Pinterest Leans Further Into Commerce Advertising With New Features And Shopping API

Pinterest announced a suite of new shopper marketing features on Thursday.

Commerce marketing and creator monetization tools are Pinterest’s two main priorities right now, Jeremy King, the company’s SVP and head of engineering, told AdExchanger.

King, who is also the former CTO of Walmart’s ecommerce business – he joined Pinterest in 2019 – said that the convergence of creator revenue potential with social media-based shopping and product discovery by consumers “will make Pinterest functional, versus purely inspirational.”

Pinterest’s new products include a Shopping API that ingests a brand or merchant’s product catalogue and creative ad assets and sends back ecommerce analytics. Merchants can also tag products in a post, upload short videos to their Pinterest catalogue (a move inspired by YouTube and TikTok’s shopping-based reviews and how-to content) and include a Shop tab on business profiles.

But Pinterest still isn’t making the leap to become a shopping platform itself. It either sends organic traffic to retailer or merchant sites or enables add-to-cart and direct payments through an integration with Shopify, which owns the payment data.

Creators (“pinners,” in company parlance) can collect affiliate fees tied to the sales they drive from the Pinterest app or site via in-image product tags.

Aside from the Shopify partnership – practically a standard integration for social media players nowadays – King said there are many encouraging signs within Pinterest and the market at large that bode well for the company’s commerce ambitions.

For example, retailers and publishers are becoming more eager, sophisticated partners. King cited Tastemade, the food and recipe video producer, which las month signed a multiyear deal to produce live content on Pinterest.

Retailers and marketplaces, including Walmart and Etsy, are also tightening existing partnerships with Pinterest as a supply source for their own retail media platforms.

King said that when he was at Walmart, the Walmart Exchange, then called WMX, was just getting off the ground. Now the business, called Walmart Connect, is pushing advertisements across the web. Etsy, an online marketplace that launched an ad business in 2019, is another re-seller of Pinterest inventory from its platform.

“It makes for an interesting pass through, if you will,” King said. “In some cases, we know who the advertiser is; in some cases, we don’t.”

Regardless, retailers and advertisers are beginning 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 has struggled to gain attribution credit since it doesn’t generate direct sales. Users go to Pinterest to discover tips for building a treehouse, say, or for wedding inspiration. Pinterest doesn’t get credit on that Home Depot trip or 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 times and attribution windows, King said. That’s why The Home Depot has been a steady partner of Pinterest’s for years.

Any effort an advertiser makes to value early-funnel product discovery rather than low-funnel targeting or retargeting, often using last-click attribution, is a win for Pinterest.

“With new privacy settings on and intermediary companies losing their exact visibility into campaigns, advertisers and retailers are starting to think differently about measurement,” King said. “The third-party and media network-type companies that used to exist have essentially lost all their value.”

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