Meet The Team - Pinterest’s power of positivity 

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 22 June 2023
Melinda Petrunoff.

Pinterest is positioning itself as a platform focused on positivity, prioritising inclusivity, trust and safety as key reasons for both users and brands to get involved.

Whether it’s ensuring search tools display different hair patterns and diverse skin tones, strengthening election integrity by directing searchers to official resources or prohibiting all ads with weight loss language and imagery, Melinda Petrunoff, Pinterest’s country manager for Australia & New Zealand manager, said that building a positive and inclusive platform is at the centre of everything Pinterest does.

“We’ve done research that shows that 60% of consumers say that they will consider, buy from and trust a brand that they find in a positive environment, so it’s a pretty compelling reason as to why brands would want to be in a positive environment,” said Petrunoff.

Petrunoff said that it's fortunate that Pinterest is a “very different platform” to the likes of its competitors in the social media space, with one of the roles Pinterest is playing in the ANZ market very much focused on educating the advertising agencies and marketing community about those points of differences.

“We're seeing when marketers and advertisers get on the platform, they're coming back, so we're really lucky to be growing in what I appreciate is a challenging year for other businesses.”

Petrunoff said that the platform’s highest growth in both users and engagements is the Gen Z community, one of the key reasons being a desire to escape the “toxicity” of traditional social media platforms.

“Pinterest provides that little positive inspiration oasis, which we've been able to prove through research as well,” Petrunoff told AdNews.

“We did research with UC Berkeley last year, which proved that Pinterest is a positive and inspiring platform and that especially for Gen Z, just small doses of spending time in a positive environment like Pinterest actually reduces their stress and improves their mental capacity.

“Pinterest is just one positive platform, but it highlights that it pays to be positive and everything that we're doing around product development to setting policies is in service of making sure that we continue to be a positive environment. Doing that is really helping to build our audience growth and success that we're seeing, delivered through our advertising partners.”

Petrunoff said Pinterest has also rolled out enhanced tools around teen safety and wellbeing and age-gating, along with banning beauty filters and putting in mental health wellbeing tools, all designed to foster this sense of safety and trust on the platform.

Outside of these key areas, Pinterest is also focused on making shopping become a priority on the platform. 

“We know that half of the Pinners that come to our platform every month are there to shop,” said Petrunoff.

“What makes Pinterest very different is the fact that people are coming to plan and to seek inspiration. People come and they build inspiration boards, and those inspiration boards that they create are based on something that they're planning to do. That means they build boards that are very personalised to their taste. 

“We've been very clear to share that our vision is to make everything shoppable. The benefit to retailers, and this is what we are seeing in the ANZ market, is that they will gain a customer because we're making this a full experience, not just a transaction that you often see.”

Two recent rollouts in that space include Premiere Spotlight and Travel Catalogues, the first of which is a high impact awareness ad solution, designed to help advertisers and premium brands reach audiences at scale when it matters most.

It features video ads in places such as the search page, which is the first step for users to discover new ideas on Pinterest. Premiere Spotlight also enables brands to reserve their placement for product launches and own the screen, taking up approximately 50% of a mobile device's screen on Pinterest’s first search page.

Travel Catalogues builds on Pinterest’s product catalogue technology, allowing travel brands to easily upload their travel products to the platform, something Petrunoff ties in to Pinners coming to the platform with the intent to plan.

“I know when I'm coming to plan a vacation, the opportunity to actually be able to see updated rates to book hotels or rental accommodation again allows us to take people from planning and seeking inspiration to doing,” Petrunoff told AdNews.

“I think that's one of the things that is so unique when we talk about a differentiated platform - no other platform in this market takes people from discovering an idea to making a decision to taking an action.

“We uniquely and successfully pull people through a funnel of decisions and that's what I think our advertising partners acknowledge the most and equally benefits them in growing their businesses.”

Petrunoff said one of Pinterest’s key priorities for the rest of the year in Australia and New Zealand includes building on the vision of making everything on Pinterest shoppable and creating seamless consumer experiences.

“We know that the average order size on Pinterest is twice the value of any of our competitive platforms, so we know that we're delivering value and we want to be able to help them find that inspiration that they're seeking,” said Petrunoff.

“97% of all searches on Pinterest are unbranded and the benefit of that is that advertisers can get their brands discovered.

“We’re also really focused on continuing to work on the power of insights and analytics - we've got a very interesting view into what people are interested in and that puts us in this position where we can actually predict what will be trending now and into the future. Using those insights to inform brands and advertisers allows them to be very, very relevant and inform their strategies on the platform.”


Lou Khong

Louise Khong, Creative Strategist 

What does a typical day look like for you?

There’s no such thing as a “typical” day for me, which is one of the things I love about my job. I partner with our sales teams across all industries to help advertisers elevate their creative presence and get inspired by what’s possible on Pinterest. Some days I’ll be knee-deep brainstorming for a pitch, working with my global counterparts to host an industry webinar, or consulting with an advertiser to help them optimise their branded content or inspire them to think bigger on the platform.

What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

Proving that Pinterest is a creative platform and a place for big ideas. Pinterest’s trend forecasting capabilities, the mindset of our audience, and the context in which ads appear create a truly unique advertising opportunity – it’s my job to help brands understand this and unlock the creative possibilities.

Many partners are truly leaned into creativity, willing to take risks and invest in creative ideas. For example, we recently worked with MECCA to launch a Trending Machine: a digital and real-life makeup vending machine that helps Gen Z explore looks inspired by the latest beauty trends and shop products to bring them to life.

What attracted you to Pinterest?

I was living in the US in 2021 during the time the internet and news cycle was reaching peak negativity. On the flip side, every experience I’d had with Pinterest, both as a user of the platform and from my time working at publishers and agencies, had left me feeling positive and inspired. So when a position came up aligned to my skills and also my values, it felt symbiotic. 

I also feel passionately about Pinterest’s differentiation and value. I love helping brands communicate in a way that doesn’t just cut through, it adds value to people’s lives in some way, whether that’s by helping you find the ideal last-minute gift, teaching you how to keep your herb garden alive or inspiring you to finally give that two-toned hair trend a go. 


Vanessa Jones

Vanessa Jones, Agency & Activations Partnerships

What are you focused on for 2023? 

Deliver value for our clients by delivering revenue and advertiser activation growth and value for our advertisers across the funnel, plus showcasing the value of our insights by working with the team to align our moments with audience insights to help brands capitalise on high impact opportunities for example, Holidays, Father’s Day, Spring etc.

What attracted you to Pinterest?

Before starting at Pinterest, my personal experience on the platform was one of positivity and creativity, including helping me to plan my wedding, and decorate and plan for my two babies. It has always added value in my life, and I could see the potential for brands to be a part of that experience too - ads on Pinterest stand out because they fit in. Partners have the opportunity to put relevant content in front of an engaged audience.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day-to-day typically covers people, clients and planning. With people, it’s leadership meetings, one on one’s with my growing team. I lead the team of 10+ staff and lead Pinterest’s culture committee in Australia working on internal and community engagement. Creating positive experience is at the heart of everything at Pinterest, from the culture club’s work through curating a more positive place online for our users.

Outside of supporting our clients across agency and activations, I lead our ongoing moments engagement work at Pinterest. Moments can be seasonal or cultural-of-the-moment in nature and brands can leverage our platform to tap into top themes with content and ideas our users are actively searching for. We have a wealth of insights because of how people use the platform, they come to save ideas and plan their lives, which creates insights around emerging trends. 


Tom Tilney

Tom Tilney, Agency Lead 

What attracted you to Pinterest?

I was and still am attracted to the purpose of the company. It is one of the very few ads-funded platforms where as a user, you benefit from the overall experience. It’s incredibly inspiring to have the opportunity to work for a company that aims to do good and also backs that up in employee culture and experience.

What are you focused on for 2023?

As Agency Lead, I am the main conduit between Pinterest and our biggest agency partners. My big focuses include partnering with agencies across product and innovation opportunities to further grow Pinterest’s most mature clients, as well as continuing to showcase to the market that Pinterest’s range of solutions can drive value and meaningful business outcomes for clients in all verticals.

What do you love most about your role?

Relationships and building trust. From all levels across agencies, I get the most enjoyment when I have a clear understanding of what they need to solve for and can deliver for an agency, its people and its clients. This ultimately builds trust in myself as a key partner, and Pinterest as a platform that delivers for their clients.


Lottie Laws

Lottie Laws, Retail Partnerships

What is the biggest misconception about Pinterest?

The type of content that lives and performs best on Pinterest. It is the place people pursue any passion - it could be food travel, home decor, fashion, financial advice and more. Whatever it is, people come to Pinterest to serve ideas for people to discover and take action on. Increasingly, Pinterest is a place for video content, from users, brands and creators - video ads reach people more effectively. This makes Pinterest a rich and helpful experience that lends itself to helping our audience move through the funnel, from inspiration, to decision, to do.

What are you focused on for 2023?

The first is helping Pinterest show up as the number one platform for retailers. This includes working on new ways for our business to provide value and results to retailers through product solutions, services and expertise. Pinterest connects advertisers to consumers with intent and when they’re open to brands. My goal is to help advertisers tap into the unique mindset of our users.

Product go to market (GTM) is another key focus. We have the most exciting slate of new products launching this year than ever before. We just launched Premiere Spotlight and Travel Catalogs and I’m excited to work with advertisers to make the most of these innovative new ad solutions. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days are a combination of helping advertisers maximise their results on Pinterest, coaching and collaborating across the team. I also am heavily involved in project work such as leading a new go to market initiative or retail specific initiative. I also try and prioritise attending events and meet-ups across the retail industry. 


Dave Goodfellow.jpeg

Dave Goodfellow, Measurement 

What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

I lead measurement and support our teams and clients on proving the value of the platform. This requires rapid iteration and innovation as measurement tools and methods adapt quickly these days - whether that’s attribution, Media Mix Modelling, incrementality or others. We are fortunate that Pinterest has a strong test and learn mindset across our clients, and this lends itself to new ideas, tactics and strategies to build on their successes.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Measurement is a cross-functional support across APAC, but we get so much learning, innovation and discussion by connecting with global counterparts. This is all focused on conducting measurement analysis, reporting and strategising new and innovative ways to approach measurement for our clients.

What are you focused on for 2023?

Providing our agency and advertiser partners with the guidance and support they need to measure, analyse and understand the success of their media and marketing. This year that’s more important than ever, as the market and the globe adapt to changing macroeconomic and consumer behaviours. We’re also looking to the future state of media, measurement and effectiveness to understand where we can create the most impact in 2024 and beyond. 

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