For example, Pinterest could conceivably have a retargeting
business where it sells "promoted pins" to a retailer like Gap that wants to get items that
Pinterest users looked at on its website in front of them again
while they're browsing the social network. It could also use the
data to build up valuable audience segments of users interested in
baby clothes or wedding dresses to sell to marketers who want to
advertise on Pinterest or even eventually use it to create a
full-fledged ad network.
But for now, Pinterest will only use the data for
recommendations. "If you're planning a party and have gone to lots
of party sites recently, we'll try to suggest boards to make your
event a hit," said a blog post explaining the change.
At the same time that the company announced that it will start
making use of the data it collects about users, it also announced
that it will let them opt out of data collection altogether. A "Do
Not Track" option will now be available in account settings.
tracking practices and use of cookie data more transparent. For
example, a line that currently reads "We get technical information
when you use our products" has been expanded to read "We also get
technical information when you use our products or use websites or
apps that have Pinterest features."
While the company hasn't announced when it will launch ads, it
appears to be putting the building blocks in place with key hires
over the last several months. In February it hired Steve
Patrizi to be head of partner marketing, a role that involves
working with brands to help them master best practices for
publishing on the platform. Presumably brands that are actively
publishing on Pinterest will be more apt to purchase ads from it
when the time comes.
It also hired John Yi last month to lead partnerships with
marketing developers. To date Pinterest hasn't released tools for
developers looking to build software to help marketers with
publishing or analytics, but Mr. Yi's hire suggests that a
Pinterest API could soon become a reality. He previously ran
Facebook's preferred marketing developer program.