Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 12.19.02 PMPinterest announced over the weekend it is introducing paid ads in the form of sponsored pins. New ad chief Joanne Bradford said the goal is to have artistic images similar to those in fashion magazines in user feeds.


Pinterest has often been compared to the other visual platform Instagram, and its new strategy comes months after Instagram introduced ads in user feeds. Michael Kors was the first to take the plunge with the first Instagram ad in November, which led to 34,000 new followers for the brand in 18 hours. More brands are expected to follow, as analysts estimated up to $340 million in 2014 revenue for Instagram.


But even following Instagram’s footsteps, Pinterest is unlikely to catch up. It’s a third of Instagram’s size, and only 23% of Pinterest users engage with the platform daily (versus 58% of Instagram’s). Pinterest lacks the mobile-centric mentality responsible for a huge part of Instagram’s success.


Still, the shopping habits of Pinterest make it too valuable to ignore. A study finds shoppers who click on an e-commerce link spend 126% more than those who got there through Facebook. Perhaps, Pinterest will retain its value as a niche space for home décor enthusiasts while Instagram grows as a mainstream platform.


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