In an attempt to boost its ad portfolio, Pinterest is expanding its Shopping Ads tool to reach hundreds of marketers and advertisers.
According to Ad Age, the tool, which places advertisements in customers’ Pinterest search feeds, was tested last year with a handful of retailers. After a successful trial, it will become available to hundreds of other brands in the coming months.
“It goes back to the core mission of helping people find and discover new products that they would love to buy,” said Jon Alferness, senior VP of ads and commerce at Pinterest.
Shopping Ads allows brands to upload their product catalogs, as well as showcase select products, so consumers can simply click through and purchase items directly on the retailer’s site.
“The goal is to align with the visual nature of the platform – that’s what makes Pinterest stand out, that discovery mindset,” said Alferness. “With products on a white platform, there’s no inspiration, you’ve got to bring it to life.”
Pinterest’s tool seems to be in line with Google’s “product listing ads,” which research shows made up 80 percent of all retail search spending among U.S. and U.K. advertisers in the first quarter of 2018.
Interestingly, Alferness left Google last year to join Pinterest. And just last month, Pinterest hired its first-ever chief operating officer, former Google and Square executive Francoise Brougher.
Brougher will be in charge of managing sales, partnerships, marketing and communications. Sources said that her hiring could be a signal that the company is close to launching its own IPO.
However, it’s important to note that with Pinterest’s Shopping Ads, advertisers can focus on users who have already pinned products they like, noted Ashley Fletcher, VP of marketing at Adthena.
“All this is a journey that happens away from Google Search,” she said. “It’s a full user journey through intent to purchase. Google’s lack of a social product is simply holding them back here.”