Pinterest has described itself as “the world’s catalog of ideas”. It allows people all across the world to see, share and build on each other’s ideas. Pins on the platform are also often linked to outside sites. The Shareaholic 2014 Social Media Traffic Referrals Report showed that across 8 social networking platforms, Pinterest was second, only to Facebook, in driving traffic to other sites (Wong, 2015). This makes Pinterest a great site for sending traffic to a blog or business page. So, how does the site work?
Pinterest is a social media site which allows users to save “pins” to themed boards. Pins are laid out in thumbnails, usually featuring a short description underneath. Users organize their pins in their own boards, like virtual corkboards. Fellow users can then follow and save (formerly known as pin) other user’s pins to their own boards.
Here is a screenshot of my Pinterest homepage:
Since I follow boards and save pins about vegan food, DIY and home decor, my front page shows me pins in those categories.
Who uses Pinterest?
According to a report by eMarketer, while Pinterest is predominantly women, the company has made it a part of its growth efforts to represent a more even gender split. For now, however, women make up more than 80% of US Pinterest users in 2016 (Pinterest For Marketers: What You Need to Know, 2015).
Pew Research reported that in 2014 Pinterest was most popular among younger online users (Duggan, Ellison, Lampe, Lenhart, Madden, 2015). A study by Ahalogy confirmed that 67% of active pinners were under 40 years old. However, Pew found that in 2014, 27% of adults aged 50-64 were using Pinterest. These are higher numbers for this demographic than some other social sites like Twitter and Instagram. (Duggan, et al., 2015)
While the Pinterest audience tends to be dominated by young to middle aged women, women account for the majority of purchasing decisions. So, unless your product is something you feel to be inherently meant for a male audience, Pinterest may serve as an effective addition to your marketing plan.
Getting Started on Pinterest as a Business
Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing reported that Pinterest has two different paid advertising options, with one being reserved for high-budget brands (Ng, 2015). The other, available to smaller companies, comes with a number of rules and a seemingly difficult/lengthy approval system. This is not to say that paid ads on Pinterest are a bad idea, but being as it’s such a new marketing tool, it may be scary to put your marketing dollars behind it.
My suggestion is to start by trying to use Pinterest as a free marketing tool. Build a company Pinterest account, add some boards and start pinning yourself. By creating a Pinterest account and starting to understand how the system works, you will be able to decide whether Pinterest seems like a good addition to your marketing plan. It may also give you a chance to see if there’s interest in your product on Pinterest. While it’s clear that a lot of people on Pinterest talk about food, something more niche may or may not have a place.
View the infographic of dos and don’ts for a company-owned Pinterest board below, then read on to see an example of a brand using Pinterest the right way.
A great example of a business using Pinterest is Whole Foods. The Whole Foods Market Pinterest account has garnered over 300,000 followers and they’ve shared almost 5,000 pins. Whole Foods is a natural food store, so they theme Pinterest boards around natural recipes and beauty products. Still, they managed to make boards about more than just the products they offer, clustering them around holidays and DIY opportunities. They were able to take a popular Pinterest theme, DIY, and fit it in with their brand values. They also share content from a lot of other Pinterest users, so they’re engaging with the community, not just throwing content at them.
The industry knowledge of Pinterest advertising is constantly growing as new brands branch out into the Pinterest advertising world. I can’t wait to see what happens next. For now, I hope you will take a chance and start building your business’s Pinterest page to see if it’s the right platform for you. Remember, it’s free!
2016 Pinterest Media Consumption Study. Ahalogy. Retrieved from https://www.ahalogy.com/research/
Duggan, M. Ellison, N. Lampe, C. Lenhart, A. Madden, M. (2015). Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/demographics-of-key-social-networking-platforms-2/
How Pinterest Drives Online Commerce. (2015). Shopify. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/infographics/pinterest
Ng, V. (2015). How to Advertise on Pinterest. MCNG Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.mcngmarketing.com/how-to-advertise-on-pinterest/#.V_EXnsm7l5A
Will Pinterest Reach Its Potential in 2015? (2015). EMarketer. Retrieved from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Will-Pinterest-Reach-Its-Potential-2015/1012103
Wong, D. In Q4, Social Media Drove 32.4% of Overall Traffic to Sites [REPORT]. (2015). Shareaholic Reports. Retrieved from https://blog.shareaholic.com/social-media-traffic-trends-01-2015/