Pinterest’s Emergence as a Performance Marketing Platform

It’s so much more than Pins
Pinterest Image

When you think of Pinterest, do you think of a virtual pinboard where you collect and share inspo, or do you think of a powerful tool in your performance marketing tool belt? Lately, Pinterest is positioning itself as the latter. The platform has launched a new ad campaign promoting a full suite of products for advertisers looking to convert users into buyers, and we’re paying attention. As an agency specializing in performance marketing, we’re piqued by Pinterest’s evolving role in the performance landscape.

Pinterest’s venture into performance is right in the title of its latest global campaign, “The P is for Performance.” The campaign features a series of minifilms in the style of action movies that promise to deliver tangible outcomes for advertisers in the form of “high action in the lower funnel.” Pinterest asserts that ads on their platform don’t just raise awareness about brands — they drive results.

As an agency specializing in performance marketing, we’re piqued by Pinterest’s evolving role in the performance landscape.

With a focus on mobile deep links, direct links, and the Pinterest API for Conversions, the RTBs behind Pinterest’s campaign tout their capacity to drive conversions at scale. Getting into the numbers, the campaign boasts some pretty impressive KPIs for advertisers:

  • Three times more performance tools (see below for full list)
  • A 28% increase in conversions (i.e. purchase action)
  • 50% more clicks and saves (i.e. engaged audiences) 
  • Up to a 96% increase in traffic for its advertisers (i.e. consideration) 

Performance products outlined in the campaign include:

  • Mobile deep links, which allow merchants to direct people to a specific page on their app to buy their products or take other actions via mobile devices
  • Direct links, which create a more seamless handoff for advertisers by taking users to an advertiser’s product page in just one click, significantly reducing friction and improving the ability to take action 
  • The Pinterest API for Conversions, which enables advertisers to send conversions directly to Pinterest via a secure server-to-server connection to provide better reporting visibility
  • Shopping ads, which help brands engage with their customers while those users are still looking for inspiration on Pinterest

Pinterest is also looking to grab a piece of the deliciously valuable streaming pie. Through partnerships with media companies like Tastemade, Pinterest is launching “Deliciously Entertaining,” a shoppable streaming series designed to inspire action among viewers. And while shoppable social is not new, it hasn’t ever fully blown up. In fact, about a year ago, Meta sunsetted Instagram’s live shopping to instead focus on “products and features that provide the most value to users.” A live streaming angle is a big swing for Pinterest. It opens up new avenues for advertisers to engage audiences in real time (where TikTok and Twitch excel) and drive sales directly within the platform. According to Market Research Future, the global live streaming market is estimated to reach over $247 billion by 2027. It’s clear that Pinterest is prepping to maximize all available revenue streams. 

On the financial side of the Pinterest business, a Q3 ’23 performance update revealed a promising trajectory marked by a surge in active users and steady revenue growth. Despite fluctuations in user engagement across global markets, Pinterest maintains its position as a key player in driving consumer trends and purchase behavior of younger cohorts. According to Vogue Business, Gen Z audiences are resonating more and more with the platform and increasingly turning to Pinterest for fashion inspiration and trend forecasting. They also think that the app is more bussin’ than the popular ones: Instagram, Snap, and TikTok. In a 2023 Forrester survey of adults under 25, 33% said they found Pinterest to be “cool.” TikTok, for example, was considered “cool” by around 20% within the same cohort. Pinterest might be able to attribute some of their growth to their commitment to innovative features like trend search and even a sister company called Shuffles — allowing animated shoppable collages via a user’s Pins. These offerings give advertisers access to valuable insights and tools to connect with their target demographics in a new and actionable way.

Pinterest’s evolution as a performance marketing platform may seem surprising to the original Gen-X audience who used the platform more as a vision/inspo board tool. However, it is due to its specific user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) that it has become such a potent driver in the lower-funnel. In a sense, it’s always been poised to sell; it’s now just capitalizing on it. According to Jeremy King, SVP of Engineering at Pinterest, 89% of weekly Pinners use Pinterest for inspiration in their path to purchase.

As Pinterest Chief Content Officer Malik Ducard puts it, “One major thing that differentiates a person coming through the front doors of Pinterest as a user versus coming through the front doors of other platforms is they have an intent — they’re not coming for an ephemeral experience.”

With its unique blend of visual discovery, trend prediction, and shoppable functionality, Pinterest offers advertisers a powerful new performance weapon to add to their arsenals. The only question now is: Are you ready to get on board?