Following the example set by Instagram several months ago, Pinterest ads will begin to roll-out to users soon; though, don’t expect that your brand will be able to participate in the short-term.
Like Instagram, Pinterest ads will initially be limited to a few high-end (read: deep pocketed) advertisers– Kraft, The Gap, General Mills, etc –to ease the social network’s estimated 40 million US users (85% female) into seeing the advertisements.
Pinterest ads are quite costly, as well; according to a report in AdAge, the company is asking for $1-2mm commitments from brands up front, and is pricing them at an estimated $30-$40 CPM. For a quick comparison, I’ve seen Facebook Newsfeed ads receive single-digit CPMs, and right-rail ads below $1.
However, there is a massive opportunity within Pinterest to target women 25-54, which obviously, suits CPG brands such as Kraft quite well. The 25-34 female audience, in particular, can be quite difficult to capture online due to audience segmentation, but Pinterest is potentially in a strong position to not only expose advertisers to this market, but to drive specific conversion actions as well (not to mention, the social sharing boost they could achieve from these efforts).
The goal of this “soft launch” is clearly to test the waters for Pinterest, who until now has relied entirely on venture capital to bring in money. At present, there is no self-serve model on the social network– though, insiders are saying that could be coming following this initial test. Presumably, it will take some time before Pinterest users have adapted to having ads invade their space, and this test period provides the opportunity for the company to see what works, and what doesn’t, before rolling this out to a larger audience.
The future of Pinterest ads could be huge– for the right advertisers. Having such a large, engaged female audience could be a goldmine for brands with products focusing on women. The company estimates 75% of Pinterest use occurs on mobile, potentially giving local advertisers, in the future, a means to GPS target and capture the attention of an audience near-by, opening up further opportunities for brands to take advantage of the social network’s marketing capabilities.