Pinterest is moving full steam ahead in its advertising strategy: after announcing that it would experiment with “Promoted Pins” back in September, the company announced Monday via blog post that it is conducting a limited paid test of these ad units with brands.
The Promoted Pin ad unit, which CEO Ben Silbermann promised would be “tasteful” and “transparent,” fits into a user’s stream seamlessly. It seems that the only outward-facing difference between regular pins and ones that have been promoted is a small label underneath the brand’s name. The brands that will be included within the paid limited test include ABC Family, Kraft, Target and Old Navy.
The company says that the initial test will remain small, but it will open up to more brands later this year.
Pinterest’s experiment with Promoted Pins — which are essentially native ads within its platform — falls in line with the strategies of other social media companies. Facebook and Instagram have both rolled out advertising units designed to look like user-generated content, and the latter even released a handbook earlier this year to advise brands how to promote within the site. Pinterest’s slow rollout of ads, which also includes an open door for users to provide feedback, shows that it is sensitive to its users, and trying its best not to alienate them as it opens up new revenue streams.