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Pinterest Finds its Competitive Edge in the Planning Stage

It can be difficult for marketers to look beyond the vast reach of Facebook, with its 2 billion active users, and find the draw of platforms with smaller user bases. Despite the smaller scale, Pinterest now has 200 million users entering over 2 billion search queries a month, and shows meaningful intent to turn online inspiration into offline action.

Pinterest is more than a search engine and more than a social network – it is truly a discovery engine, allowing the consumer to discover new hobbies, explore new trends and ultimately bring his or her personal style to life.

At this year’s Pinstitute, an annual event held for Pinterest’s top partners, we heard from their marketing and product teams on the latest consumer insights and opportunities for marketers. Here are a few of the highlights.

Pinterest’s Differentiation in the Social Ecosystem

The foundation for how Pinterest differentiates themselves is around the idea of discovery. Although we, at iProspect, feel consumers look to all social platforms as a place to discover content, a majority of social platforms provide ways for users to share out to their networks. Pinterest, on the other hand, is a platform that is focused on personal discovery for the users themselves and is less about sharing with others. It is a place where consumers can forget about crafting a picture-perfect portrayal of themselves and instead feel good about simply being themselves.

As it relates to paid advertising in social media, understanding the uniqueness of both the Pinterest platform as well as the user behavior on the platform, is essential in crafting an effective strategy. On Pinterest, the most impactful content is visual, inspiring, personally relevant to the user and highly actionable. Pins that create a complete vignette surrounding the idea or product allow for users to visualize how to turn an idea from a digital pin into something actionable in real life.

The Launch of the “Taste Graph”

Pinterest has been making monumental strides in building out their technology and making the platform more useful for both users and marketers. Over the last 9 years, their users have been pinning everything from recipes to remodeling ideas to wedding décor, and Pinterest has finally built the technology to aggregate this openly-shared data and turn it into targetable interests via the Taste Graph. It not only provides marketers with more refined targeting capabilities, but it also creates a better user experience by catering organic content to the user’s tastes. The Taste Graph continues to evolve with the users over time, ensuring that targetable interests are current and relevant.

Measuring Success on Pinterest

Throughout this year, Pinterest has rolled out a number of product updates including self-serve advertising, enhanced targeting (first-party and third-party data, act-a-like, taste graph), auto-play video, a Shop the Look feature, related pins, and perhaps most importantly, significant improvements to measurement. These product advancements and enhanced measurement capabilities have helped to position Pinterest amongst top digital advertising channels. 

Planning for Future Action

As 97% of searches on Pinterest do not consist of a brand name, it is evident that users come to the platform in their initial planning stage, prior to making their final purchase decision. Establishing a strong brand presence while users are in this key discovery and decision-making phase is quickly become an important and impactful tactic for many marketers. Jon Kaplan, the VP of Global Partnerships at Pinterest, who spoke at our Client Summit earlier this year, explained that when Pinterest is part of the initial touch with a brand, basket size is 40% higher and the path to purchase is shorter.

One of the key insights shared at Pinstitute: nearly 80% of the value Pinterest brings is in finding new customers. Brands that have seen the most success understand that Pinterest sparks interest and helps to drive demand early. An astonishing 93% of users report that they use Pinterest to plan for future purchases, and 54% report having made a purchase after seeing branded content on the platform. It is no surprise that utilizing Pinterest as part of the acquisition strategy has led to up to 20% in incremental sales for some retailers.

Upfront Investment for Long-Term Return

While the purchase cycle begins on Pinterest, it is quite often that users convert via other channels via retargeting, search or in-store. Pinterest may not be the channel driving last-touch attribution, but its impact at the upper funnel carries throughout the customer’s journey. Though it might not be the platform where marketers can prove immediate ROI, with an upfront investment, Pinterest can help build relationships with users, convert them into new customers and ultimately turn them into your future brand advocates.

For marketers who have been considering investing advertising dollars in Pinterest, the opportunity has never been greater.

Shir Balas, Manager, Paid Social at iProspect US, originally wrote this article.

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