Pinterest is acquiring ad tech startup Kosei, a data firm that specializes in targeting ads based on relationship and recommendation modeling.
Acquiring Kosei makes incredible sense for Pinterest. As the company has turned much of its attention toward its discovery and search engines to help users find even more content, plugging its paid content into those results is critical. For Pinterest, this could mean making better suggestions of photo galleries, or “boards,” to follow or pins to share, prompting users to stay on the site longer.
Kosei has built a graph that understands more than 400 million relationship between 30 million products and basically was able to decipher and map the relationships between different products in a catalog, enabling it to make smarter recommendations to consumers.
With the help of the Kosei team, Pinterest can bolster its machine learning initiatives. Machine learning is the application of algorithms to interpret and analyze data. The Kosei team will figure out where to apply themselves across black ops spam deterrence, visual object recognition, ad click prediction for monetization, growth analytics and building a machine learning system on spark for Pinterest’s data team.
Kosei’s proprietary recommendation engine assists with greater engagement and commerce by making highly personalized and powerful product recommendations to consumers by leveraging a unique product graph that understands products and how they relate to each other.By looking at what the user had browsed or purchased previously, Kosei’s machine learning engine could compare that against commerce data sets, and predict what someone was most likely to want to buy next.
Pinterest’s goal is to help their company “hit internal metrics faster.” As explained by Pinterest in a blog post, “With the addition of the Kosei team, we can supercharge our existing graph to help brands reach people at the right moments, and improve content for Pinners.”
The move is an effort to make the company’s relatively new Promoted Pins offering ever more highly targeted. Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships at Pinterest, said that Pinterest is “aggressively moving into ad tech and the ability to serve the right ad in the right place. We saw great early results with just a little bit of effort, so we’re acquiring Kosei.”
The acquisition comes as Pinterest works to position itself as an essential social-media company for brands. Pinterest hopes the Kosei acquisition will help with ad targeting as the social network will continue to improve its conversion-tracking and offline sales.