Jon Alferness, the former vice president of product management for Google’s travel and shopping products, is joining Pinterest to lead the company’s advertising products group. In that role, Alferness will work on developing and launching global ad products, including targeted ad campaigns, according to Adweek. Alferness had been at Google for nearly 13 years, working on the Internet search giant’s search ads and mobile display ad products, among other areas.
Also joining Pinterest is Meredith Guerriero, who has been heading up Facebook’s health, grocery, and politics ad verticals since 2015. Guerriero is also a former Google employee, having spent nearly a decade with on company’s search and mobile ad products before she joined Facebook. She will be the head of partnerships in the East Region and run the company’s New York office.
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Alferness and Guerriero will join a Pinterest ad team tasked with growing the startup’s advertising revenue in an ultra-competitive environment where online giants Facebook and Google suck up much of the available online ad money. Pinterest only first rolled out advertising products in 2014, and the company has been trying to expand in that area, as well as others aimed at monetizing its services, such as e-commerce. With more than 175 million monthly users, the company is a candidate to be the next buzzy social media initial public offering if it can display the ability to generate significant ad revenue growth.
Pinterest said previously that it is forecasting roughly $500 million in ad revenue this year, compared to the more than $79 billion in ad sales that Google reported in 2016. So, it comes as little surprise that the San Francisco-based company would turn to its larger rivals to poach talent. Earlier this year, Pinterest also hired Jon Kaplan, Google’s former vice president of U.S. sales, to run its global sales business.
Pinterest raised an additional $150 million in venture capital funding last month, bringing its total above $1 billion and valuing the company at more than $12 billion.