Today, Pinterest will start allowing advertising across its site, helping to boost the already effective traffic for brands. But are we ready for our social sites to be taken over by ads? And if so, can it be done well?
Online advertising. It’s been around for as long as the internet and are a vital part of most marketers playbook. And they’ve evolved – from the loud skyscraper in your face banner ad to more pointed and targeted messaging that shows at the right time with the right message (we know a little something about that).
Facebook was one of the first social sites to allow advertising, and it became the poor marketer’s dream. For a few cents you could actually pinpoint who you wanted to target your ads at and BOOM, they show up on the side of users feeds and you can start raking in the dough. Right? Well, in theory, yes. But in practice, most users got annoyed with ads pretty much overnight and voiced as much.
But then how have sites like Instagram – a social site primarily dependent on images and comments – and Twitter been able to run advertising without getting the same pushback that Facebook has? The main reason – they found a way to include the ads in a non-invasive and natural way. Fact is, unless you are really focusing on it, you might miss that it’s even an ad.
So with these two sites doing it well, so far, Pinterest announced that they too will be boarding the advertising train. Effective October 19th (yesterday) Pinterest will now start showing promoted pins based on your pins and brands you have shown interest in. And with the changes that Pinterest has made with layout over the last few months, the promoted posts won’t be glaring or annoying – at least that’s what they’re banking on.
From what I saw on my own Pinterest boards, the “promoted pins” are not jarring to the overall experience and I actually had to search to find one; however, I am sure that will change over time.
It makes sense to move in this direction as Pinterest has become a goliath in the world of social sharing. Pinterest’s users have created more than 750 million boards made up of more than 30 billion individual pins, with 54 million new ones added each day. During the 2013 holiday season Pinterest accounted for nearly a quarter of all social sharing activity. That makes Pinterest, with its 1.3 Billion users, the 2nd largest (only to Facebook) driver of traffic to brands on the web.
So congrats to Pinterest and best of luck! I, for one, am excited to see how they will continue to help drive business for brands and how it’s users react – or don’t – to advertising on their boards.