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Pinterest Drives Online Sales

Pinterest has only been around for a couple of years and it is still necessary to obtain an invite in order to join the site. It is a Web 2.0 site acting as a virtual pin board that allows users to display images on their page on the site where they can be viewed by other Pinterest members who may then ‘re-pin’ them on their own ‘boards’.

Because Pinterest is an image based social media site it has attracted a lot of marketing interest as it seems like an obvious place to post images of the products that you are trying to sell. The rapid growth in membership on the site as well as the solid engagement statistics are also arousing a lot of interest from business as the first real indications of the value of Pinterest in an online marketing strategy are becoming available.

With a membership of around 11 million1 and growing Pinterest isn’t anywhere near as big as either Facebook or Twitter but between December 2011 and January 2012 the number of unique visitors to Pinterest increased by an amazing 155%2 and it continues to have a growing volume of traffic with a reported 4.3 billion page views on the site3 in March 2012 alone. This has all combined to make Pinterest the third busiest social network online at the moment with users spending more time on the site that users of Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn combined2.

The huge growth of the site has made it more important as a marketing tool and it has begun to eat into the market share of both Facebook and Twitter. While Pinterest’s share of social media revenue for e-commerce sites is now at 17.4% and growing, Facebook has lost a little ground, falling from 86% to just under 60% in the first quarter of 20124. The other statistic that is beginning to emerge is that Pinterest is a first click advertising medium that is leading to greater overall sales than the other social media sites5. Even on a multi-click basis Pinterest is driving more sales than the other social media networks and one of the reasons may be that it is easy for users to post their pins on their Facebook and Twitter pages. In fact over 20% of Facebook users also use Pinterest every day with daily Pinterest users increasing by 145% since the beginning of the year1.

Probably the most important factor in the reason why Pinterest is fast becoming a valuable promotional tool is found in the ways that people are using Pinterest and the sorts of things that they want to pin to their boards. The most popular categories for pins on the site are to do with homes (17.2%), hobbies and crafts (12.4%) and fashion (11.7%) with food coming a near fourth (10.5%)6. With these retail influenced categories being so dominant it really isn’t surprising that Pinterest referrals are 10% more likely to make a purchase and that they spend as much as 10% more than consumers who are referred from the other social media sites7.

The growth of Pinterest doesn’t look like slowing down at any time in the near future and, with a membership composed mostly of middle aged women with higher than average incomes1, it should develop its marketing potential still further as the site develops. The best place for most businesses to start is by including a ‘Pin It’ button on their website to encourage their visitors to share their images on the site. The businesses that get onto Pinterest and begin engaging their customers there will certainly have the edge on their competition as Pinterest’s membership continues to increase in the next few years.






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