 12% of people on social networks. Marketers are expected to spend $12.82 billion on digital-video ads in 2018, up from $7.7 billion last year, according to the research firm L2.
Instead of autoplaying from start to finish like video ads on Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest’s video ads will appear as previews in users’ home feeds and will play at a speed that corresponds with users’ scrolling pace. Users can view the video ad with sound by clicking on the ad. Nearly 70% of Pinterest users say video on Pinterest spurs them to take an action. Pinterest’s new video ads, which run through Pinterest’s native video player, make it easy for businesses to browse up to six product “pins” below the video. Makeup company bareMinerals, for example, has used video to demo beauty products above a selection of items for purchase.
Pinterest said it charges for video impressions, but advertisers can feature pins below videos ads for no extra cost. Currently video ads have a time limit of five minutes, but Pinterest said it could adjust length eventually. For now, Pinterest’s video ads are only available on mobile, the way more than 80% of users spend their time on the site.
“We definitely see mobile as where this product lives,” Bidgoli said. “Video has been organically saved on our platform for a few years, and video will have a permanent home on Pinterest.”
Pinterest said a recent study with Millard Brown showed that promoted video “performs well across a wide range of products and businesses, including food, beauty, financial services and entertainment.” The General Mills food brand, for example, found that prompted video ads were four times more memorable than non-video ads on Pinterest.
“We’ve run several campaigns with Pinterest and consider video a natural evolution on how we want to connect with our Pinterest audience,” Meredith Schaffner, marketing manager at Old El Paso said in a statement. “Our customers come to Pinterest with high intent and the ability to show a recipe and our products through video is a unique opportunity to drive higher performance.”
Some of the other marketing partners in the launch are Kate Spade, Lionsgate, PURINA and BEHR Paint. Pinterest said earlier this month that it has been testing improvements to video discovery on the site by boosting the distribution of video and powering more personalized video recommendations. Pinterest was most recently valued by investors at $11 billion and reportedly generated about $100 million in revenue last year.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Story By Kathleen Chaykowski | Forbes
San Francisco-based reporter on Forbes’ tech team. Covers tech with an emphasis on the people, companies and innovations in the world of social and digital media. Before joining Forbes, worked as a news writer and producer at The Wall Street Journal in New York. Reported for Bloomberg News in San Francisco and New York and for the WSJ in Johannesburg, South Africa. In college, edited and wrote for The Stanford Daily.
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