Pinterest

Pinterest’s jumping into the video advertising game.

Today, the platform will begin the beta testing of Promoted Video, or video advertisements, on its mobile app. The launch will first be available to major advertisers in the U.S. and the U.K., including brands such as BareMinerals, Kate Spade and Behr. The Promoted Videos are viewable within Pinterest’s native video player. Marketers can supplement the videos with four to six related Pins below the video.

Cosmetics company BareMinerals was one of the 12 businesses to participate in an early pilot test of the video ads and posted how-to makeup tutorials with Pins of products used in the video to create the looks underneath.

Pinterest ads product manager Mike Bidgoli said most people on Pinterest are on the platform to find or shop for products. That’s compared with the roughly 12 percent of people who said the same about social networks. (Pinterest does not classify itself as a social network.)

It makes sense that Pinterest would expand its advertising offerings to include video, especially since 75 percent of the content on the platform comes from businesses.

Bidgoli said video ads were the number-one request from advertisers, and that in early tests from companies such as Garnier, Universal Pictures and Old El Paso, ad recall and completion rates were “strong.” He attributed that in part to users’ ability to save and return to videos, which makes content such as how-to videos complimentary to the platform.

According to a Millward Brown study shared by Pinterest, General Mills’ Old El Paso found that Pinterest Promoted Video drove “significant brand lift metrics,” and are four times more memorable than a non-video ad.

Pinterest lets advertisers target consumers by more than 400 different interests, various “personas” and other broad categories based on how people are Pinning. The video ads will only be on the mobile version currently, but the product is expected to expand to the desktop version.

Pinterest’s video expansion is consistent with other major tech companies and social media platforms, which have increasingly been focused on videos for both content and advertising.

Facebook and Instagram have introduced a number of new ad products and features that encourage video sharing and viewing (the latest of which is Instagram Stories). Twitter has been streaming live news events, while chief operating officer Adam Bain said in July that it had become a “video-centric” platform and that online video was the number-one format in terms of ad revenue on Twitter.

Yahoo recently said it would be showing Hulu’s free programming, while in May, Yahoo chief revenue officer Lisa Utzschneider said video advertising was up 64 percent in 2015, and that video viewers on Yahoo were consuming 55 percent more videos and spending 85 percent more time with this content on average.

And Google’s YouTube in October introduced YouTube Red, which is a membership model that provides ad-free videos, off-line viewing and the ability to play YouTube videos in the background while using a mobile device. Apple, often considered more of a hardware company, has made a push for Apple TV as a tool for commerce.

Pinterest’s Bidgoli said a number of factors that have contributed in the shift to video from still images. He said phones and data plans can finally support more video, compelling advertisers and media outlets to create more content. There’s also the  long-term trend of so-called “cord-cutting,” which sees traditional TV viewership decreasing while consumers turn to alternative formats and platforms. That adds up to an “abundance” of TV advertising budget, and Bidgoli said that marketers are looking to deploy it where it can drive results.

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