Pinterest Poaches 2 Longtime Google Execs to Develop New Ad Formats and Targeting

Jon Alferness and Meredith Guerriero bring search and programmatic expertise

Pinterest is pulling from Google's playbook. Courtesy of Pinterest
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Pinterest is after Google’s talent. The San Francisco-based company has scooped up two Google execs as it looks to build out its advertising team.

Jon Alferness, formerly vp of product management of Google’s shopping and travel products, has been named head of ad products at Pinterest. Alferness worked at Google for nearly 13 years and spent roughly half of that time working with Google search ads, mobile display promos and the AdMob ad network.

With Pinterest, Alferness will lead product organization and help develop and roll out global advertising products such as targeting and ad formats, per Pinterest. Alferness will report to Pinterest president Tim Kendall.

“He brings significant product experience to the company, including deep ecommerce domain knowledge and expertise across search and display advertising,” Kendall said in a statement. “Jon will make an immediate impact as we continue to roll out more ad solutions that deliver strong, measurable results for our partners.”

Pinterest is also adding Meredith Guerriero as head of partnerships, East Region and head of the company’s New York office. Guerriero has been director of the health, grocery and politics ad verticals at Facebook since 2015, but she previously spent 10 years at Google, where she worked across the company’s search, programmatic and mobile products, focusing specifically on automotive for more than six years.

Alferness and Guerriero aren’t the only Google vets to jump to Pinterest. Last February, Pinterest hired Google exec Jon Kaplan as global head of partnerships. Kaplan has spent the past year building out searchlike ad products and features.

In February, Pinterest launched a search-targeting tool that lets marketers drill down into specific search queries and is similar to how brands buy Google search ads.

“We’re specifically targeting search inventory—the real estate of search requires a different level of sophistication and targeting,” Kaplan said at the time. “We’ve never talked to search-engine marketers before—either the people at the companies that are handling search or the agencies that handle search. What we found is that we’re actually talking to a totally different set of requirements.”

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.