Social Media

What Pinterest’s Maturation Means for Marketers

June 3, 2014

If you still view Pinterest as a glorified collage tool, think again. With the introduction of new features including advanced search, and new paid offerings, Pinterest is catching up to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. And unlike these more established platforms, it’s not too late for businesses just starting off on Pinterest to make a big impact.

Why is Pinterest important?

New data has surfaced that underscores Pinterest’s growing role in driving web traffic and influencing purchase decisions. Pinterest drives more traffic than YouTube and Google+, second only to Facebook among major platforms. It drives more Internet traffic to publishers than Twitter and Reddit combined, and accounts for 25 percent of retail referral traffic. The site now hosts 30 billion pins, half of which were created in the past six months.

These stats come on the heels of some big rollouts by the platform, including their much talked-about Business API. These new features offer brands a deeper understanding of how pinners use the platform and more insight into which types of content perform best.

Here’s a summary of recent developments that directly impact brands:

  • Guided Search for mobile was launched in April, helping fans discover pins on-the-go. With 75 percent of platform usage occurring on smartphones, this feature makes search more effective and offers greater chances of engagement with pins created by users and businesses. By familiarizing themselves with this new search feature, brands have a chance to learn more about how fans are using the platform and how to optimize for the future [See: “Search Meets Pinterest: The Next Generation of Visual Discovery”].
  • The first “Promoted Pins” advertisements have recently rolled out from a small group of consumer brands, including 360i client PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese. While Facebook and Twitter have worked to seamlessly integrate advertising into their platforms, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins seem to take this one step further. Sponsored pins are so integrated into the Pinterest experience that the company is reporting similar click-through rates across sponsored and organic pins. Keeping with this nonintrusive integration, Pinterest has chosen to roll out Promoted Pins with only a few select businesses. These ads will be served up via user search and category browsing.
  • The most recent advancement comes from Pinterest’s new Business Insights API, which is open to a select group of developers. By partnering with developers, businesses will have access to more accurate data pulled directly from the source. This data can help businesses better understand how their pins and boards are performing, which of their products are receiving the most clicks and improvements in identifying and engaging with influential users.

What Pinterest’s maturation means for marketers

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, whose monetization efforts began long ago, Pinterest has only recently released new features aimed at monetization. Moreover, while Promoted Pins are just being rolled out on the platform, brands are still able to make an impact without needing to rely on paid media. While Facebook’s evolution has led to a necessary push toward paid media, organic content can still attain substantial reach on Pinterest. Brands should continue to follow discoverability best practices such as including keywords in copy so that content is more searchable, and using vertical images to make content more visible in pinners’ busy feeds.

Where will these new features take us in the coming months? Only time will tell. But it is apparent that Pinterest’s visual layout is gaining in user preference and the new advancements to their platform are great assets when it comes to helping brands understand how fans are using the space and how best to connect with them in relevant and authentic ways. Marketers able to use these new features to optimize content and improve their strategy stand to reap major rewards in the future.

Cover photo via Flickr