As Pinterest continues to grow in popularity, so too does the interest in the ability for brands and marketers to advertise on the social platform. While options are still somewhat limited at this time and not available to all advertisers, here is what we do know regarding Pinterest’s advertising opportunity, Promoted Pins.

Promoted Pin Basics

Promoted Pins launched in October of 2013 on both Pinterest’s website and within their popular mobile application. Promoted Pins operate similarly to Promoted Tweets on Twitter and the suite of ‘Promoted’ products on Facebook in that they allow businesses to buy space within a user’s experience on the platform, i.e. a brand can promote a specific product or good through a branded pin that will be shown to specific audiences.

Ads are purchased based upon contextual relevancy and are then matched up with the search interest of the Pinterest user and shown within their search results. For instance, someone looking for ‘Nursery Decor’ may be shown a Promoted Pin for a baby store that sells cribs, changing tables, etc. Though Promoted Pins are a form of native advertising (and therefore tend to blend into the overall user experience), all Promoted Pins are designated as such with a ‘Promoted’ label so users are made aware that they are seeing an advertisement.

Should I Advertise on Pinterest?

One of the most compelling reason for brands to advertise on Pinterest is the dedicated audience to which this platform provides access. Pinterest audiences are incredibly engaged, spending up to 15 minutes per day on the social channel. The ability to target non-followers with Promoted Pins is an enticing way to expand reach to new, untapped and heavily engaged audiences with a likelihood to have interest in your brand or products.

Also, the platform itself is already full of pictures of popular products and goods (as opposed to more relational pictures such as those comprised of family, friends and vacations on Facebook, for instance), so audiences are not as likely to be put off by an advertisement for such items. Many brands themselves already have popular pin boards so users have become accustomed to having a branded presence within their Pinterest experience.

Because of its focus on product showcasing, Pinterest has proven itself to be a top referrer to e-commerce sites, meaning that advertising on this platform has the possibility to pay for itself many times over, if done effectively. Hard to argue with positive ROI, isn’t it?

More to Come

While there are certainly a plethora of reasons to advertise on Pinterest, the opportunity is not without its considerations. At the time of launch, only select retailers and businesses were invited to participate in the testing of Promoted Pins. It remains to be seen when this initiative will be released from beta and made available to additional brands with business pages on the platform.

Additionally, though 70 million users is quite impressive, compared to other social channels such as Facebook with nearly 2 billion and Twitter with nearly 232 million users, the Pinterest audience is quite small. The audience is more niche than other platforms as well, still skewing towards a high household income female (though other demographics are certainly growing).

As with any digital marketing initiative, especially those that require a media investment, it’s always best to make sure your tactics align with the goals you have for your brand and the initiatives’ ability to achieve these desired outcomes. Do you offer a product or service that is well suited to be promoted on Pinterest? Consider your audience: are they likely to spend time on this platform? If the answer to these questions is yes then advertising on Pinterest may be worth investigating further. But if resources (human or capital) are limited, consider focusing your efforts elsewhere, no matter how tempting the allure of a new advertising option may be.