clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pinterest Woos Big Brands With Its New API

Pinterest's new API isn't for the plebeian masses, it's for the Fortune 100s.


Pinterest* is welcoming the developer community with a new Application Programming Interface tool, but it’s keeping a tight lock on who has access. APIs allow coders and companies to draw information from and interact with another application.

In the case of Pinterest, the API will allow brands to post pictures to the site through their social media management services, instead of using the native Pinterest application. Only ten of these tools can use the API — Ahalogy, Buffer, Curalate, Expion, Newscred, Percolate, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr and Tailwind. They might sound like Tinker Bell’s stepsisters, but their jobs aren’t quite as magical.

They help brands like Kraft and Procter & Gamble post to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other channels. That means everything from scheduling posts to search engine optimization. Without them, brands’ social media managers would have to log into ten to twelve different accounts.

Pinterest wants to make it easier for big companies to share images on the service, an act it calls “pinning.” “Two-thirds of the content on Pinterest comes from brands and businesses,” Jyri Kidwell, Pinterest’s Head of Marketing Developer Partnerships, said to Re/code. “All that content makes for a richer experience for pinners.”

There’s one other benefit to smoothing brands’ path to pinning — it might lead them to spending more advertising dollars. “This [API] is about putting Pinterest as a marketing tool on steroids,” said Bob Gilbreath, the co-founder of Ahalogy, one of the ten initial partners.

Along with unveiling its marketing developer partners’ API, Pinterest is beta testing an advertising API. It would automate the company’s ads product, called “promoted pins,” by allowing brands to post these ads through third party applications. The move comes soon after Pinterest’s valuation hit $11 billion and its total venture funding crossed the $1 billion mark.

To bring in the revenue that will sustain that valuation, Pinterest’s marketing program will need to mature. “The biggest things brands are asking for is, ‘We want to be told what to do. Don’t just tell us what happened,'” Gilbreath said.

In classic Pinterest fashion, the company is keeping a tight rein on who can publish to Pinterest from another application. “We’ve carefully selected these ten partners,” Kidwell said. “Just like any other ecosystem, we’ll be auditing and monitoring the [spam] risk. We’re not an open program.”

Right now, the company doesn’t have plans to open the API up to other partners.

* Pinterest executive Joanne Bradford is an independent board member of Re/code’s parent company Revere Digital and has no involvement in our editorial process.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.