Brands that are in search of an attentive audience for upcoming marketing campaigns should turn to a familiar social media channel: Pinterest.

That's because Pinterest is allowing brands to advertise to people who click on or save brand-related pins.

This is new, this is exciting!

Finding People Who Are Already Interested

The whole point of Pinterest's new offering is to enable companies to locate people who are interested in their business. That means, in all likelihood, that those potential customers are a little lower in the sales funnel than people who are targeted with "cold call" style advertising.

According to Pinterest, people are 2.2 times more likely to make a purchase from a brand if they've interacted with a brand-related pin within the past 30 days.

"Engagement data [like pin clicks and saves] show much higher intent and are more valuable than simply liking a page or following a brand's account," said Pinterest product manager Frank Fumarola.

A Sound Strategy

Keep in mind that 75% of Pinterest pins are brand-related. The social media platform is a veritable Alexandrian library of passive-aggressive advertising.

That's why it's so smart of Pinterest management to offer brand-specific promotional options. It's the type of marketing that fits perfectly in the company's wheelhouse.

Online marketers who take advantage of the new Pinterest opportunity are smart as well. They'll target interested people within their market on the fifth most popular social media channel in the entire world.

How It Works

Pinterest will determine whether a pin is related to a brand by examining a number of criteria.

For starters, the platform will look at whether the pin links to a branded website. Obviously, in that case, the pin is related to the brand.

Of course, Pinterest will also determine that a pin is brand-related if it's been posted by the brand itself.

Failing either of those two criteria, Pinterest will use text- and image-recognition technology to determine if a pin is brand-related. It might also make a determination that the pin is "highly related" to other pins that are unquestionably brand-related.

According to Fumarola, Pinterest will be able to make the "brand-related" determination based on the site that the pin links to. However, for that to work, the brand will need to inform Pinterest about its domain. Also, brands are only allowed to specify one domain per account.

Off-Pinterest Marketing

In addition to offering digital marketers new opportunities on its social media site, Pinterest is also adding new features to its off-Pinterest marketing campaigns.

Now, it's going to be easier for brands to allow Pinterest to track what people do on their sites. That will in turn offer more retargeting opportunities to potential customers who've expressed an interest in the brand.

It's not just websites that brands can use for retargeting purposes, either. Pinterest also offers the ability to integrate with apps and email lists as well.

The icing on the cake is that Pinterest will also offer retargeting capabilities to people who share traits similar to a brand's existing customers. That feature alone could open up a whole new universe of potential customers.

According to Pinterest, advertisers who use the new off-Pinterest technology have seen an 80% increase in the number of people clicking on their ads.

Easier Now

Once upon a time, when Pinterest started offering retargeting options last June, brands were forced to place different code snippets on different pages of their websites.

That type of Dark Ages technology is now a thing of the past. Pinterest has responded to the demands of its own market by streamlining the process required for remarketing.

Now, there's a universal Pinterest tag (much like the one used for Google Analytics). That single Pinterest tag covers the entire site, so there's no longer any need for digital strategists to juggle multiple code snippets.

Thanks to the single tag formula, brands will find it much easier to retarget Pinterest users.

However, brands can still specify which URLs they want to use for retargeting purposes. So they haven't sacrificed flexibility for convenience.

Five New Actions for Targeting

In addition to the new Pinterest tag, the company is adding five new ways that brands can target customers. Those are in addition to the four targeting options offered last June.

First, brands can target when somebody visits a category page. That way, if a brand's target market consists of people who would favor that category, it can easily reach them with topic-specific advertising.

Next, brands can also target potential customers who use their site's search bar. Clearly, people who not only visit a site but also use the search bar are engaged at a level beyond cold prospects.

Also, brands can target people who add a product to the shopping cart. That's not only a great way to address shopping cart abandonment, it also offers an outstanding opportunity for upsells.

Additionally, brands can target people who watch a video.

Finally, brands can target people who've responded to a call to action, such as requesting a product demo or signing up for an email list.

Wrapping It Up

Pinterest leverages online analytics and tracking technologies so that brands can advertise to warm leads and retarget people who've visited their sites. If your target market consists of people who are frequent users of Pinterest, take a look at the company's latest opportunities for marketing. You could find a gold mine of new prospects. I know many of our clients will be excited about this new targeting and you should be too.

Published on: Oct 13, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.