A few months ago I wrote an article regarding Pinterest and how they would have to make a move to eventually monetize because of the massive money thrown their way. I suggested that adding a business feature similar to Facebook would be their most likely starting point. Well only a few short months later, Pinterest, a social media site, officially launched their business page platform to no surprise. A business can now create a profile that is separate from their personal account in a few short steps on the Pinterest platform.
Pinterest, arguably the most recent social media phenomena sweeping the nation is now ranked 15th among trafficked sites according to Alexa traffic ranker. The amount of traffic they are receiving is enormous and is growing steadily. With their recent business page launch, it should be expected that Pinterest will soon join the talks of Google plus, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin as a premier social media site for both personal and business use. Businesses will now look to Pinterest as a site to build a search engine optimization (SEO) and social media presence.
Pinterest was only founded in 2010, but in less than three years has become one of the most popular websites in the world, especially the United States. With so much content being submitted to the Pinterest website, it is only a matter of time before ads or some sort of business feature is incorporated.
There are a few ways that Pinterest could go; one would be to simply create an ad function similar to facebook, so that users scrolling through all the things they are interested in may stumble across paid advertisements leading them to websites that eventually turn into sales. This could be an effective strategy, however similar to Facebook the effectiveness of these ads could be minimal making it difficult to monetize, especially on mobile.
Social media advertising is going to struggle to compete with search engine advertising because users on search engines are ready to buy consumers looking for products and services, whereas social media users are generally not looking for a particular product or service. This makes it incredibly difficult for social media to provide an effective advertising platform for small and medium size businesses that do not have a national brand. Small businesses will have a much better time gaining real customers from search engine ads targeting specific keywords and locations relevant to their business. However, marketing on social media is essentially a shot in the dark when your brand or business is not very large. Larger companies can afford to take that shot in the dark in order to build brand awareness at the national level.
There is another option that Pinterest could pursue, and that would be to develop a more dynamic business page allowing businesses to market and advertise their products and services to the actual users of Pinterest. Developing a more dynamic connection between the businesses and regular users of Pinterest could provide some sort of Segway towards a more stable monetization plan than simply advertising. The execution of such a platform would be no be easy, and the advertising route is most likely going to be their first option because it has worked for other companies before. Regardless, it would be wise for Pinterest to look into other options for monetization besides the conventional advertising method, because social media has proven to be ineffective at providing a quality advertising platform for the average business compared to the major search engines.