Video advertising has become so ubiquitous on social media these days that it's kind of surprising for a network to not use the format to make money. Almost every network, including Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, have figured out how to incorporate, and monetize, promoted videos into their platforms.
The one holdout had been Pinterest. It's frankly a little surprising that it took this long for the company to get there, but the company finally announced on Wednesday it would be rolling out native video ads, which it's calling Promoted Video.
Pinterest showed two examples of how the Promoted Video ads will work: they appear in the platform's main feed, and look like regular Pins, the only difference being that they show what looks like a GIF from the video, which the other Pins show static images.
Like Facebook's video ads, the videos will automatically be muted unless clicked on, at which point they will take over the screen, along with more information underneath.
So far these video ads are only being shown in the U.S. and the U.K. Pinterest also announced its first five partners: bareMInerals, BEHR Paint, Lionsgate, kate spade new york and PURINA.
While the company has never attempted to monetize video before, its not as though Pinterest has no experience with the format; the company has allowed its users to Pin videos since all the way back in 2013. In fact, Mike Bidgoli, a product manager at Pinterest, revealed in a blog post that the platform had seen a 60 percent increase in videos in the last year.
"Over 100 million people around the world come to Pinterest every month to discover ideas to try. One of the best tools for bringing those ideas to life is video, so it’s no surprise this format has been popular on Pinterest, " he wrote.
However, it was only two weeks ago that the company announced that it would be launching a native video player, allowing its users to watch video on Pinterest without having to go to a separate platform. So that aspect of video on Pinterest is still fairly new.
Despite being the newest player in the video ad game, Pinterest sees one big advantage over its rivals: people come to Pinterest specifically to buy things.
Bidgoli specifically cited Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report from earlier this year, which showed that 55 percent of users on Pinterest come to the site to shop, compared to 12 percent of users on Facebook use the network to shop and buy things, more than the nine percent on Twitter, five percent on LinkedIn, and the three percent on Snapchat.
"With Promoted Video, businesses can share their ideas with the people who are looking for them and make it easy for them to give these ideas a try," said Bidgoli.
There's a lot of money to be made in digital video ads. In the U.S. alone, spending is predicted to reach $28.08 billion in 2020, up from $9.90 billion in 2016. Video will also be the fastest-growing category on mobile, on desktop and overall from 2016 through 2020.
This will be Pinterest's second type of ad unit. Until now, the company was only making money off of Promoted Pins, which began in earnest in 2014. These ads work the same as any other type of pin, except they have a label at the bottom that denoted that they are "promoted." It also contains a link to learn more about what that means.