From retail giants to the smaller players, Pinterest can be a haven for brands wanting to exploit its ‘visual discovery element’ but it must fend off other platforms looking to take a slice of the crowded digital ad market.
Think ‘Pinterest’ and your mind probably wanders to images of wedding venues, luxury couches and recipe ideas. Although it is a visually powerful platform, it does not traditionally scream ‘post your ad here’ and unlike other social networks it is often considered to be a bit of an outsider.
However, with more than 200 million active ‘pinners’ worldwide using the site on a monthly basis perhaps it is not the social media introvert marketers might think it is.
Pinterest is home to 100 billion pinned images and two billion ‘boards’ (collection of pins). Plus, 130 million visual searches are made on the site every month with most relating to furniture, home décor and style.
In the UK, 4.3 million ‘ideas’ are saved each day and 10 million users are visiting the site monthly. Which is why retailers such as Ikea and Made.com are exploiting the advertising opportunities Pinterest has to offer.
According to the platform, 90% of weekly active pinners say Pinterest helps them decide what to purchase and 70% use the site to find new products.
Users also associate Pinterest with taking action. For instance, 98% of pinners report trying new things they find on Pinterest, compared to 71% across other social media platforms.
“We would also like to have a better insight into what users are looking for in Pinterest, so we can continue to create more relevant and useful content.” Tania Douglas, Ikea
But while it is not difficult to see why the platform might provide a major opportunity for some, there are challenges for others.
Brands need to think very hard about the imagery they use, plus there are external factors. Google still runs the web’s biggest image search library and could easily encroach on Pinterest’s model, while the company will also need to convince brands of its point of differentiation if it is to compete with Google and Instagram for ad dollars, as well as others looking to take a slice of the crowded digital ad market.
What’s in it for retailers?
Pinterest is mainly useful for companies that are able to create boards with content that champions both visual appeal and consumer value, not just those in the home décor sector.
The platform is essentially a visual discovery tool and the general consensus from Pinterest is that retailers must be able to honour that if they want to turn the network into their social media marketing arsenal.
There are a number of ways retailers and brands can use Pinterest to boost sales and engage consumers, such as promoted pins, which are regular pins but retailers pay to ensure they are seen by more potential customers. For instance, when businesses pay for these pins they should appear where consumers are more likely to notice them while they are in the middle of actively deciding what to do or buy next. The promoted pins they see are based on their interests and activity on Pinterest.
The platform’s recent expansion into ‘shopping ads’ this year also provides an avenue for advertisers to directly target Pinterest users who have already ‘pinned’ products they like.
Through shopping ads, businesses can turn their products into visual and actionable adverts that are automatically pulled from an existing product feed.
According to Pinterest, shopping ads have enabled Ikea Canada to scale its advertising with a 1.3x lower cost per order, while retailer Lowe’s return on ad spend was 76% better than its initial goal.
Visual platforms play into the hands of retailers such as Made.com, which prides itself on its striking visual appeal and ability to target consumers at a precise moment in their Pinterest journey.
Made.com’s chief commercial officer Annabel Jack says the ad algorithm works by targeting a user at a specific time, showing them a particular picture that might be relevant to images they have just pinned.
“We have to make sure we target people in the right way to ensure they’re getting a genuine experience. Not a lot of brands would be set up to do that, but we have invested a lot into our own images, as well as our customers’ images, and are quite well positioned to do that,” she says.
“The value for us in Pinterest is that it’s a wonderful visual platform, which allows us to build our brand because it’s very connected to what we’re about as a company – which is being the leading brand in Europe for design. It totally feeds into our hands in terms of being able to give the customer a very visual experience.”
Source: Marketing Week