Pinterest to Focus on “Intent” Data

Pinterest plans to unlock some of its user data to help advertisers produce more targeted ads.

At an industry conference held in New York City last week, Don Faul, head of operations at Pinterest, told the audience that the “focus this year is on intent data” and the ability to know what users want to buy in advance.

“Our users are expressing their future intent. It’s not the shoes they bought last week, or where they went on vacation six months ago. It’s a place where people are coming to discover new businesses, new brands, and new products,” Faul said.

Pinterest currently offers ad products – or “Promoted Pins” as it calls them – based on limited types of information, such as gender, geography, keyword searches, and categories visited. While the company claims that brands who have participated in the Promoted Pins program have seen a 30 percent increase in “earned media,” some analysts suggest that Pinterest might struggle to grow monetarily unless it facilitates more targeted advertising.

If all goes to plan as Faul suggests, Pinterest’s new ad products will be based on broader data and will enable the company to delve deeper into users’ interactions. It will not, however, include highly personal data, such as names and addresses.

According to Faul, the plan is to make the data available this year. Pinterest is also considering allowing advertisers to combine their own data with that of the visual discovery network’s – this would allow them to target their existing customers who use the site.

“Advertisers could potentially retarget potential customers who visited their store but did not buy anything,” said Faul.

ClickZ reached out to Pinterest for more details on the move and a representative confirmed that “additional targeting options to advertisers” will be a priority for the year, adding that measurement and ad formats will also be a focus. 

“In the future an advertiser could target ‘outdoor enthusiasts,’ which is a group of users based on their interest on outdoor activities,” he said. 

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