Social Media

Pinterest Updates Influencer Terms to Safeguard Authenticity

March 18, 2014

Pinterest aims to help people pursue their interests—whether through unexpected discovery and inspiration, or utility. With one of the strongest growth rates of any social network, Pinterest has become a destination for inspiration (much of it branded), and a hub for new ideas, actions or reactions in those that peruse it. To ensure that this activity—the discovery of relevant and interesting content—can continue unhindered, it’s important that it remains authentic. For this result, Pinterest has updated its policy to restrict compensation for content distribution, creating a safeguard for authentic interactions on the site.

From the Pinterest Acceptable Use Policy: “We believe that compensating people for doing specific things on Pinterest—like paying them to Pin—can promote inauthentic behavior… A business can pay someone to help them put together a board that represents their brand. For example, it’s okay for a guest blogger to curate a board for a local boutique’s profile. We don’t allow that boutique to pay the blogger to Pin products to her own boards.”

How does this affect influencer programs, partnerships and vendor relationships?

Influencer collaborations often play a big role in helping brands generate further reach and awareness around their marketing priorities. However, unlike blogger collaborations where brand affiliations can be clearly denoted, Pinterest activity on behalf of a brand is harder to differentiate. Keeping interactions honest and transparent is important to maintaining user trust and enjoyment while on the platform.

To help marketers understand specifically how this policy update affects brand programs, here is a guide to acceptable and unacceptable compensated activity on Pinterest.

Acceptable compensated activity:

  • Influencer curated boards: Compensating a pinner to curate a board around any theme, as long as what they pin and the amount is at their own discretion, including if they choose to pin branded content.  
  • Brand & influencer board collaborations: Brand-owned group boards contributed to by influencer(s) (which may include a pin requirement). For example, Etsy leverages influencers to curate boards around specific interests and themes, such as the board below by Bri Emery sharing her picks for “the best of Etsy and general web goodness.”


  • Blogger network programs: Working with a vendor or content network to compensate pinners for ongoing activity, not specific actions.
  • Affiliate network compensation: Compensation for a product sale as a result of someone clicking on a user’s pin— as long as the initial pin was not paid for.
  • Payment for downstream actions: Compensating a pinner for activity they incur on a pin after they’ve pinned it (e.g. $1 per repin of pins from a brand website).
  • Sharing influencer content: Compensating an influencer to create brand relevant content and pin it, or allow the brand to pin it.

Unacceptable compensated activity:

  • Paying an influencer for distribution of brand content: Compensation for pinning a minimum number of pins (unless that content is the influencers own). For example, asking an influencer to pin 10 pieces of content from a brand website.
  • Paying an influencer to curate a board that must include brand content: Stipulations to include a minimum amount and/or brand content is viewed as inauthentic and against Pinterest terms.
  • Paying for follows: Paid follower acquisition schemes are not permitted.

While these updates affect how some brands may have previously partnered with influencers on the platform, pinner collaborations can still play an important role in driving successful Pinterest campaigns. Curating content around themes that represent a brand, product or mission will still be a great way to create a connection with an audience and keep them engaged. Working with partners that share a common interest and can help share these experiences will allow brands to continue to provide utility and inspiration to their audiences and move the needle on their platform objectives.

Cover photo via Pinterest