Social media bulletin board Pinterest has become the go-to social media site for pinning pictures of interest to everyone and no one. Its popularity has grown exponentially since its inception as an e-corkboard where pictures became its very currency. So it was only a matter of time before internet savvy marketers found a way to monetize “pins” on the site. And now, Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann says the company will begin monetizing the entire site.

Silbermann says Pinterest will attempt to display advertising in a restrained and tasteful manner, but however it appears, the only certainty now is that advertising is definitely coming to Pinterest.

“No social media player worth its salt can keep going without generating revenue via some form of advertising / promotion and it looks like Pinterest is no different,” wrote Frank Reed recently on the Marketing Pilgrim blog.

Indeed, while many Pinterest visitors may be surprised to learn that Pinterest currently sells no advertising — simply because users never noticed one way or the other — Reed writes that Pinterest is bracing for a backlash from its most ardent fans, and is trying to get in front of any negative sentiments. Silbermann, who is also Pinterest’s CEO, communicated with Pinterest users in a blog post to the site, promising that it will not become littered with the kind of loud banner ads hung at so many other web destinations.

“I know some of you may be thinking, ‘Oh great…here come the banner ads.’ But we’re determined to not let that happen,” Silbermann wrote. “…I can say that promoted pins will be:

  • Tasteful. No flashy banners or pop-up ads.
  • Transparent. We’ll always let you know if someone paid for what you see…
  • Relevant … stuff you’re actually interested in…
  • Improved based on your feedback…”

Silbermann said Pinterest will conduct some ad testing to start, promoting “a few pins in search results and category feeds,” to get an idea of rankings, set rates, and curry some customer feedback.

As Reed noted, Silbermann hopes the grand experiment in driving advertising revenue finds a happy medium between user acceptance and marketer excitement.


Reed, Frank. “Promoted Pins Coming to Pinterest“; Marketing Pilgrim. 9/20/2013.