Pinterest Unleashes Video Ads for All Advertisers With Third-Party Measurement Partners

Moat and Nielsen are on board

Cheetos used Pinterest's targeting in clever ways.
Cheetos

A year after tests with advertisers began, Pinterest is rolling out video ads to all advertisers targeted for both search results and feeds.

Pinterest joins a growing number of companies including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat that are gunning for lucrative video dollars. But while marketers have scrutinized measurement and inaccurate stats and platforms have rushed to keep pace, Pinterest is hoping to side-step at least some of the initial measurement issues by inking deals with Moat and Nielsen that allow marketers to vet metrics through third parties.

Pinterest started testing Promoted Video last August with brands including General Mills, Kate Spade New York and Universal Pictures. Since then, it has moved to autoplay, a format brought into the mainstream by Facebook, and began placing video ads within search results and feeds.

“One of the unique differentiations for video on Pinterest was that it’s not only about inspiration, but it also helps people do things,” said Mike Bidgoli, product lead at Pinterest. “Obviously the format moved to autoplay, which made it easier for advertisers to be able to buy and measure the same way that they are with everything else. The overarching point is that we wanted video to have third-party measurement from the get-go.”

According to some reports, Pinterest is aiming for $500 million in revenue this year, up from $300 million in 2016. That means video will be important in ramping up Pinterest’s ad business this year.

With Moat, advertisers are privy to the Media Rating Council’s definition of viewability, which charges advertisers after 50 percent of a video is in view for two seconds. However, Pinterest has not undergone a full-blown audit from the MRC to vet its measurement techniques as Facebook and Google have. Pinterest’s partnership with Nielsen will help advertisers determine whether they deliver the right ads based on audience demographic.

“We’re going to continue to add more third-party measurement providers—the goal is we want this to be verified by the broader ecosystem [and built] the way that video buyers want to buy,” Bidgoli said.

Video ads are available via all three ways brands buy ads with Pinterest: the self-serve platform aimed at smaller marketers, Pinterest marketing partners that buy ads through the site’s API or through account managers for top-spending advertisers.

Show me the stats

The San Francisco-based site backs up its move into video with internal data: 75 percent of consumers say they’re likely to watch videos with topics that interest them compared with 55 percent on other platforms. Another 80 percent of people who watch Pinterest videos say they help them learn how to do something, versus 66 percent of consumers who say the same about competitors.

As part of its Cheetos Museum campaign, Cheetos and agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners created short video posts designed specifically for Pinterest that showed off some of the best shapes that resembled works of art. In keeping with Pinterest’s demographic, the campaign was targeted based on what the shapes looked like.

A video of a Cheetos snack that looked like the Italy, for example, was targeted at people searching for knee-high boots. Another post of a snack piece resembling a pineapple targeted people looking for pineapple recipes. Underneath each video, Cheetos recommended links to other posts from Cheetos Museum.

“Our fans have found thousands of different shapes in their Cheetos, but the ones that felt best for a Pinterest audience leaned into design, art and fashion,” said Margaret Johnson, partner and chief creative officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “Pinterest’s inspiration-based platform allowed us to contextually target our fans and see shapes that were most relevant to them. Users who searched fashion or food related topics were then served contextually relevant shaped Cheetos.”

The Frito Lay-owned brand claims the Pinterest campaign lifted brand favorability by 18 percent and increased purchase intent by 51 percent.

In another example, Visa found a 33 percent increase among millennials who considered the company the “most innovative payment option” after running a campaign consisting of 10-second videos on Pinterest.

Collectively, Bidgoli said the focus on measurement, autoplay and targeting means Pinterest’s initial work with autoplay has “been able to deliver cost-per-views in an efficient way” for advertisers.

In terms of shifting Pinterest’s video player toward autoplay, Bidgoli said it’s the way advertisers are asking to buy videos.

“Increasingly, the advertiser demand is moving to this so the market is deciding that this performs and works for them—it’s more scalable,” he said. “It’s a more efficient way for advertisers to spend their money with us.”

Pinterest also works with brands to fit their creative to Pinterest, but it interestingly does not have as many guidelines as other platforms.

For example, square-shaped and vertical videos perform best with Pinterest’s grid design, but the site doesn’t have best practices around video length, which has been a major challenge for advertisers on other platforms. Snapchat caps videos at 10 seconds, while Instagram clips can be up to 60 seconds long, and Facebook encourages brands to make the most of the first few seconds of a clip.

“We actually have no set of hard guidelines on what the length of the video should be, but we have worked with [marketers] on how to message it, what sort of video captures the attention of Pinners,” Bidgoli said. “Videos that help them move from that inspiration to do cycle works best.”