Why Pinterest is the Right Platform for Brands in 2018

In the past few years, the social media landscape has seen a major development: the most successful platforms have marked their territory in terms of user behaviour. Facebook and its star acquisition Instagram have established a 'monopoly' as the places where you project yourself via pictures to your friends and family. Twitter is where you add your voice to wide-reaching conversations.

Pinterest has traced a different path and defines itself as the social network for inspiration. Describing itself as a more of a “discovery” platform than a social platform, it is arguably the place to go for ideas when you plan to redecorate your home or undertake a new baking project. 

Launched in 2010, Pinterest may not be a new platform but as of April 2017, there were 175 million global monthly active usersThe majority of their internal data is confidential and although Pinterest is more popular in the United States, there is a growing number of users elsewhere across the globe. This presents an opportunity for brands looking to widen their paid social plans beyond the usual suspects in the UK. 

Pinterest’s advertising offering essentially boils down to two main placements. Firstly, there’s the Browse placement, which promotes an advertisers video or static pins into the home feed of a user. It targets based on the interests of the user who will see a brand’s pins when scrolling through the pins of users and boards they follow. Secondly, there’s the Discovery placement. This is essentially a paid search offering in that the advertiser bids for their pins to appear in the search results for specified keywords. 

In terms of creative, both placements can run the exact same pins. By choosing between them, an advertiser is able to exert control over the context in which their pins may be seen by the user. As an example, if you were running a campaign for a drink brand and wanted users to find your pin after searching for a particular cocktail, then you might decide to run a Discovery campaign. However, if you are a fashion brand aiming to drive the visibility of a new eye-catching range, then you would run a campaign on the Browse placement and select some relevant audience interests to target

This two-part approach is commendably easy to understand and action. However, there are some limitations that potential advertisers should be aware of. Firstly, though apparently growing, Pinterest just doesn’t have the coverage that players like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter do. Therefore, it is harder to justify making it a core part of an awareness campaign. Additionally, because the platform is such a different user experience to other social platforms, many of its engagement metrics are unique to Pinterest. This means it can be hard to find like-for-like comparisons when looking at how well a Pin has been received when compared to a Facebook post or Tweet. 

However, this latter point is also perhaps Pinterest’s greatest asset and one of the best arguments for considering it in a marketing plan. It’s a common criticism of Facebook that all interactions are ephemeral. A thousand likes on your video ad may tell you that people enjoyed it, but unless you have some kind of strategy in place to measure brand uplift or retarget the video viewers, you won’t know whether it has shifted a customer’s purchase intention. However on Pinterest, one of the key engagements for a user is the ability to save pins and add them to their own boards - an interaction that implies an intention to revisit later. Surely this is the kind of brand interaction that advertisers should value highly. 

Pinterest argues that its users are on the platform because they are open-minded to new ideas, and actively looking for things to factor into their next project. Exactly how this “Pinterest mindset” translates to conversions remains yet to be tested for many advertisers, but we would recommend that brands consider Pinterest a platform worth investing in. 

Get in touch with our Paid Social team if you have any questions on Pinterest.