Will New Pinterest Ads Discourage Millennials?

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

The verb “pinning” has taken on a whole new meaning in the past year.  Now, Pinterest has coined the phrase and given it a whole new definition.  Users have the ability to “pin” an image or video onto their theme boards.  The pin has the link to the original site where the user found the image.  Essentially, Pinterest is one big interactive file cabinet that users have unlimited access to and can develop as often and as much as they want. For Millennials, a generation that highly values customization, Pinterest is the ideal way to manage online content

Pinterest has become increasingly popular with many brands that value consumer engagement at a low cost.  The site enables brands to share their products with consumers in a way that also encourages the consumers to share the same product with their peers.  Millennials value peer affirmation and peer recommendations  so the ability to create co-operated boards is gold for marketers who are seeking to create relationships with their customers.

J.Crew is one of the many brands capitalizing on the success of Pinterest.  In early August, J.Crew released its entire fall fashion line on its Pinterest page.  Magazines are jumping on the bandwagon as well.  Cosmopolitan, a top-selling magazine for women, offers a “pin it” tab that directly links any article to a users Pinterest board.



Will promoted pins affect Millennial loyalty?

Last week, CEO and Co-founder of Pinterest, Ben Silberman, posted on the official Pinterest blog “we’re going to start experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses.”  In the post, Silberman promised the ads would be tasteful and relevant among other things and would not disturb the Pinterest experience.  The message was also sent out as a mass email blast to all Pinterest users.  The move towards promotional pins could have been predicted after the addition of “rich pins”, a tool that allows brands to add more information to their Pinterest page like prices and recipes.

In order to maintain positive relationships with Millennials, Pinterest will have to be very careful in the way it incorporates its advertisements. Pinterest must keep three simple things in mind when adding promotional pins into the mix:

  • Millennials value a customized experience
    • Millennials do not want promoted products at the forefront of their Pinterest experience.  The authentic sharing aspect of Pinterest is one of the most valued traits of the website.
  • Millennials want the truth
    • If a pin on someone’s newsfeed is a promotion, Millennials will want to know.  Transparency is key when marketing towards Millennials.
  • Millennials want to give feedback and be part of the planning process
    • Millennials highly value companies that include them in the planning process.  By allowing users to give feedback about the new promotions, Pinterest is creating a two-way conversation.

Pinterest has become an inspiration hub that allows users to share their wants and desires.  Brands that utilize Pinterest are reaching Millennials through engagement that encourage peer recommendation and open relationships between between brands and brand fans.  Promoted pins, if presented in the right way, will strengthen customer loyalty and create greater revenue for the Website.






Leah Swartz contributed to this post

Photo Credit: Bunches and Bits via Flickr


About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.