What is Pinterest

For those of you who have not yet been on Pinterest,  it is a pinboard style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme based image collections such as hobbies and events.

According to Pinterest their mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting” via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing”. Pinterest also allows its users to share ‘pins’ on both Twitter and Facebook.

Marketers sit up and look

There were two key elements that made me sit up and look at Pinterest further:

  • Cool design

The sticky note size blocks that users organize into their pin boards almost fill the entire browser screen. The presentation of information also doesn’t rely on linear representation of content and reverse chronology like Twitter and Facebook.

Great for Branding; much more fun and engaging in my opinion – perfect for a relevant brand.

  • Phenomenal Growth

Pinterest has shocked the social media world by growing to one of the most popular social sharing platforms in a very short period of time.

As of January 2012, Pinterest had received just under 12 million unique visits. Pinterest receives almost 1.5 million visitors each day.

Increased SEO value

Rapid growth and pinning content that links back to your website, blog, or favourite social site means that more traffic can be driven to your brand. Linking is one of the key factors search engines like Google take into consideration.

As well as engaging consumers cost effectively it is also a good way to impact online purchase ,particularly impulse purchase.

Data from Monetate shows that referral traffic from Pinterest to the websites of five US based specialty apparel retailers jumped 389% from July-December 2011.

Two of the largest online sellers Amazon and e bay have also just added Pinterest buttons to product pages so users can share product images and page links directly. People are already posting items they already have or wish for.

Increased usage of Pinterest and its growth as a useful/’trusted’ source of information will play a huge role in increasing visibility and traffic through search engines. 

Brand Campaign examples

The following example for US brand Orek vacuum cleaners is a great example of how its Pinterest page has been used to turn a boring ‘industrial’ style product into something that engages consumers and gets them to react, share, and hopefully convert to buyers.

The first Pinterest campaign in the world – did they miss an opportunity?

Kotex have recently taken their Pinterest presence to the next level by recently launching what they called to be the ‘first Pinterest campaign in the world’.

To build the campaign, which corresponds with the brand’s Women’s Inspiration Day initiative, Kotex used creative agency Smoyz to search Pinterest and find 50 inspiring women.

The women’s Pinterest boards were examined to find what inspires them then the campaign team created care packages that served as real-life versions of the pinboards, filled with objects that mimicked those that had been previously pinned.

In order to receive the care package, the women had to re-pin Kotex’s invitation. After that, the care packages were delivered to each woman’s home.

Nearly all of the women who received care packages posted about them on a number of social networks, including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Smoyz provided stats as follows:

50 care packages sent

2,284 interactions

694,853 impressions

By only creating 50 boxes I am assuming that Kotex ran this as a test campaign. However I am not sure that the time, hassle and agency cost involved have delivered such a great ROI.

An innovative campaign which has created some buzz but it seems that has mainly be centered around ‘the world’s first message’.

Sorry Kotex but this should have had a call to action to make it more effective A wasted opportunity?

Global Usage of Pinterest

However digging further into global usage of Pinterest tells a rather different story.

The graphic below describes Pinterest’s popularity across key consumer markets showing % of users and page views.

The key takeout for me here is Pinterest is still very US focused and UK and India as the next largest users are tiny in comparison.

US v UK Usage

Being based in the UK I was interested to see if there were any differences in user demographics.

The differences are quite striking:

In the US users are predominantly female (83%) with only 3% in a higher income bracket and crafts is a primary area of interest whereas in the UK it is more male (56%) with higher income (29% in higher income bracket) with venture capital as a primary interest area.

See the infographic below for further detail:

Is the UK usage model the future for Pinterest or is this just the typical early adopter profile which will then broaden out to include a more balanced profile?

Important branding tool or passing fad?

From the incredible growth stats and influence on web design per se it would seem that Pinterest is not a passing fad. However for brands operating outside the US  it is still early days and needs to be used and tested as part of an integrated social media campaign.

The key takeouts for me are: track usage and growth in key markets, know your market user profile, watch and learn from US brand campaigns, and be sure to include a call to action in any campaign.