Thursday, June 11th, 2015 | 7 min read
Pinterest has had a busy couple of months. First, it launched the Marketing Developer Program (MDP), which allows a select group of software companies to connect to the Pinterest Content Publishing API so that their users can deliver more engaging content on Pinterest. Then, in May of this year, Pinterest got everyone talking with the launch of its first animated Promoted Pin – Cinematic Pins – as well as a series of important changes to its targeting options and ad pricing structure. Most recently, Pinterest launched Buyable Pins, an in-app shopping feature.
In this post we’ll examine Cinematic Pins, Pinterest’s eye-catching alternative to video ads. We’ll also run through the new targeting and pricing options, which are designed to give brands the ability to optimize campaigns for awareness, intent, and action. Then we’ll explore how Buyable Pins could completely change the way brands approach online retail.
Cinematic Pins are Pinterest’s response to video ads, but they function more like gifs than actual videos. When a Cinematic Pin appears on a user’s home or category feed, it will move at the speed the user scrolls, stop when the user stops, and play backwards if they scroll up. It’s a clever trick that gives the user control without the need for a “skip ad” button. If a user clicks a Cinematic Pin, he or she will see a longer, looping version of the animation.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat all offer video ads to advertisers, and it was a matter of time before Pinterest followed suit. Video ads not only lead in engagement; they also command higher rates than standard social advertising. But Pinterest didn’t want to simply offer autoplay videos. Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s general manager for monetization, told Marketing Land:
What’s really unique about this is that it keeps the user in control… We believe that autoplay as it exists today is interruptive and annoying. What we believe we have achieved with Cinematic Pins is a way to delight the user, let them stay in control of motion while also allowing the brand to tell their story.
The stop-frame animated effect is similar to techniques often used by brands on Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat to create stop frame videos, like this example for Yoplait yogurt.
Cinematic Pins are closer in style to user-made, “authentic” animations than polished videos with high production value. Also, creating Cinematic Pins is more accessible for brands; they don’t need to produce a full video. A few frames of action taken with a still camera is all that’s required.
Pinterest already has advertisers such as Gap, L’Oreal, Nestlé, Unilever, Visa, and Wendy’s signed up for Cinematic Pins. And, to help these brands get comfortable with the new ad format, Pinterest has set up a creative studio called the Pin Factory.
Before now, there was only one kind of ad on Pinterest (Promoted Pins, which are now called Classic Pins) and two pricing options. Big budget advertisers could sign up for the managed full-service option with a $1m commitment and pay on a CPM basis (which is charged based on ad exposures), or smaller companies could use Pinterest’s self-serve tool to set up their own campaigns and pay on a CPC basis (they only pay when a user clicks).
Pinterest’s targeting options were also fairly basic, allowing brands to target based on location, language, device, or gender.
With the recent announcements, this has all changed. In addition to awareness (CPM) or action (CPC), Pinterest ads can also be bought on a cost-per-engagement basis. There’s also a much broader range of targeting options, allowing brands to target users based on interests like traveling, personas like foodies, or generations like millennials.
App Pins, which allow the promotion of apps with direct links to download, will also become promotable on a cost-per-download basis.
Here’s how Pinterest’s new ad options stack up:
Pinterest says its users have been begging for a buy button, and they are about to get what they want in the form of Buyable Pins.
It works like this: if a Pin has a price listed in blue, then users can buy the product on the Pinterest platform. Users can select options like alternative colors and pay using Apple Pay or a credit card, all within the Pinterest app or site.
This is huge news for brands, as it turns Pinterest into a true ecommerce platform. Now, rather than users discovering products on Pinterest and finalizing the purchase elsewhere, the whole sale can be processed within the Pinterest platform.
This also raises the possibility of one-click buying, buying from different brands in one shopping basket, or even for brands to host their entire online store on the Pinterest platform.
Buyable Pins are about to drop in the U.S. on Android and the Pinterest website, and they will be available on Apple devices in a few weeks. And best of all, Buyable pins are completely free for brands to use.
Brands can find out more on Pinterest’s business blog.
Pinterest has long been seen as the Holy Grail for online shopping, but, until now, the advertising options haven’t really played to that strength. As TechCrunch reports, Pinterest has concentrated on getting the core product right before developing its advertising options. Now, Pinterest sets itself apart from other social platforms by encompassing the complete funnel of purchase behavior: looking for inspiration, searching for specific products, and then actually buying those products.
The addition of Cinematic Pins, Buyable Pins, and the new targeting and purchasing options make Pinterest a more well-rounded, compelling advertising platform that can be used to target consumers at any stage of the journey – from awareness and discovery right through to purchase.
What do you think of Pinterest’s new advertising features?
About the Author: Jamie O’Brien is part of the Sprinklr content team and is based in Singapore. In a previous life, he was a digital art director in London. He likes to get away from the city as often as is humanly possible to snowboard, dive or hike.