Pinterest plots first advertiser summit, touting service as brand-safe shopping destination

Dive Brief:

  • Pinterest will host its first global advertiser summit, positioning the platform as a destination where brands can reach consumers at various points on the shopper journey, according to a news release.
  • Called Pinterest Presents, the event will be hosted virtually on March 3, with content tailored to various regions including the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia and Canada. Speakers include Pinterest chief executive Ben Silbermann, CMO Andréa Mallard and Dan Lurie, head of growth and shopping product, as well as fashion and entertainment influencers to be announced at a later date.
  • Pinterest looks to spotlight both its commerce capabilities and its efforts to create an environment of positivity and inspiration, qualities that could make the service more appealing as brands seek to link their advertising closer to sales in a brand-safe way.

Dive Insight:

Pinterest is casting a wider net to lure in advertisers with Pinterest Presents. Advertiser summits act as a venue for platforms to show off their latest bells and whistles while pitching directly to an audience of brands and media buyers. For Pinterest, adopting the concept arrives as business is booming but also as key growth areas like e-commerce grow more competitive, making distinction important.

Industry confabs like the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Content NewFronts have long served as a place for companies like Pinterest to broaden their outreach to adland, but more platforms have opted to put on their own shows in recent years. Snapchat, for instance, began hosting its Partner Summit in 2019 to showcase advertising innovations and partnerships.

Pinterest is looking to keep up momentum driven by the pandemic. The company saw adoption of its shoppable advertising formats grow sixfold during the fourth quarter last year, indicating brands sought new methods to market to gift buyers around the holidays. Revenue spiked 76% year-on-year to $706 million over the period, while global monthly active users, a key audience metric, was up 37% year-over-year to 459 million, according to earnings results released last week.

But rivals are moving quickly to glom on to the COVID-driven commerce opportunity. Facebook, Instagram and relative newcomers like TikTok are all quickly building out more shopping features. Walmart is pushing to acquire a stake in TikTok, valuing the video-sharing app’s ability to bridge creator-driven content with advertising and sales.

Pinterest differentiates its service by eschewing the traditional social media label in favor of promoting itself as a destination for positivity and product discovery. Eighty-nine percent of users go to Pinterest for inspiration on their path to purchase, according to GfK data cited in the release. CEO Silbermann has emphasized that Pinterest serves as an escape from “politics and bad news,” areas that have landed companies like Facebook in hot water.

“At Pinterest Presents, we’ll share a different vision for the future,” the event’s website reads. “A more inspired internet. Where the best of offline shopping comes online. Where conversions matter more than likes. A place that’s positive — for people and for your bottom line.”

During a call with investors discussing the Q4 earnings, Pinterest executives outlined their investment priorities for this year’s first quarter, some of which may take center stage at Pinterest Presents. The company is putting a focus on technology like augmented reality and shopping, as well as automation. In January, the platform rolled out an ad format that lets marketers automate the process of building personalized creative targeted at specific audiences.

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