Pinterest Unveils Flurry of Ad Products, Names Monetization Exec

New Services Include In-House Creative, Audience Targeting, New Pricing, Cinematic Pins

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Pinterest has named its first general manager of monetization and is adding services and products to its Promoted Pins platform, including an in-house creative arm called Pin Factory, new pricing structures, improved audience targeting and animated "Cinematic Pins."

Tim Kendall, head of product management, will now be Pinterest's first general manager of monetization, overseeing the sales, marketing and product development for its ad and partner solutions.

Aligning those operations will help Pinterest more easily respond to marketers, according to Mr. Kendall, who called the structure uncommon among Pinterest's peers.

"The intent is so we can move faster," said Mr. Kendall. "Now we're organized so that we're set up to respond as rapidly to marketer needs as possible."

Mr. Kendall had been head of product management at Pinterest since 2012 and was previously director of monetization at Facebook from 2006 to 2010.

Pinterest is also rolling out new products and services to marketers that mirror marketers' goals, Mr. Kendall said. Among its new services are Cinematic Pins, animated pins that move when the user scrolls and stops when the user stops. Pinterest recently tested animated pins, but Mr. Kendall said that the new service is "a big evolution of that," adding that speed at which a user is scrolling dictates how fast the cinematic pin is moving. "It shows that the user still feels like they're in control," he said, adding that the company discovered most people don't like autoplay video ads.

Initial advertising partners include L'Oreal, Gap, Unilever, Walgreens and Wendy's.

Since Pinterest introduced Promoted Pins in a limited way last May and widely in January, the company and marketers have discovered that most Pinterest users are using the platform to plan events in the future, whether buying clothes or taking a trip, Mr. Kendall said. Users' actions fell into three categories: discovering things, saving things or taking action on something, like clicking through and making a purchase, he said.

Pinterest discovered that those three categories of user behavior matched marketers' goals of driving awareness, increasing purchase intent and getting consumers to take action, added Mr. Kendall. The services the company is now offering revolve around those marketer goals and user behavior, he said.

Targeting and pricing
The company is also getting more sophisticated with its targeting, it said. This summer it will offer audience targeting that corresponds to users' interests, life stages and personas. Marketers will be able to target audiences such as millennials, gardeners, foodies, travelers, and so on. Prior to this Pinterest offered category targeting like sports, or more narrowly, soccer -- what Mr. Kendall called "classic contextual targeting within Pinterest categories" -- but the company had hinted at creating more sophisticated targeting services.

And Pinterest is offering two new pricing structures for marketers. For marketers that are interested in driving Pinterest users' intent to purchase, Pinterest is rolling out "cost per engagement" pricing under which a marketer will only pay when the user signals some sort of intent toward the brand, like a repin, a click-through to a marketer's website, or what Pinterest calls a close-up, when a user clicks on a pin to view it better.

For advertisers interested in driving action -- the actual purchase of a marketers' product or service -- Pinterest this summer will be offering a "cost per action" pricing structure.

The cost per click structure that has been availble since Pinterest introduced Promoted Pins will continue to be available.

"We want to make it easy for marketers to work with us," Mr. Kendall said. "They are only paying us if we achieve their objectives, and that takes the risk out of advertising on Pinterest, which we think is really important."

Mr. Kendall was reluctant to call the company's new in-house creative operation, Pin Factory, an internal agency but said it includes a handful of creatives who can create Promoted Pins on marketers' behalf.

The company also recently created a program for Pinterest-sanctioned marketing technology companies to offer tools for marketers to manage their Pinterest accounts, making it easier for brands to post content and pay to promote posts.

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