Pinterest Said To Be Raising Funding At $11 Billion Valuation
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Pinterest Steals Away One of Snapchat’s Advertising Gurus

Jul 27, 2016

Pinterest, the online service for collecting images of cakes, hair styles, and more, has hired away one of Snapchat's experts in measuring the impact of ad campaigns.

Pinterest announced on Wednesday that Gunnard Johnson is joining the company as head of measurement science and insights. He will head a newly formed team of 12 employees focused on improving Pinterest's tools for analyzing its users and the impact of its advertisers' spending.

Johnson, who has specialized in advertising analytics over the last several years, is joining Pinterest at a crucial time for the company. Though it's been able to sell its vision to investors quite well ($1.3 billion in total funding and a current valuation of $11 billion) it now needs to deliver on its promise of making money.

In 2014, Pinterest finally introduced its first ads, in the form of promoted pins, or posts, which let advertisers pay to target Pinterest's users with ads. It has since continued to refine its advertising products, as well as added other ways of making money like e-commerce.

As a sign of its focus on revenue, Pinterest promoted its revenue chief to president in March.

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But as newer Internet companies are finding out, ads are only as valuable if you can prove they lead to sales, so building sophisticated tools for measuring their impact is vital. Snapchat, Johnson's previous employer since March, has been working on this as well.

At Pinterest, Johnson's team will be made up of two of the company's previous groups, the partner insights and partner measurement teams, a Pinterest spokesman told Fortune.

And while Johnson left Snapchat quickly—he was one of two big hires Venice, Calif. company made in an effort to beef up its advertising measurements—he and Pinterest say there's no major backstory.

"The main reasons I made the move to Pinterest are for the people, the role and the company," Johnson told Fortune via email. "I worked with [Pinterest head of global sales] Jon Kaplan at Google and have tremendous respect for him."

He added: "Regarding the role, I believe this role is better aligned with my personal view of the future of advertising research as it brings together insights, measurement and data science within sales as well as the product and engineering functions."

A spokesman for Snapchat did not respond to Fortune's questions about Johnson's departure.

Previously, Johnson was the advertising research director at Google, where he helped build research standards for companies to more easily compare advertising on YouTube versus traditional television. He will start his new job at Pinterest on Aug. 1.

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