Starting today, users might see promoted pins on Pinterest, but no advertisers have paid for the placement yet. The company announced it has started experimenting with promoted pins in search and home feeds.
Last month, CEO and cofounder Ben Silbermann introduced users to the concept of promoted pins in a blog post, promising there wouldn't be tacky banner or pop-up ads. With promoted pins, the company is taking its first step toward generating revenue. A company representative said the test is to see how these pins "perform out in the wild."
What users might notice (or not) in the above mock-up is that instead of being tacky, promoted pins look almost exactly like normal pins, with a very subtle distinction at the bottom. Being inconspicuous helps keep Pinterest's aesthetics intact, but without drawing more attention to these ads, it can be hard at first glance to tell normal pins from promoted ones. Some users have expressed similar sentiments on Twitter, though not all of them view the subtlety as a bad thing.