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Pinterest Unveils New Tech to Become More Measurable For Brands

Launch Marks First Time Pinterest Has Opened Its Platform to Third-Party Developers

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Now open for business with its new ad offering, Pinterest has taken the long-awaited step of making itself more measurable to brands.

The four-year-old social-bookmarking company is opening up a business insights API, letting a small group of developers who build software for marketers tap into intelligence about how pins are performing across its network of 30 billion and counting of them. (API stands for application-programming interface and is a set of rules that allows third parties to interact with platforms and services.)

It's the first time Pinterest has let third-party developers build on top of its platform and an anticipated move since the company hired John Yi away from Facebook last year. Mr. Yi had previously headed up Facebook's sprawling preferred marketing developer program.

Now brands on Pinterest can learn which of their products are most popular across the network, what types of images are being shared and liked the most, and which pins are driving the most traffic and sales via services like Percolate and Spredfast that they may use to manage their social presences on other networks. Acting on those insights, a shoe retailer might decide to modify an in-store display or swap out a product photo on a website, depending on which of its pins are most popular, for example.

The API unveiling closely follows Pinterest formal launch of its ads, which it sought $1 million to $2 million commitments for. It follows that as Pinterest looks to secure more commitments, it needs to become more measurable and make it easy for marketers to see what sorts of high-performing content might be worth boosting with paid ads.

Though companies like Piqora and Curalate had previously been furnishing pin-level insights to customers, they were doing so by using scraping technologies instead of effectively being welcomed through Pinterest's front gates.

Curalate's CEO Apu Gupta expects the API to urge some previously hesitant brands to dive into Pinterest, now that it's become more measurable in a way that's formally sanctioned by the company.

"There have been conservative brands that have been sitting on the sidelines," he said.

Pinterest is starting out small with seven "MarTech" developers: Salesforce's ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, Hootsuite, Spredfast, Percolate, Piqora, Curalate and Tailwind.

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