Pinterest Enlists Top Creators and Production Shops to Craft Posts for Marketers

It designed 6,000 branded pins in a year

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As Pinterest works to build an advertising business that rivals heavyweights like Facebook and Google, it's launching a creative program with a handful of production shops, publishers and creators aimed at making it easier for brands to create posts for the platform.

The new program is called Pin Collective, and it provides brands with creative guidance in all parts of their Pinterest game plans, from the site's recently launched video feature to Promoted Pins as well as overall strategy to prove that platform-specific content drives sales. The program includes four production companies: Moment Studio, loop88, The Mill and McBeard. Publishers Tastemade, Brit + Co and PureWow are also involved, as are individual creators that have mastered the platform.

Sarah Barnes, for example, runs the popular TamingTwins food account, which has more than 421,000 followers, and Peter Lombardi's account specializes in photography. Pinterest said Albertsons is one marketer that has tested the approach with a recent pumpkin-themed fall campaign that was styled and photographed by lifestyle blogger Monica Lavin.

"One of the bigger challenges for brands is to make sure that their content resonates on Pinterest—you have to use imagery, it has to be beautiful, it has to be symbiotic with the platform," said Jon Kaplan, Pinterest's head of global sales. "It's not trivial to create a great piece of creative or set of creative for this platform. This is what holds brands up more than anything else."

Facebook, Google, Tumblr and Snapchat have similar creative programs that pair creators and agencies with brands to create custom content.

Pin Collective builds on Pinterest's year-old in-house program called Pin Factory that walks marketers through creating their first pieces of ad creative, learning what works and doesn't work on the platform. Pinterest says it has worked with 600 brands including Adidas, Hunter Boots and BarkBox on such campaigns to design 6,000 ads over the past year.

On the media-buying side, Pinterest has partnerships with a number of ad-tech companies including 4C, SocialCode and Brand Networks that run campaigns on behalf of Pinterest through its API.

"What's totally obvious is when we create the pin through the Pin Factory, the advertiser's campaign performs exponentially better, or at least when we teach them how to do it," Kaplan said.

In the long term, Kaplan said, he envisions adding other bigger creative shops in addition to media companies and creators to handle larger requests from brands.

"You could see us creating kind of a creative exchange of great content companies that can provide those kinds of services in an automated fashion," he said. "This is our first step in that journey to make sure that we have a certification process in place."

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