Pinterest Adds Former Walmart Exec Brian Monahan

monahanimgA year ago Pinterest was in the process of winding down its sales and marketing services for all but two partner categories: retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG).

But after a year spent working on ad tech product releases – like a CRM match program and an expansion of interest-based targeting – it’s throttling up again.

After restoring marketing activities across the full breadth of ad categories in May, the company has hired Walmart veteran Brian Monahan as head of vertical strategy. Monahan was VP of marketing for and helped launch the Walmart Exchange. Before that was a managing partner at Magna Global.

He said his roots on the buy side will help Pinterest enhance its value to brands and agencies.

“There are some categories where Pinterest has endemic strength, but increasingly there are mass-audience categories too: automotive, quick-service restaurants, financial,” Monahan said. “We’re an early-stage, young company, but we want to expand beyond native use cases.”

Pinterest has steadily added more “commerce-enabled” features to its platform, including buyable pins and APIs for retailers. The company relies heavily on brands – including fashion, CPG, home decor and other categories – to provide content for its platform. It says 75% of the content on Pinterest comes from brands.

“There’s this symbiotic relationship between pinners [the company’s term for its users] looking for ideas and brands trying to present their products as worthy of incorporation into their lives,” Monahan said.

“In a world where we’re constantly dealing with things like ad blockers and viewability, these signals of how audiences are bombarded with advertising and trying their hardest to escape, Pinterest fundamentally doesn’t work that way.”

Pinterest has about 150 million monthly users, 70 million of whom live in the United States. The company crossed the 100 million-user benchmark last September.

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