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Pinterest Sets Its Sights on Video

August 4, 2016, 5:00 PM UTC
Pinterest Said To Be Raising Funding At $11 Billion Valuation
The Pinterest Inc. application (app) is displayed for a photograph in the Apple Inc. App Store on an iPad Air in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. Pinterest Inc. the online scrapbooking company, is seeking to raise funding at a valuation of about $11 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, continuing the soaring values of a group of high-profile technology startups. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Video: Everyone is doing it, and so is Pinterest now.

The San Francisco company, whose service is best known as a way to collect online photos of cakes and the perfect throw pillows, wants to improve its users’ experience when it comes to video. On Tuesday, Pinterest revealed that it’s planning to debut a native video hosting tool in a few months. At first, it will be geared toward companies and experts so they can create and share how-to videos, according to a company spokeswoman.

Video has been a growing medium on Pinterest, with a 60% increase in videos saved by users over the last year, according to the company.

To take advantage of this surge in videos on its service, Pinterest also says that it’s starting to bolster its video search and recommendation technologies to help users find and discover videos better.

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The company’s new focus on video comes at a crucial time. Though it’s been able to grow to more than 100 million monthly active users, Pinterest now has to turn them into revenue. In 2014, it introduced its first ads, in the form of promoted pins, and has since added other revenue sources like e-commerce.

As other social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have shown, video has become the next media frontier. With the higher ad rates it commands and consumers’ increased ability to watch videos even on mobile devices (thanks to faster and cheaper Internet service), it’s no surprise companies are turning to video as they seek more revenue.

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In the case of Pinterest, how-to videos made by experts and partner companies are a logical first step. According to a survey of consumers who watch videos on their smartphones conducted by the company, people are more than twice as likely to “take action,” such as following a dish recipe or trying out a craft project, after watching a video on Pinterest than any other site. Capturing its users’ attention with video to this degree could prove quite valuable to advertisers, and hosting its own videos natively will mean that Pinterest can place ads over them.

Last week, Pinterest underscored its commitment to growing its advertising efforts when it announced it has hired Gunnard Johnson, previously at Snapchat and Google, to lead its user and advertising measurements team.