Digital 40 Over 40 2017: Yolanda Lam, Head of Agency Partnerships, Pinterest

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Dan KhabieYolanda Lam
Head of Agency Partnerships, Pinterest


Pinterest is ready to take on Facebook, Google, Snap and all other comers for ad dollars. To achieve this goal, the company is busily forming relationships with the ad world. The company’s point person for this activity: Yolanda Lam.

Lam knows a thing or two about making connections. Prior to joining Pinterest, she was SVP, Digital Group Client Director at MediaVest, where she led accounts including Wendy’s and Heineken. She was also integral to the blockbuster 2013 deal between Twitter and Starcom Mediavest Group, which represented hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue and granted SMG special access to the tech platform's data and audience for research purposes. That deal also lead to the creation of Twitter’s Flight School.

Prior to that deal, Lam’s team was responsible for the most-shared tweet of 2011, a Wendy’s post promising to donate 50¢ to kids in foster care for every retweet.

Today, Lam leads a team at the social media giant charged with developing executive-level relationships with agency groups to ensure alignment across Pinterest positioning and products. 

Lam joined Pinterest in 2014, just as the company began launching its first paid ads. Since then Pinterest has taken a data-driven approach to wooing advertisers. Despite Pinterest’s popularity and its obvious commercial implications (pinning is as good as telling advertisers "I want this"), that’s not always an easy job. Pinterest posts can languish for months before they catch fire. So cajoling advertisers means resetting their expectations and asking them to take a longer-term view. Lam’s approach is to listen closely to what advertisers are saying. Promoted Video is one of the fruits of that tactic. Lam’s other efforts include developing an industry presence at CES, Cannes, SWSW and Advertising Week, where attendees are a big focus.

Before MediaVest, Yolanda worked at various blue-chip agencies, including Universal McCann and FCB. She was also an early employee at Google, where she helped the search giant launch its AdSense business.


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