Pinterest starts testing ads: Is no social platform safe?

Social network Pinterest has launched an advertising platform, in a tentative attempt to monetise the site’s 46 million users.

It’s a familiar story; as each nascent social site gets market share and a strong user base, the ad network isn’t too far away. Pinterest’s proposed model will follow in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter – in other words, no banner advertising.

According to CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, writing in a blog post, there was a vision among the company execs that Pinterest should be “a service that will be here to stay”.

“I know some of you may be thinking ‘Oh come the banner ads’”, he wrote. “But we’re determined to not let that happen.”

Silbermann went on to explain the four tenets of the proposed advertising service: it would be tasteful, with no flashy pop-ups; transparent, so users know if their content has been paid for; relevant, which is self explanatory; and continually improving, based on user feedback.

But what will this mean for Pinterest’s future? Micke Paqvalen, CEO and founder of online retail platform Kiosked, noted that this was an important stepping stone for the company.

“Pinterest’s decision to experiment with promoted pins is welcome news and could certainly secure a long-lasting presence in retail for the brand,” Paqvalen said.

“The advertising experience that Pinterest chooses to champion will be key to its future longevity, and it will be imperative that monetisation doesn’t drive away the existing user base,” he added.

“If advertising is too intrusive, some Pinterest users could be turned off so it’s vital that site makes the experience as seamless and convenient as possible.

“Because Pinterest is completely image and video-led, it has the potential to be the perfect social shopping tool.”

This news comes amidst Facebook’s use of advertising in embedded videos, with social becoming more sophisticated in its advertising solutions.

What do you make of this update, both from a marketing and social users’ perspective?

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29 Sep 2013, 10:30 p.m.

I don't think this is a great surprise- as mentioned in the article, Facebook are finding new ways to offer ad space to advertisers and as both a marketer and user, I don't think consumers will find Pinterest's move into this to be intrusive.