Pinterest: Monetizing and Personalizing the Social-Sharing Platform




Pinterest is following the lead of other successful social-sharing platforms by trying to monetize their offerings. This is evident as the platform recently soft-launched Promoted Pins and will roll out Related Pins in the near future. These new opportunities are a win-win for Pinterest, brands and the end user.

Promoted Pins



Promoted Pins are paid placements that will appear alongside other content in both search results and category feeds. The user will be able to tell that these Pins are advertisements by the Promoted icon at the bottom of the Pin. Promoted Pins are currently in a beta test, being offered to a select group of advertisers, but brands can sign up to learn more about the opportunities available within the Pinterest for Business site.


Related Pins



Related Pins are a selection of recommendations delivered to users by Pinterest based on other content the user pins within their own home feed. Similar to the recommendations on other platforms, users do have the opportunity to “thumbs down” the content and make it disappear.

What does this mean for my brand?

By providing brands with these new opportunities, it allows brands to invest more into their Pinterest presence. Here are three effects that Promoted Pins and Related Pins will have on your brand’s presence on Pinterest:

Search Results: Currently, Pinterest has no set algorithm for search results, causing some brands to appear lower on the page even when users search with the brand’s official name. With Promoted Pins, brands now have the opportunity to boost their placement in search results, increasing the ROI on Pins already on the platform. Expect Pinterest to continue to improve search algorithm for non-promoted content as well.

Revitalized Content: Many brands have vibrant owned photography on their Pinterest pages that intrigues users. Unfortunately, this content has, until now, fallen into the Pinterest abyss as the platform focuses on more recent content. Similar to a Facebook timeline or newsfeed older content doesn’t appear at the top of a user’s feed. Brands now have both paid and organic opportunities to bring this content back to the top of users’ feeds. Promoted Pins offer brands the opportunity to showcase older content at the top of search and category feeds. Descriptive tagging within image meta data and Pin descriptions will allow brands the organic opportunity to have older content served up to users when relevant through appearing in both search results and as Recommended Pins.

Analytics: While there hasn’t been any official analytics announcement, expect Pinterest to offer analytics that come with these new offerings. Brands can win from the gaining demographic and psychographic information about who is seeing and interacting with their Promoted Pins and Related Pins.

What does this mean for the future?

Over the past few months, Pinterest has rolled out exciting update after update. As the company grows into a social-sharing giant, we can only assume that this means even more opportunities for brands willing to take the plunge into Pinterest as a marketing tool.

Even without advertising options, Pinterest already drives the highest amount spent among popular social platforms. As learnings and feedback come out of the Promoted Pins beta test, more opportunities will arise for brands to engage further with an audience that is already willing to spend more money. Rather than idly sit by hoping consumers see and engage with a brand’s content, brands will now have the opportunity to directly target those consumers with messages curated specifically for them. With these monetization efforts, Pinterest is starting to become a real player in the digital marketing field across brands and industries.

Unlock the Data of Desire on Pinterest: Infographic


Pinterest sits at the top of the “tier two” social platforms for many marketers. That means beyond the most important or “tier one” social networks like Facebook and Twitter where brands know they need to win, Pinterest leads the next pack. If you are a brand with a significant ecommerce business, then Pinterest likely peeks into that “tier one.”

“Pinterest traffic has doubled since May 2012, making it the 4th largest source of traffic after Google, direct traffic, and Facebook.” (

The Data of Desire

Millions of images are pinned there (32mm as of April 2012). So here’s the cool thing, all this consumer-generated pinning reflects a database of the objects we desire. Remember that John Battelle coined the expression “database of intentions” in relation to search and Google, specifically (he wrote this blog post in 2003!).

Well, we speculated that Pinterest serves an interesting and similar purpose concerning what people desire and may even buy. We are all pinning what fascinates us and what we want. The act of “pinning” blends bookmarking, wish-listing and social shopping into one new behavior.

So we asked the great guys at Curalate to take a look at the social data inside Pinterest to reveal the underlying patterns. If you don’t already know Curalate, you should. They are tackling the idea of how brands can thoughtfully and strategically build their presence and relationships via the ‘visual web’.

Pinterest Data of Desire for the 2012 Holiday Season

  • In 2012 Pinterest unique visitors grew by 1047%
  • 80% of the top 10 retail brands feature a PinIt! Button
  • Target is the most shared brand on Pinterest followed by Ikea
  • The number 1 pinned (and desired) product on Pinterest is the KitchenAid 5-quart Artisan Design Mixer
  • The number 10 pinned (and desired) product on Pinterest is the Big Joe Bean Bag Chair