In early 2012, Pinterest came under scrutiny for secretly making money from affiliate links. The popular photo-sharing site has decided to try monetizing its pins once again — but this time, transparency is the name of the game.
Last week, Pinterest founder and CEO Ben Silbermann wrote a blog post announcing the launch of Promoted Pins, promoted content from a select group of businesses chosen by Pinterest algorithms. Silbermann assures customers that the pins will be "tasteful, transparent, relevant, and improved based on feedback."
Pinterest indicated that Promoted Pins are currently in test mode and the selected businesses are not yet paying for promotion. Nate Long, founder of Nate Long Marketing, believes that once the program is fully launched, companies on Pinterest will have a golden opportunity to improve their social media ROI.
"Promoted Pins provide businesses an opportunity for paid visibility on a social network that is proven to generate heavy amounts of traffic and sales to businesses who spend the time to engage followers with useful, relevant and fun content," Long said. "Considering it's the first advertising product available on Pinterest, social media marketers should be paying attention to what happens next."
If Pinterest adheres to its own simple but important guidelines, Promoted Pins will do well and positively impact not only the company's bottom line, but the Pinterest user experience, Long said. While he is unsure if the program will ever be as targeted as Facebook advertising, Long thinks that Pinterest's continued communication and transparency will build and maintain trust among users, which will in turn help the brands that use the site.
"My clients have seen tremendous results through Pinterest, and a tight integrated strategy that also involved targeted advertising would only multiply the results," Long said.