Pinterest Launches Search Ads

Pinterest has launched a paid search ad product to monetize product discovery.

What’s Changed?

On January 31st, Pinterest announced the launch of Pinterest Search Ads. This new product will allow brands to gain visibility against specific search terms when users search them on Pinterest. Visibility will be in the form of a product image – similar to Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs), allowing brands to get their products in front of Pinterest’s users who are often looking for inspiration or creating a plan for something specific to do or buy. At the moment, the search alpha only places ads in search results and related pins.

What Does the Change Mean?

The launch of this product deepens a brand’s ability to engage with Pinterest’s users and gives Pinterest – along with Amazon and Criteo Sponsored Products (formerly Hooklogic) – a growing stake in the fragmenting search landscape. Pinterest’s positioning as the “world’s catalog of ideas” fits well with the discovery mindset of search and search advertising, and with an audience receptive to new ideas and looking for suggestions, this product could be a boon for many brands.

Pinterest claims some impressive search stats that are likely to pique the interest of many brands:
pinterest_search_ads

  • Over 2 billion monthly searches, from over 150 million people who use Pinterest to “plan everything from tomorrow’s lunch to next year’s round the world adventure” – this planning / “looking for inspiration” mindset is key to the likely success of this ad product
  • Pinterest studies also suggest that Pinterest users start searching as much as three months before they purchase – again aligning with the top-of-the-funnel brand-awareness opportunities
  • Over 97% of the top searches on Pinterest were unbranded – meaning that there is opportunity to attract customers that have not yet made a brand choice, or may not yet have been aware of a brand

Broad match keyword targeting has always been available on Pinterest through third parties. With this update, Pinterest now allows for phrase match on top of the original broad match type. Exact match is not available just yet. Search query reporting allows advertisers to negate terms that they wouldn’t want to match to. Winning bids are evaluated with a combination of bid price and ad relevance determining the eventual cost per click (CPC). These capabilities bring Pinterest more in-line with other search products like Google, who have similar targeting and evaluation criteria. Pinterest has partnered with Kenshoo to deliver these new capabilities, which provides a platform that many search marketers are already familiar with to help manage yet-another-new-interface in an easier and more efficient way.

Implications for Advertisers?

This is positive news for advertisers. More inventory, particularly at the top of the funnel, should help to increase awareness for participating brands. Initially, this inventory will likely be more affordable than the existing, more heavily populated Google ad auctions; however, assuming the audience is as active and responsive as suggested, we would not expect those auctions to remain lower-priced for too long.

Advertisers and agencies will also need to decide where this budget will come from, and who will manage the activity to drive the best ROI.

Key Takeaways

  • Pinterest search product looks particularly effective for driving brand awareness and purchase.
  • This product is unique – as is the audience – among social companies, and is far more akin to ‘traditional’ search engine user behavior (user is actively seeking something vs. browsing).
  • A huge percentage of Pinterest searches are unbranded, presenting a vast opportunity for advertisers to get brands in front of undecided buyers.
NOTE: This is an educational piece and by no means provides an endorsement of any particular media/technology supplier. It is essential that investment decisions are fully counseled by your Digital Investment Group.

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