What Happened: For many brands, bloggers are a bridge between basic, straightforward catalog images found on retailer websites and the highly styled, aspirational images that perform well on Pinterest. Bloggers promote products using affiliate links, which give them a commission if a reader clicks through or purchases the product. These affiliate links have been big business for bloggers, but now Pinterest is cutting out the middle man by banning affiliate links and, according to some reports, planning a native “buy” button in the next 3-6 months.
What This Means for Brands: Pinterest is considered the social platform most likely to inspire a purchase, but until recently, it had lost a big opportunity for revenue to its users. Now, brands with robust blogger programs will continue to benefit from those relationships but will need to find a new way to provide value to the bloggers. And the brands that seek to sell through Pinterest will benefit because their products will be shown in images of everyday life: for instance, an image of a couch in a chic living room will perform better than the same couch on a white background.