Pinterest Looks to Scale Advertising Efforts Ahead of Suspected IPO

Speaking with AdAge this week, Pinterest’s head of global sales Jon Kaplan discussed the social network’s intentions to scale their ad business ahead of a suspected IPO, which could take place later this year.

Pinterest advertising changes, some of which are already underway, fall under two distinct categories: search & display. The company, which just recently opened up advertising to all small and medium-sized businesses back in March, will place more focus on keyword search and audience-based buying opportunities moving forward.

Display is a no-brainer for Pinterest, as the social network is, first & foremost, a visual platform. Until recently, advertisers had been limited to affinity targets for display ads—and not been given any specific user targeting data. That has changed as of late, as Pinterest has teamed up with Acxiom and Epsilon to combine their data with the network’s own for Facebook-esque audience buying capabilities.

Pinterest & SEM

The biggest opportunity for Pinterest, however, may come from paid search. Per AdAge, the social network sees two billion search queries per month, of which they’ve only just begun allowing advertisers to place ads against. With Pinterest advertising changes placing more of a focus on keyword search, the company has started reaching out to advertising holding companies like Publicis, to entice SEMs into considering the social network as part of their SEM mix.

Given SEM contributed nearly 50% of overall digital ad spend in 2015, it’s a big piece of the pie. As an search marketer myself, one of the biggest challenges in drawing this business for Pinterest, however, will be whether or not they can build a platform SEMs can easily work with.

According to AdAge, retailers such as Target are also excited about Pinterest SEM, as 55% of users find or shop for a product on the social network.

Pinterest opened advertising to UK brands in April of this year; no word yet how these new Pinterest advertising changes will impact overseas users. The social network also partnered with Oracle to measure offline sales last month.