Pinterest has reportedly raised a new $200 million round of funding, valuing the company at $5 billion. Investors are apparently impressed with the direction the already popular visual social media site is taking, which includes new native ads and enhancements to the search experience.
Is Pinterest search part of your business strategy? Will it be in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Pinterest raised two separate rounds last year, totaling $425 million, and has now raised a grand total of $764 million.
ReadWrite shares this statement from Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann:
Pinterest has a vision of solving discovery and helping everyone find things they'll love. This new investment gives us additional resources to realize our vision.
"Solving discovery and helping everyone find things" makes it sound like search is going to continue to be the main focus.
Last month, the company launched Guided Search, which lets people find ideas for things like where to plan vacations, what to have for dinner, etc.
“It’s made for exploring, whether you know exactly what you want, or you’re just starting to look around,” explained Hui Xu, head of the discovery team at Pinterest. “There are more than 750 million boards with 30 billion Pins hand-picked by travelers, foodies, and other Pinners, so the right idea is just a few taps away.”
“Now when you search for something (road trips, running, summer BBQ), descriptive guides will help you sift through all the good ideas from other Pinners,” Xu added. “Scroll through the guides and tap any that look interesting to steer your search in the right direction. Say you’re looking for plants to green up your apartment, guides help you get more specific—indoors, shade, succulents—so you can hone in on the ones that suit your space. Or when it’s time for your next haircut, search by specific styles—for redheads, curly hair, layers—to find your next look.”
Here's a use case for plants:
This was the second big search move by Pinterest this year. In January, it launched an improved recipe search experience, enabling users to search for ingredients (like whatever is in their refrigerators), to find collections of relevant recipes. It has filters like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, etc.
One can see where this type of thing could be expanded to more verticals. The feature is part of Pinterest's "more useful Pins" initiative, which uses structured data (like ingredients, cook time, and servings) to display more info right on the pin.
Search is one of the most obvious ways of monetizing the site, and they're starting to do that as well. Earlier this week, Pinterest announced that it is rolling out the next phase of its Promoted Pins ad product, which it began testing last fall.
The company currently counts ABC Family, Banana Republic, Expedia, GAP, General Mills, Kraft, Lullemon Athletica, Nestle (Purina, Dreyer’s/Edy’s Ice Cream, Nespresso), Old Navy, Target, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Ziploc, among its advertisers.
“During the test brands will work with Pinterest to help ensure the pins are tasteful, transparent, relevant and improved based on feedback from the Pinterest community,” a Pinterest spokesperson told WebProNews in an email.
“Tens of millions of people have added more than 30 billion Pins to Pinterest and brands are a big part of this,” said head of partnerships Joanne Bradford. “Brands help people find inspiration and discover things they care about, whether it’s ideas for dinner, places to go or gifts to buy. We hope Promoted Pins give businesses of all sizes a chance to connect with more Pinners.”
The company will use this early group of advertisements to collect feedback, and will then open up them up to more businesses later this year.
AdAge reported a couple months back that Pinterest was looking for spending commitments of between one and two million dollars.
Later, Digiday shared a pitch deck from the company indicating that CPMs would be about $30, and that the company is seeking six-month commitments at roughly $150K per month ($900,000 total). Ads targeted upon search keywords will be priced on a CPC basis, it indicated, while those placed in “Everything & Popular Feeds” will be on a CPM basis. Promoted Pins can be placed in 32 different categories, according to that, and advertisers will be able to target US-only, the user’s location and the “metro-city level”. The ads will also be targeted based on device. Age will not be a targeting option initially, but apparently will become one later.
Traffic To Your Site
Promoted Pins might be out of your business' reach for now, but there's plenty of opportunity for some good old organic traffic. We recently looked at a report from Shareaholic on social media traffic referrals, which showed that Facebook referrals are growing significantly, with the social network leading all social sites. Guess what number 2 is.
Pinterest may be significantly behind Facebook in this department, but look how much further ahead it is than all the rest, and look at the growth curve compared to the rest. Now consider that they're only starting to make drastic search improvements. The site stands to only increase traffic referral potential.
If you haven't been using Pinterest for business, you may be unaware that it also recently added a new way for businesses to track their pinned links with support for Google Analytics UTM variables.
“If you’re already using Google Analytics, it’s easy to see how your Pins are performing by tagging your Pin links with the correct UTM parameters,” explained Pinterest’s Jason Costa. “If you’ve already got UTM tracking on your Pin links, you’ll start to see more activity on your campaign and source tracking on Google Analytics.”
Pinterest has suggested using humor, using quotes, going “behind-the-scenes,” including fans, highlighting products and spaces, offering exclusive content and “sneak peeks,” and helping users lived “inspired lives” as ways to generate more engagement and referrals.
Keep in mind that Pinterest so far hasn't been the greatest social channel for engagement after the click. Another recent Shareaholic report found it to be near the bottom of the list in the average time on site (your site) metric, and not all that great for the pages/visit metric either. But if you're looking to get people to a specific page, you could do a lot worse.
Pinterest Users Are Shoppers
Rest assured, Pinterest users want to buy things.
“Pinterest is becoming a universal in-store shopping list,” said Bob Gilbreath, co-founder and president of Ahalogy, Cincinnati, OH. “Many Pinterest users claim to pin items at home and then pull up the app in store, for example, to remember that dress from Nordstrom that she pinned, or find the ingredients for a recipe that she pinned.
“We’ve now got data to prove this is a common task: 28 percent of users claim to pull up the Pinterest app on their smartphones while shopping, and 52 percent of daily Pinterest users do this,” he said.
“Only 27 percent of active Pinterest users claim to be following any brand on Pinterest, yet most believe that marketers can add value to the platform. Too many brands have been on the sidelines of Pinterest.”
As Pinterest turns into more of a search destination, brands aren't going to necessarily need to gain large follower counts for the channel to be effective. That is if they can gain visibility in the results. It's only going to get more competitive.
Are you getting significant traffic and/or conversions from Pinterest? Do you expect to going forward? Let us know in the comments.
Images via Pinterest, Shareaholic