Pinterest is everywhere. We’ve all seen this before: the rise of a newly trending social media platform that changes the way we communicate and share content. But the buzz is mostly a consumer-facing discussion. The question from a business standpoint remains, how does Pinterest hope to monetize their following? Or – how will they incorporate brands?
It seems clear that Pinterest (and similar platforms like, SVPPLY and The Fancy), are the future of social media. Where Twitter allowed us to share links, thoughts and photos, these platforms now allow the micro sharing of visual content. These platforms are aspirational in a way that instills competition among users. The mood boards you create are seen as a personal snapshot and a glimpse into your level of taste - so let the social-heavens forbid that you fall to the bottom of the pile.
What’s most interesting is that Pinterest seems extremely self-aware of its potential, perhaps more than any other social media platform before it. For starters, “pins” can be linked to e-commerce sites: an automatic draw for brand marketers. This seems like free value to brands, no? Don’t worry, Pinterest has already figured out a way to quietly monetize this. Any “pin” across the platform that links to an ecommerce site with its own affiliate program, is actually modified by Pinterest, with its own affiliate tracking code. This way, Pinterest can monitor when a purchase is made via a link on their platform, and make bank.
Since this link-modifying was discovered, the digital world has been expressing some hesitation over whether or not Pinterest is being entirely transparent (or entirely legal) in the way they are disclosing this information to its users. The conclusion is that Pinterest’s terms of service basically allow them to do whatever they want with your “pins”.
If they’ve already figured this model out while still in beta, then the platform may hold even more potential than we thought. It seems like this trend has a few more tricks up its sleeve before it takes a bow. What new opportunities will Pinterest open to brand marketers, and how long before that business peaks? …Or has it already.