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What Pinterest’s New Trending Features Could Mean for Its Revenue Strategy

November 15, 2016, 6:00 PM UTC
Pinterest Said To Be Raising Funding At $11 Billion Valuation
Pinterest Inc. logos are displayed for a photograph on an Apple Inc. 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
Photo by Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pinterest, a service known for its virtual scrapbooks and bills itself as a digital catalog, has created a new destination within its realm for finding and sharing even more ideas and images.

Dubbed Pinterest Explore, the section will include the top pinned ideas each day as well as content and videos from major publishers, such as GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Food Network, National Geographic, HGTV, and more. Whereas Pinterest’s home feed is a personalized feed for pins from other boards and accounts that the user follows, the Explore tab is meant to help users discover new content that the rest of site’s audience is sharing.

Included in the new Explore section is the existing feature “Today’s Picks,” which includes personalized recommendations along with top ideas and videos based on search trends. For example, Pinterest says that food and drink recipes are especially popular in search on Tuesdays, so users might see more of those on a given day.

Pinterest has been aggressively pushing more video content this year, and the company is debuting video hosted on its site, or native video, within the Explore Tab. Pinterest said that publishers and “tastemakers,” as described by the social network, will be producing daily videos for the site that will be published similar to the way publishers have been creating native videos for YouTube (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB).

Videos will automatically play once user visits the Explore tab. Pinterest is also experimenting with ads in these videos, noting initial advertisers include American Express (AXP), Macy’s (M), and Sony Pictures (SNE).

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Native videos is just one more way that Pinterest can start to monetize its users. Though it’s been able to grow to more than 100 million monthly active users, Pinterest still 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 have shown, video has become the next media frontier, thanks to higher ad rates and the popularity of watching videos on mobile phones. Pinterest debuted video ads in August, and adding native video and ads to the Explore tab is an extension of this strategy.