Pinterest has become the latest social network to experiment with paid advertisements, with the scrapbooking sight announcing a testing phase for its Promoted Pins.
Twelve big name brands from the entertainment, travel, fashion and food industries have partnered with Pinterest for the test, which is running in the US only.
The brands are lululemon athletica, Bananda Republic, General Mills, Old Navy, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Ziploc, Target, three Nestle brands, Kraft, Gap, Expedia.com and ABC Family.
Pinterest’s head of partnerships, Joanne Bradford, said the test is to make sure the ads are “tasteful, transparent, relevant and improved based on Pinner feedback”.
In the company’s announcement Bradford said they are keeping the test small to collect as much feedback as possible so Pinterest “continues to be a great experience for everyone”.
“Tens of millions of people have added more than 30 billion Pins to Pinterest and brands are a big part of this. 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.”
Pinterest hopes to open Promoted Pins up to more businesses throughout the year.
The choice of brands trialling the paid search and category feed ads points to Instagram’s female skew.
The social-pinning platform is reportedly valued at just under $US4bn and, according to eMarketer, 30 million of its 34.9 million US users are women.
By the end of this year the number of US women using Pinterest is expected to grow to 34.1 million plus 6 million males.
eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson told Forbes that Pinterest is a “great environment” for brands targeting females.
“When people use Pinterest, they’re raising their hand and saying they’re interested in something by the fact that they’re pinning it. That makes them a really strong market for advertising.”
According to AdWeek, Pinterest is encroaching on Google’s search turf with its Promoted Pins which can be bought by keywords.