Pinterest takes a closer look at commercial advertising with new features and a shopping API
But Pinterest still hasn’t taken the leap to becoming a shopping platform itself. Either it sends organic traffic to retailer or merchant sites, or it enables add-to-cart and direct payments through an integration with Shopify, which holds the payment data.
Creators (“pinners” in company parlance) may earn affiliate fees related to sales they generate from the Pinterest app or site through in-image product tags.
Besides the Shopify partnership — pretty much a standard integration for social media players these days — King said there are plenty of encouraging signs within Pinterest and the broader market that bode well for the company’s business ambitions. ‘company.
For example, retailers and publishers are becoming more enthusiastic and sophisticated partners. King cited Tastemade, the BuzzFeed-owned publisher of short food and recipe videos, which last month signed a multi-year deal to produce live content on Pinterest.
Retailers and marketplaces, including Walmart and Etsy, are also expanding existing partnerships with Pinterest as a source of supply for their own retail media platforms.
King said that when he was at Walmart, the Walmart Exchange, then called WMX, was just getting started. Now the company, called Walmart Connect, serves ads across the web. Another reseller of Pinterest inventory on its platform is Etsy, an online marketplace that launched an advertising business in 2019.
“It makes for an interesting passage, if you will,” King said. “In some cases, we know who the advertiser is; in some cases we don’t.
Either way, retailers and advertisers are starting to approach online and mobile ad attribution with fresh eyes, King said.
And that’s a good thing for a player like Pinterest whose ad platform struggles to get attribution credit because it doesn’t generate direct sales. Users take to Pinterest to find tips on how to build a treehouse, for example, or to get inspiration for a wedding. Pinterest doesn’t get credit on that Home Depot trip or that flower order a week later.
But brands like The Home Depot, which was actually Pinterest’s first-ever advertiser, understand the nuances of product consideration timelines and attribution windows, King said. That’s why Home Depot has been a stable Pinterest partner for years.
Any effort an advertiser makes to value early-funnel product discovery over low-funnel targeting or retargeting, often using last-click attribution, is a win for Pinterest.
“With new privacy settings and intermediary companies losing their exact visibility into campaigns, advertisers and retailers are starting to think about measurement differently,” King said. “Third-party and network-like media companies that existed before have essentially lost their value.”