Could Pinterest Be Your Secret Business Weapon?

Pinterest isn’t just about cakes, it can be about customers. Brands are turning to the visual discovery site for a fresh, creative way to interact with customers, and the numbers prove that it’s working.

If your business has been ignoring Pinterest, don’t worry. You can be forgiven for believing  Pinterest’s initial attraction was just a place to look for cake decorating tips or recipes. However, businesses are finding the so-called ‘visual discovery’ site is a great tool for driving brand engagement.
In fact, comparatively Pinterest referrals actually lead to more spending than Facebook referrals. This may be because the people who browse Pinterest are doing so with a different mindset: they are actively engaged with the products they are looking at. They’ve come to the site not just browsing but with an active interest in buying.
‘Entrepreneur’ conducted some research on Pinterest and found:

  • Pinterest has 70 million users, 500,000 of which are businesses.
  • Each pin drives 2 page visits and 6 pageviews.
  • Each pin is worth an average 78 cents in sales.
  • The average sale value of a Pinterest referral is $59.
  • 47% users have bought something online based on a Pinterest recommendation.
  • 83% users say they’d rather follow a brand than a celebrity on Pinterest.

The most popular Pinterest categories are Food & Drink, Hobbies & crafts, Home Decor and Women’s Fashion. One of the simplest ways to encourage word of mouth on Pinterest is to create pin-friendly product photos for people to pin on their inspiration boards, but brands that fall firmly outside the standard product categories are finding Pinterest a fruitful area for marketing as well.
Car manufacturer Honda invited US followers to take part in “Pintermission”, which started by giving $500 to three very active pinners. The deal was this: don’t pin for 24 hours, but instead go outside and experience some of the things you’ve been ‘Pin-ing’ about. As a result, over 4.6 million people saw the resulting “Pintermission” boards, producing over 5000 repins and almost 2000 likes.
“A lesson that can be learned is that creative marketing with Pinterest can become a great news story. With this unique approach, [Honda] was able to garner media attention,” concluded Vincent Ng from Pinterest expert MCNG Marketing. “People may remember a pin that you pinned, but people will certainly remember and discuss a meaningful experience long after it’s all over.”.
Another brand which has incorporated offline activities into its online Pinterest campaign is the Four Seasons hotel chain. “Pin.Pack.Go” works as a trip-planning service, where pinners create a “Pin.Pack.Go” board where the relevant Four Seasons hotel is invited in as a collaborator. The hotel’s local experts will then pin recommendations, filled with insider knowledge about the location.
A different approach is how clothing retailer Uniqlo took to Pinterest with its “Uniqlo HairDo” campaign, based on the fact that hairstyle tutorials are very popular on the platform. Uniqlo created a series of detailed hair tutorials, putting the models in Uniqlo clothes from the latest collection, branding the whole thing in accordance with the company’s philosophy of “style meets utility”.
Pinterest’s rising profile as a fruitful venue for brands to engage with customers has also translated into an increased valuation for the company itself. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that Pinterest is eyeing up a valuation of $11 billion as it seeks new funding. This is more than double the $5 billion valuation of the company last year. According to comScore, Pinterest’s visitor numbers reached a new high of 75.8 million in the US alone in January, up 37% from the same time a year earlier.
Pinterest has been slow to monetise its business model, but in January the site started offering some advertising options after carefully testing it out with selected brands. “People interact with those pins in a lot of the same ways that they interact with Pinterest in general,” Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann told the Wall Street Journal. “They repin things they want to keep for later or they want to share. They have conversations about those objects. It seems there’s an alignment between what people are there to do on Pinterest, which is discover things they care about, and what advertisers’ objectives are, which is to be discovered by people who are interested.”.