The most popular next-generation social platforms are finally seeking to monetize, but they're not doing it in traditional ways.

In an effort to more tightly integrate their ad offerings into their user experiences, these companies are increasingly creating their own unique formats.

Instagram has carousel ads. Snapchat has experimented with paid Snaps.

And now Pinterest, one of the social platforms widely considered to have particularly great potential for brands, has unveiled Cinematic Pins, a new ad unit that's integrated into the Pinterest experience.

Cinematic Pins function like Promoted Pins, but grab attention by animating as the user scrolls down the page. When clicked, they open a larger full-motion video.

Visually compelling, much like Instagram's carousel ads, Pinterest's Cinematic Pins have also been designed with users in mind.

The company began testing the new ad format several months ago and quickly settled on a format that was not disruptive to the overall Pinterest experience.

According to Pinterest monetization executive Tim Kendall:

What we heard was, auto-play ads are interruptive, and this is so much better because it keeps me in control. We didn’t even bother testing auto-play [based on the response from our users with this product].

Cool ad formats aren't a fit for all brands

While not the largest social platform, Pinterest has been of particular interest to many brands given its attractive demographic and highly-engaged userbase.

Because many of the images that are shared on Pinterest are of products, many brands see the potential to use Instagram to drive sales, and there's evidence it can do just that.

The visually appealing Cinematic Pins seem like a very good fit for certain kinds of brands, namely retailers, and some of the names that have signed up to use them first, including Banana Republic, Gap and L’Oreal, aren't surprising.

But Cinematic Pins and ad formats like them aren't necessarily going to be a good fit for all brands. 

As Brandon Rhoten, VP of digital experience at fast food chain Wendy's candidly told Wall Street Journal, "We're frankly still trying to figure out Pinterest. We’re not a considered purchase. You don't create a giant board of cheeseburgers that you’re going to go eat in the next week, or salad."

The good news for companies like Wendy's is that they can pick and choose the social platforms that are best aligned with their brands.  

Also, at least fort the time being, it appears that the Pinterests and Instagrams of the world are avoiding the mistake of trying to build ad offerings that are all things to all brands and instead focusing on how to create formats that make the most of the experiences they've perfected.

Patricio Robles

Published 22 May, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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