Pinterest Adds Audience Targeting, CPA Model To Promoted Pins

Wendys PinterestPinterest revealed Tuesday that marketers this summer will be able to target audiences, buy inventory on a cost-per-engagement (CPE) or cost-per-action (CPA) basis and run video units called Cinematic Pins.

“These solutions map to any marketing objective,” said Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s GM of monetization. He described Pinterest’s ad solution set as “comprehensive” – a trait that has been a challenge for the new kid on the block, Pinterest, as it tries to compete with existing platforms.

The question of how to best advertise on Pinterest’s has flummoxed brands like Wendy’s. Though the fast food chain had been on Pinterest for two years and advertising for the past year, it hasn’t figured out the platform the way it has with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pinterest certainly hopes its new features will help. Audience targeting, for instance, will let advertisers purchasing Promoted Pins in the home feed to zero in on people based on their interests, personas or life stages.

Pinterest expects to eventually expand targeting options, though it’ll look different from the audience targeting Facebook offers. Specifically, said Kendall – who once worked at Facebook as director of monetization – the expansion will anticipate what Pinterest audiences plan to do in the future.

“Pinterest is trying to figure out how to translate future intent against an advertiser’s need,” said Brandon Rhoten, VP of digital and social media for Wendy’s.

“Other platforms have a lot of information about what users have indicated about their past,” Kendall said, while Pinterest has an eye on a user’s future. That’s an asset for some brands, but a tough nut to crack for others.

For instance, while people generally use Pinterest for DIY and to evaluate high-consideration purchases, buying a fast-food burger is more spur-of-the-moment, and the food is already pre-prepared. “We’re a 30-second decision. You pass a Wendy’s and stop in,” Rhoten said. “You aren’t going to dream about it for two weeks unless you’re on a crazy diet.”

But Wendy’s still recognizes the value of Pinterest for brand messaging. “We know there’s a lot of people there, and it’s a compelling platform for people to learn about brands, but where does it fit in our mix?” Rhoten said.

Pinterest is also expanding its pricing options. Whereas its models used to focus on top-of-funnel (CPM) and bottom-of-funnel (CPC) sales, its new CPE pricing model is meant for advertisers looking for middle-of-the-funnel consumers. And the CPA one will go a step further down the funnel than CPC, with advertisers paying for clicks that drive sales.

Engagements can be applied to Pinterest members pinning things, clicking on images or activating close-up views. These activities, Kendall said, map to ad objectives around driving intent.

Advertisers will still get earned media – bonus engagements – even if they’re buying on CPE models. Downstream, Pinterest saw brands receive 30% earned media during beta tests of the CPM model.Kendall expects these numbers to hold true for CPE buys.

Pinterest will run CPM, CPE, CPC and CPA buys in a unified auction in which advertisers with highly engaging pins will pay less per engagement since the ads are efficient.

“We’re carefully tying the value marketers pay us for in terms of the value we’re providing back to them in user action,” Kendall said. “We’re taking a lot of the risk of working with Pinterest out.”

Pinterest hopes to prove out the platform’s value as an advertising medium, so its advertising clients will continue to invest.

Wendy’s, for its part, is one of the first advertisers using Cinematic Pins, joining the ranks of Banana Republic, L’Oreal and Nestle.

Cinematic Pins are essentially Promoted Pins with video elements.

Wendy’s will test the unit in June, featuring creative that shows how strawberries picked from the field wind up in the chain’s Strawberry Fields seasonal salad.

“We think Pinterest will help us tell a deeper story to an audience that’s interested in hearing that story,” Wendy’s Rhoten said.


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