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Pinterest's Scroll-Activated Video Ads Are Paying Off for L'Oréal and Hershey's

But can it compete with Facebook and Google?

L'Oréal promoted a new line of makeup on Pinterest last year. Pinterest

One year after rolling out Cinematic Pins, Pinterest says its animated video ads are getting users' attention as they scroll through their feeds.

The social network is releasing new data from case studies with L'Oréal and Reese's comparing Promoted Pins with cinematic ads that may be the first steps toward building out a video ad business. Pinterest declined to comment on a recent Digiday report that it's testing full-blown video ads.

Between September and November, L'Oréal ran a campaign using both static Promoted Pins and the cinematic looping-video format to launch a new line of highlighters that showed consumers how to apply the product.

The beauty brand's subsequent study found that the Cinematic Pins increased purchase intent by 37.2 percent and boosted brand awareness by 30.7 percent. For people who saw the static Promoted Pins, purchase intent increased by 30.9 percent and boosted product awareness by 21.3 percent.

"Our audience is there to shop and discover new beauty products—not just scroll for fun—enabling us to capture them in a consideration mindset when they are further down the marketing funnel," Kristen Comings, vp and president of integrated consumer communications at L'Oréal Paris, said in a statement.

Reese's targeted sports fans with Promoted Pins and cinematic ads promoting chocolate recipes during football season.

The follow-up study found that 25 percent of people who saw a cinematic ad were more likely to buy Reese's products within the next month than people who didn't see one. Meanwhile, Promoted Pins boosted positive sentiment around the statement, "Reese's is fun to eat," by 11 percent.

"We chose Pinterest as our next marketing platform because it let us hone in on our millennial audience during key decision-making moments, especially when they are planning menus or activities during the football season," said Connie Kwok, digital manager of Hershey's U.S. brands, in a statement.

Chris Corley, executive creative director at VML, said the motion-powered video ads offer a ton of creative opportunities for clients like Wendy's, the first brand to run a campaign with cinematic ads last year.

"When the creative is done right, fans want to spend time interacting with and taking control of the content, which builds awareness and affinity for the brand in a way that other video units can't," Corley said.

However, he added that Pinterest's reporting capabilities for advertisers were limited when the agency ran the Wendy's campaign and said the "results were somewhat inconclusive in terms of impact."

The case studies are some of the first to come from Pinterest, as the company looks to build out an ad business to compete with those of Facebook, Google and Twitter. Two weeks ago, Pinterest opened self-serve advertising to all small and medium-sized brands and recently poached Google vet Jon Kaplan to work with brands and agencies globally.

Still, Pinterest faces tough competition in keeping up with the growing number of video platforms vying for brands' budgets. According to eMarketer, mobile video brought in $2.6 billion in revenue in the U.S. last year, but different ad formats, metrics and ad prices make it confusing for buyers to navigate.

"Pinterest is still figuring out how other types of video units will fit within their platform and user experience," said Corley. "We consider the Cinematic Pins to be a valuable piece of the video puzzle for Wendy's and are still a unique way for our audience to experience and interact with our content that differs from the video experience on other platforms. We plan to create more of these units for upcoming campaigns."

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