Pinterest joins the video ad battle

Pinterest will start competing for video ad spend with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube but is looking to stand out by “enabling actions, not just driving video views”.

Pinterest video ads
Pinterest is launching video ads in the UK

Pinterest is launching video ads on its platform as it looks to compete with rival digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for brands’ growing video ad budgets.

Its first video format, which it is testing in beta mode, will allow brands to pay to have their videos appear in users’ home or category feeds. However, Pinterest is taking a different approach to its rivals in terms of how it presents those ads.

While on social networks such as Facebook video ads autoplay without sound as users scroll through their feeds, on Pinterest users are served an in-feed preview that they can scroll through both backwards and forwards. Clicking on a video opens a new page where users can watch the content with sound.

Under the video, brands can place up to six ‘featured pins’ enabling brands to showcase products found in the video. For example, brands could let users ‘shop the look’ by featuring pins that show items in a bedroom or offer recipe ideas.

Pinterest says the aim of its video ad format is not to drive views but sales. According to figures supplied by the company, 67% of users say videos on Pinterest inspire them to take action, while a study by Millward Brown finds that in tests ‘promoted video pins’ were found to drive “significant” increases in brand lift metrics and be four times more memorable than non-video ads.

So far, brands including Old El Paso, Garnier and Universal Pictures have trialled the format in the US. The video ads will also be available in the UK, though it is not clear which brands are set to use it.

“While other platforms primarily offer video views, we have coupled promoted video with featured pins below the video to let people experience your brand and then go take action.”

Mike Bidgoli, product manager, Pinterest

That Pinterest is moving into the video ad market should not be a surprise. According to the IAB, digital video ad spend increased by 50.7% last year, while on mobile that figure was up 98%. In comparison, the digital ad market overall saw increases of 16.4%.

READ MORE: Pinterest courts UK brands with promise of sales boost

Pinterest is hoping to differentiate by focusing on its role in driving sales. Speaking to Marketing Week recently, UK country manager Adele Cooper pointed out that Pinterest does not see itself as a social network but as a social discovery tool, claiming it can help brands marry online and offline to boost sales.

“People are actively looking to plan something or for inspiration, that is the sweet spot for us,” she said. “If the ultimate goal is to drive a sale, you can literally track if they put an item in their basket, if they complete a purchase. The middle and the end of the funnel is where we play most strongly.”

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