It’s Pin A Long Time Comin’: Pinterest Adds Search Advertising

pinterest-search-imgPinterest introduced its first search ad offering Wednesday, almost seven years after the company launched.

“Now we believe we’re at a place where we understand how people are leveraging the platform and using it to plan their lives,” said Michael Akkerman, head of Pinterest’s marketing partners program.

The new search functionality comes via Kenshoo, an advertising vendor in Pinterest’s marketing partner program. It’s sold for three KPIs: impressions, clicks on promoted or buyable pins and engagement, which on Pinterest means someone saving a pin to their own board.

“A big reason I came to Pinterest was that there’s something unique in the way people use the platform,” said Akkerman, who Pinterest hired from Kenshoo in 2015.

For Pinterest, which logs more than 2 billion user queries per month, a key selling point for brands is its organic visual search, Akkerman said.

On Google, a search for “red sweater” returns text … and a carousel of images a brand can buy its way into. But on Pinterest, its natural query response is a mosaic of images, about 75% of which are created by brands.

Pinterest’s search has been built from the ground up to process visual search, with algorithms built to scan and understand what’s in an image. Akkerman says that nicely positions Pinterest for mobile-first search budgets.

“Looking at voice search and what’s coming in the future, I really see visual search being a big part of what’s to come,” he said.

A search algorithm can find a sweater it thinks suits your tastes, but it can’t necessarily show it to you in an organic way.

“I came from traditional text-based search,” Akkerman said. “And it’s true what people say: We eat with our eyes.”

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