Pinterest snags Google exec as its head of ad products

Google_Jonathan Alferness (1)

Jon Alferness, a long-time Googler who most recently served as its vp of product management in travel and shopping, is joining Pinterest as head of ad products.

Alferness starts at Pinterest at the end of August and will be responsible for developing and rolling out the company's global advertising products, including its targeting features and ad formats. He will be reporting to Tim Kendall, Pinterest's President and will be based in the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

“We're excited that Jon has joined Pinterest. He brings significant product experience to the company, including deep e-commerce domain knowledge and expertise across search and display advertising,” said Kendall in a statement. “Jon will make an immediate impact as we continue to roll out more ad solutions that deliver strong, measurable results for our partners.”

Alferness has had a variety of stints during his 13 year-long career at Google, working across its various ad-driven businesses, including search ads, mobile display and AdMob.

Before transitioning to travel and shopping, Alferness was vp of product management of Google’s mobile display ads, where he led product strategy and development for display app promotion and app monetization.

Alferness is the latest executive that Pinterest has nabbed from Google, as it seeks go after both search and e-commerce ad budgets. Last year, the company hired Google’s ex sales vp Jon Kaplan as its head of global sales, followed by Li Fan, Google’s former head of image search to, as its head of engineering.

Joining Alferness is Meredith Guerriero, who has been hired as Pinterest's head of partnerships for the east region, and will be working out of the New York City office. 

Guerriero has had a 15 year-long career in digital media, marketing, and ad tech for 15 years, including Google, where she held various sales roles and also led global strategy and commercialization for its programmatic offerings. Most recently, she built and led Facebook's sales efforts for the healthcare, grocery, politics and advocacy verticals, helping clients out with the go-to-market strategies, and developing solutions to meet their needs.

Pinterest is also beefing up its advertising suite–not only introducing new analytics, targeting and ad features but also making other key hires. In March, it hired Chris Amen-Kroeger, formerly at Yahoo, to lead its ads engineering. And in April, it brought on board Arthur Sevilla from Mondelez, to lead its consumer packaged goods vertical strategy as well as John Gray as its first auto and entertainment vertical strategy lead.

The moves come as Pinterest is reportedly planning to go public this year — and hit $500 million in revenue. It has also introduced a series of new tools for marketers in recent months, including conversion tags, which enables marketers to track existing users from their websites onto Pinterest and better target their ads. Pinterest Lens is another new visual search tool that detects objects in the real world and suggests a list of related items.

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