Pinterest was somewhat quiet towards the end of 2015, but make mistake, the photo-sharing website is planning a big year in 2016.
Pinterest boasts around 70 million users globally, according to estimates from comScore, the research company.
The firm employs more than 450 people, and has raised more than $760 million in venture capital.
Despite generating little to no revenue, the company is valued by investors at $5 billion.
After three years of massive growth, 2015 was the year when Pinterest finally began to address that key issue – making it a profitable business.
The company has been beta testing Promoted Pins for eight months, burrowing away working with its partners to make sure it gets its ad platform right.
2016 is the year when it all comes together, and Pinterest, as always, are thinking big.
On New Year’s Day, Pinterest began selling ads on the site to marketers, and have their sights firmly set on taking ad spend off the likes of Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Its major competitors have been pursuing advertising for years, but Pinterest feel they are at advantage over them given the nature of their product focused service.
“On Facebook, you think about friends, and on Twitter you think about news,” Joanne Bradford, Pinterest’s head of partnerships, told the New York Times.
“On Pinterest, you think about what you want to do, where you want to go, what you want to buy.”
Essesntially, Pinterest aims to do for its users discovery on the site what Google did for search.
Pinterest wants to bring the content that their users want without them even knowing they want it.
To help them achieve this ambitious goal, Pinterest began working with a number of exclusive advertising partners in a limited test in June.
The Promoted Pin ad look much like the other content on Pinterest.
Marketers can target it to certain groups of people based on their location, sex and the type of topic they have shown interest in.
Pinterest claim early results are promising.
Brand advertisers see Promoted Pins ‘re-pinned’ or shared by users, an average of 11 times per advertisement.
On average, every ad will be seen by 30 percent more people than the brand paid to show it to because users have shared the ad with friends.
Kraft Foods was one of the lucky few who began testing the ads in June, and so far they have been impressed with the results they have yielded.
But more than anything, they see the value of the vision Pinterest have for their platform.
“We’re aiming for the holy grail here: trying to provide the right content to the right people, at the right time,” Dana Shank, an associate director at Kraft Foods, told the New York Times.
“To be on a platform where people are actively looking for that content? That’s invaluable to us.”
The problem advertises face on social networks is making the adverts blend seamlessly in the wealth of unpaid content.
It’s not easy, but given that Pinterest is so product led, it helps advertisers accomplish that goal enormously.
“Advertisers tell us Pinterest is the only place where their brand feels truly welcome,” Ms. Bradford said.
Of while Pinterest may feel they already have a clear advantage over their competitors, there is still an awful lot of ground to make up.
Facebook, which has more than 1.3 billion users, generated $3.2 billion in revenue last quarter. Google generated $16.5 billion in revenue for that period.
“Pinterest definitely has a lot of potential, because the nature of the activity is totally commercial,” Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, told the New York Times.
“But if you look at where its business is compared to Facebook or Twitter, it still has a lot of work to do.”