This article was originally published on 1/13/15 and has since been updated. Following a successful preliminary launch, Pinterest's Promoted Pins Program is now available to any advertiser looking to gain exposure in a relatively new advertising venture on social media. With a million Pinterest users globally, success for the program looks to be a promising addition for brands who want to increase their visibility and sales. After successful results from its initial beta period, Pinterest's Promoted Pins Program is now rolling out for all businesses looking to experiment with social media advertising. For those who don't know much about the image-based channel, Pinterest has now grown to 70 million users worldwide, and their new Promoted Pins Program could be the answer for brands on social media looking to generate more sales and increase visibility.

Promoted Pins Beta Test Results

The trial beta version of Promoted Pins showed a lot of promise as a social media advertising tool. Besides having an average earned media increase of 30%, here are some of the other key statistics from the beta tests: The number of average repins a Promoted pin had was the same, if not more, than organic pins. Organic Pinterest pins are repinned 11 times on average. Promoted Pins often had a higher number of repins than organic pins, which could mean more brand awareness and online sales for businesses on Pinterest. Promoted pins have an extended shelf life after a campaign ends. Promoted Pins that were repinned continued to be effective even after the end of a campaign. According to Pinterest's blog, promoted pins had a 5% increase in earned media the month after a promoted campaign. Brands in multiple industries had great results using Promoted Pins. The most active brands on Pinterest are generally fashion and beauty companies, however, companies from a variety of industries tested the beta version of Promoted Pins. Target, Nestle, and Ziploc were just a few of the name-brands that had success with using Promoted Pins, and with the advertising program just starting to roll out for all businesses on Pinterest, the competition is still low.

How to Use Promoted Pins

Promoted Pins are great for businesses with a limited advertising budget because unlike paying on a pay-per-click basis, Pinterest is charging cost-per-repin and the number of impressions a Promoted Pin receives is free. Pinterest lets advertisers set the maximum amount of money that can be spent on each Promoted Pin and are only charged when a user actually repins. Pinterest Promoted PinsImage courtesy of Marketingland. Like Facebook and LinkedIn before them, Pinterest's Promoted Pins is expected to offer several advertising options and targeting capabilities that will help brands hone in on their target audience. As of now, it does not seem that Pinterest will provide access to keyword competition and search volume for Promoted Pins, but advertisers can use other free tools like Google's Keyword Planner to focus on industry keywords. This may sound like common sense, but it must be taken into account that Pinterest searches are all image-based, while not all of Google's searches are. Brands must realize that Pinterest is fundamentally different in how it will advertise to users. Pinterest does offer an analytics dashboard that can help advertisers find out which Promoted Pins are getting the most repins, and for now, it can be used as a tool to properly optimize pins for the new advertising program.

User Perspective

Users on Pinterest have had a neutral to favorable attitude towards Promoted Pins up to this point. Only 27% of its users have said that they can't stand the new advertising program, and 20% of them already had a negative opinion towards advertisements in the first place. That being said, this minority is a vocal one - as many of our readers have made it quite clear that they vehemently dislike the new platform.
User Attitudes Toward Pinterest Promoted Pins
Obviously, Pinterest does not want this group of users who hate Promoted Pins to grow and stop using their platform altogether, so like paid social media advertising options on other channels, Pinterest has made great efforts to ensure that Promoted Pins enhance not only brand awareness and sales for businesses, but benefit user experience as well. The last thing Pinterest wants to create is a platform that overwhelms users with advertisements, so they have made sure to regulate Promoted Pins in regards to false claims, promotional information, and misleading calls-to-action.

The Case for Promoted Pins and How to Get Started

Even before Pinterest decided to fully roll out Promoted Pins, the image-based social channel was already a great source of referral sales for many brand websites. According to eCommerce Quarterly's 2014 Q1 report, Pinterest only trailed Polyvore and Instagram in generating the highest average ecommerce order value ($105.83) for a social media channel. This beats out other popular paid advertising options on channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With organic influence that is already near the top for social media, expect businesses that have already experienced brand growth and sales from Pinterest to invest in Promoted Pins, and businesses who have never used Pinterest to try out the paid advertising program as well.
US Average Social Commerce Order Value
Pinterest has also introduced a program called Pinstitute to assist brands that are willing to try out Promoted Pins. Pinstitute is an assortment of workshops and webinars that are aimed at advertisers looking to use promoted pins to achieve their business' goals. Brands who take the workshops or webinars will learn what type of pins seem to garner the most engagement, what makes a user to repin in the first place, and have the opportunity to give Pinterest feedback on what is working for them. As businesses come in all different sizes, Pinstitute will also offer its services and program to businesses with many different levels of marketing budgets. Will your business be giving a promoted pins a shot? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.
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