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Pinterest CEO: Our Ads Are More Effective
Ben Silbermann talks up Promoted Pins at Ad Week, says they have a lower than industry average opt-out rate.
Pinterest is different.
Less a social network for people to share with friends, instead “Pinterest is about me, what I want to do. What I’m thinking about doing in the future,” co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said during an interview on stage at the IAB Mixx conference in New York this week.
And that difference, Silbermann said, makes Pinterest an especially effective forum for advertising because brands’ products and services are a natural part of that content mix. Ads on Pinterest are relatively new. Promoted Pins, the main ad product, has been around for 14 months and has very low opt-out rates from users, “rates that are well below the industry,” Silbermann said.
The Ad Week New York audience is an important one for the privately held company, which has been aggressively rolling out new advertising products in the last year and working to live up to its $11 billion valuation.
Pinterest is five years old, but Silbermann said he still gets questions from potential advertisers about how Pinterest works. “We spend a lot of time educating people about how do folks use it,” he said. To illustrate his answer, he’ll pull out his phone and show Pin boards on what he is planning to cook for dinner, activities he’s planning to do with his toddlers, ideas to redecorate his living room. “Really core life-planning things,” he said.
Within that type of content, Pins about businesses’ products and services are a natural fit. That makes the discussion about the creation of Promoted Pins easier.
“When we hold workshops for our partners, we really talk to them about how to create advertisements that are useful enough that people will actually want to save them,” Silbermann said. “I think people are kind of tired of ads that are just trying to grab their attention away from everything they are doing.”
Silbermann said Pinterest had been focusing on displaying as much information on Pins as possible. If there’s product data associated with a page that’s pinned — such as size or price — Pinterest wants to show that to users. Adding Buyable Pins — the ability for people to make purchases directly on Pinterest — was a natural progression. Silbermann said it had long been the No. 1 requested feature, and Pinterest rolled the product out on iOS devices this summer.
Now Pinterest is focusing on global expansion, Silbermann said. This month, it announced its user numbers for the first time, checking in with 100 million monthly actives, a total that has doubled in the last 18 months. About 55 percent are US users, but growth is higher internationally, so Silbermann said the company expects that ratio to flip.