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Pinterest tests video ads: Will the experiment boom or bust?

March 21, 2016

pinterest video ads

Pinterest opening up a new avenue

Pinterest, which has been, in expert opinion, a little slow to set up the infrastructure to draw investment from advertisers, has been considering adding videos for several months, and now appears to be testing a batch of promoted video pins internally and amongst a small group of users. The company is testing for optimal video length, and to see how users react.

User reaction will be an important part of the experiment, considering that Pinterest is not a go-to destination for videos, and that video behavior is somewhat at odds with Pinterest’s scrolling user interface.

“Video behavior is not an organic one on Pinterest”

Orli LeWinter, a social marketing strategist, points out that “video behavior is not an organic one on Pinterest, so I’d be interested to see how they end up performing.”

However, LeWinter still applauds Pinterest’s investment in video infrastructure, saying “they would be wise to launch video ads, as video consumption trends continue to rise.” After all, Facebook currently boasts over 8 million video views per day, adding up to over 100 million hours of video.

The path has been long

The company has been tiptoeing slowly towards video ads over the past year. Last year, the site introduced Cinematic Pins, which are short animations that played while the user scrolls over them, and stop when the user stops scrolling. Cinematic Pins are utilized by several major brands, including Wendy’s, Walgreens, Suave, Unilever, The Gap, L’Oreal, Target, and Visa.

The new video ads will only play when a user stops scrolling long enough to see the video.
Pinterest declined to comment, so we don’t know yet which brands are biting, and how much Pinterest will charge for a video ad.

LeWinter, who commented that Cinematic Pins are a “very interesting and engaging format” that “perform pretty well,” think the success of Cinematic Pins bodes well for video advertising on Pinterest.


Ellen Vessels, Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for her wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when she's not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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