Pinterest is the latest social network to wed paid ads, so it's time for media buyers to prepare for this next wave of social media marketing. Here are a few tips to get you started.
The relationship between social networks and advertising is a something out of bygone days. Months, if not years, of cautious courtship typically precede any kind of commitment, and even when the two parties have stated their intentions, there's plenty of discretion and restraint.
Pinterest is the latest social network to wed paid ads, and the story is much the same. The site launched four years ago, but it wasn't until late last year that it introduced Promoted Pins. "Remember we’re still just testing things out right now," Pinterest wrote on its blog. "We'll be listening closely to what you have to say, and will continue to keep you posted about how things go."
Brands had already begun to explore the site's marketing potential on their own, and Pinterest did everything it could to help. Branded Pinterest pages, which Pinterest has promoted to initiate consumers, give marketers access to the social network's 70 million worldwide users and 1,090 visitors per minute. Elle, Etsy, Four Seasons, Sephora, Sony Electronics, and others have migrated visual content from catalogues, sites, and marketing materials to their Pinterest boards.
The experiments seem to have gone well, because the site is now preparing to launch a more formal ad sales effort. "We're encouraged by our initial results," Pinterest tells ClickZ. "In Q2, we'll be partnering with a select group of businesses to show our first paid Promoted Pins. We're working with a small group of businesses because we want to work closely with brands to better understand what they want and need from our monetization solutions."
The plan, the company says, is to make the ads available to a broader segment of marketers later this year. For now, Promoted Pins are expected to maintain the same design as those used in Pinterest's initial test.
Integrating paid placements into site content to mimic the look and feel of organic posts seems to be the strategy of choice for social sites that deal in visual content. Tumblr's ads can be classified as native due to their similarity to user posts. The same might be said of Sponsored Stories on Facebook.
Now that Pinterest is getting more serious about ads, it's time for media buyers to prepare for this next wave of social media marketing. Here are a few tips to get you started.
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Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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