Rafael Sangiovanni|Oct 24, 2013

It was inevitable that the virtual cork board/social network Pinterest was going to feature advertising sooner or later. No popular and increasingly successful social media platform can steer completely clear of having to generate revenue. (They are still businesses, after all. Right, Instagram?)

And so it was that Pinterest started a limited rollout of Promoted Pins, which allow brands to insert their own pins into users’ content feeds and search results.

Those don’t really look like ads, do they?

Here’s the thing: Pinterest’s Promoted Pins not only make sense monetarily, but they can actually better serve the needs of the community and enhance the Pinterest experience. The key thing is that the ads are seamlessly integrated so as to be about the content.

One of the most unique aspects of Pinterest, compared to other social media platforms, is that it’s all about discovery. Every time users log into Pinterest, they’re presented with a mosaic of new content that’s addictively easy to navigate, pin and re-pin. It’s a social network designed for people to share what they love; in turn, users are rewarded for exploring.

Pinterest didn’t want to bastardize that core experience with their advertising. As it currently stands, Promoted Pins simply offer another opportunity to present users with new content. (Judging by the ad design, Pinterest clearly went out of their way to minimize the fact that those pins are paid for.) In that sense, brands can skillfully intrude the user experience without taking anything away.

That said, it’s going to be the responsibility of brands, advertisers and marketers to uphold the standards of the Pinterest experience. At rbb, we believe there are solid principles of good content marketing that apply to all social media platforms, namely knowing your audience and meeting their needs with your content.

Thus, how brands use – or misuse – Promoted Pins can have a huge impact on the ultimate success of this ad platform.

So, how do you think Pinterest is going to handle quality control? Do you agree or disagree with how Pinterest is monetizing their platform? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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