Promoted Pins Come to Pinterest – How Bad is it?

Tonight, I received an email from Pinterest – beginning with a heart-touching story of how he used Pinterest to collect precious moments of his son, Pinterest CEO Ben then rolled out the idea of experimenting pin promotion on Pinterest as a profit channel to maintain the operation of the site.

We are not new to the idea of content promotion: Facebook and Twitter jumped into the realm earlier. While Pinterest guaranteed that the promotions won’t be disruptive because they will be transparent (you know which pins are promoted pins), relevant (the pins will be consistent with something you are interested in), and listening to your feedbacks (machine learning helps to improve the relevancy), we knew both Facebook and Twitter promotions do the same thing.

So, what do you feel about content promotions so far on Facebook and Twitter? Comparing to Facebook and Twitter, what kind of experience you are expecting for promoted pins on Pinterest?

For me, the more emphasis on content exhibition the site has, the less the effect of promoted content has. For example, the news feed on Facebook is really about the performance of the people. In this case, the sneak promotions are relatively incompatible with the main focus and interests of the users. While on Pinterest, the role of content publisher is really minimized and deemphasized in the visual level with heavy emphases on the contents themselves (see the screenshot below). As long as the smart machines promotes “tasty” pins, which I am pretty sure they are capable of, the user experience won’t be compromised much.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 1.47.27 AM

Sometimes we need to embrace this win-win situation, don’t we?

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4 thoughts on “Promoted Pins Come to Pinterest – How Bad is it?

  1. Mihaela

    I’ve been working (in my head) on a post about advertising and how… grateful I am for it. It pays for so many awesome things that we get to enjoy for free! Ideally, it would not disrupt the user experience – because good advertising strategy doesn’t. You CAN have your cake and eat it, too.

    Reply
    1. Emma (Zhihua) Post author

      I totally agree with you. And, it is interesting to see how they are trying to balance between UX and advertising, or some even managed to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the two.

      Reply
      1. Mihaela

        If done well, advertising is a win-win situation. Look, for example, at women’s magazines. I read the ads with as much interest as the articles – new mascara?! new foundation that can make me look 50 years younger?! YAY! They do not interrupt my experience. I actually want to know what’s new out there. Many people do. The problem is, when the information advertising gives us is irrelevant, not new, or shoved in our faces 15 times a minute.

      2. Emma (Zhihua) Post author

        Right. I was also thinking that while I am browsing my Pinterest news feed, I don’t mind or even welcome seeing a new style published by, say, Jcrew. I like the 4 characteristics Pinterest gives in that email about the promotion: tasty, transparent, relevant, and smart. The letter itself, shows their commitment to UX.

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