Pinterest expanded its advertising division this week by hiring two Google search and retargeting product executives. The move continues the platform’s pivot to retargeting and search-related ad products, a strategy that differentiates Pinterest from other social platforms and could convince brands to increase spend.

While Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat offer a diverse array of targeting metrics, their search offering to advertisers lacks sophistication, according to L2 research. As more consumers seek out product information online, focusing on search increasingly positions Pinterest as an alternative not only to those platforms, but also to Google. According to Pinterest, 97% of user searches are unbranded – creating a major opportunity for advertisers. When the platform launched Search Ads in February, brands including Barilla, Garnier, and Target rushed to test them out.

L2 research suggests that advertisers will likely be most successful when their content resembles user pins, rather than disrupting the user’s feed. An example of successful branded content on the platform is this SheaMoisture LOC pin, which fits in well with the platform’s aesthetic and has been repinned more than 19,000 times.

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