Pinterest announced it will bring sponsored ads to the network, allowing brands to create more direct paths to conversions.

It’s been a long time coming, but Pinterest is finally connecting the dots between consumer interest and social commerce. In an official announcement on the Pinterest blog, CEO & Co-Founder Ben Silbermann said the site will soon promote pins from select businesses.

Silbermann explains members should not expect to be bombarded with ads when they visit the site for inspiration. He said all ads on the site will be perfectly Pintersting – i.e., tasteful, transparent, relevant and revised per user feedback. That means no sponsored content disguised as organic Pins and no intrusive pop-up notifications.

The general idea for Pinterest promotional web content is that a user might see an ad for a sweater when searching for fall wardrobe ideas to add to his “Style” board. Ultimately, this could improve the overall user experience because it makes it easy for users to discover new items they want to buy.

A Vision Critical study found 29 percent of Pinners have bought products after pinning or favoriting and liking them on the network. Approximately 22 percent of those transactions took place on the web and 21 percent were completed as in-store sales.

29 percent of Pinners have bought products after pinning or favoriting and liking them on the network. 

It’s likely Pinterest marketing will continue to gain steam as a way to engage customers, but that it will also build momentum as a social commerce channel. By giving brands a way to promote products and encourage conversions directly on the site, Pinterest appears to be capitalizing on vast commercial opportunity. And the network is not alone in this feat. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have also added sponsored content options for brands that want to supplement the reach they have with organic posts.

Of course, marketers cannot overlook the value to natural engagement on Pinterest and other sites. Consumers come to these channels to share ideas, entertainment and participate in two-way conversations, so marketers might find their campaigns are most successful when they embrace ads as a way to follow up with the unsponsored Pinterest-perfect content they already share.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.