Pinterest Introduces Tools to Measure Impact of Pins

Pinterest Inc. is trying to teach businesses how to better use its online scrapbooking site, as the company takes steps to generate more revenue to justify its $5 billion valuation.

The San Francisco-based company is today unveiling a set of free tools that marketers can use to determine which of their posts are working on Pinterest. The startup is providing data such as how many people saw a Pinned post, how many shared it and what a business’s audience is on average, according to Jason Costa, a Pinterest product manager.

That puts Pinterest one step closer to fleshing out how it generates sales. While the company started letting businesses pay to promote posts on its site earlier this year, the program is only available to a limited set of partners. New tools that anyone can use will help current advertisers succeed while training the rest, Costa said.

“We want to make sure we’re articulating in a very clear way what the value is for them,” he said in an interview. “This is the first time we’ve exposed this level of data.”

Pinterest has been spending to improve its products and expand worldwide. The company, led by Chief Executive Officer Ben Silbermann, raised $200 million in May that valued it at $5 billion, making it one of the more highly valued Silicon Valley Web startups. Pinterest has garnered a total of $764 million in funding from investors including SV Angel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity Investments, Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital and Valiant Capital Partners. Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz.

Deliberate Slowness

People use Pinterest to gather online pictures related to what they aspire to buy, make or do. The company has said that it’s expanding the advertising program slowly to make sure users’ experiences on the site aren’t interrupted. When the company picks new marketers for its program, it prioritizes those who already know how to make visuals that don’t distract from the site, Costa said.

“Right now we’re focused on working with advertisers who have invested a lot in Pinterest to date,” Costa said.

Some companies have already been using Pinterest data to inform their business decisions. Vineyard Vines LLC, a Stamford, Connecticut-based company that sells preppy clothing with a pink whale logo, brought a discontinued belt back to market after seeing the traffic it received on Pinterest, Costa said. Pinterest has hundreds of thousands of business accounts, he said, without providing specifics.

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