Written by Kurt Wagner, Mashable’s Social Media Reporter:
Pinterest is expanding its first major ad offering, Promoted Pins, to all businesses in hopes of capturing ad dollars from small and medium size businesses.
San Francisco-based Pinterest announced on Thursday that all businesses will soon be able to pay to promote their content in search and category feeds on the service. Pinterest first rolled outpromoted pins to paid advertisers in May, testing the program with a dozen large advertisers.
The company is using what it calls a “do-it-yourself” tool that will enable smaller businesses to set up their own promotions moving forward. The company is testing the new tool with a handful of SMBs before a full launch, and other interested advertisers can apply for the program here. Advertisers will pay every time a user clicks on their ad.
Pinterest also announced a new expanded analytics tool intended to provide better feedback on how company ads are performing. The analytics dashboard, which is rolling out slowly to all business accounts on Pinterest, includes data about impressions, clicks and repins for company content.
The hope is that businesses will identify which of their pins are doing well, and decide to put ad money behind that pin in order to boost its reach on the platform.
This ad strategy has proven popular among other social networks. Facebook and Twitter both offer promoted ads in their content feeds, and Google is well known for its promoted ads in search results.
Small businesses ad dollars are a valuable commodity among these tech companies. Many SMBs don’t have the budget to advertise across all social media channels, so they are forced to pick and choose to a greater extent than bigger brands like Coke or Nike.
Both Facebook and Twitter are fighting to capture the attention of SMBs, a battle Pinterest just joined. Facebook, which has more than one million small business advertisers on its platform, is currently offering a summer boot camp to teach SMBs how to advertise on the service; Twitter hosted San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at its SF headquarters to kick off Small Business Week in California last month.
Pinterest has a smaller user base and less experience working with SMBs than those other three companies, but it may have one advantage: user intent to buy.
People come to Pinterest when they’re looking for ideas — a recipe or travel destination — and that intent makes them more likely to make a purchase, Don Faul, Pinterest’s head of operations, told the Wall Street Journal.
“People use Pinterest when they are thinking or dreaming about the future,” he said.
Pinterest investors, who recently valued the company at a whopping $5 billion, hope that future includes a lot of Promoted Pins.