Benoit Cacheux, head of digital and direct, Haygarth.
Pinterest has been one of the most exciting social media developments of 2012 and definitely deserves a lot of attention. The virtual bulletin board for pinning and sharing interesting, inspiring and creative images has grown faster than any other website in history. The site now boasts around 12m users and growing.
While creating more complexities for marketers as it continues the fragmentation of the digital eco-system, Pinterest is now considered one of the big four, along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it also offers up tremendous opportunities for more effective story-telling and branding through digital activities.
It’s definitely time to consider Pinterest as a fundamental part of any social marketing strategy. Engagement rates are high with specific audiences, initially proving a hit with women in the US who make up over 80% of Pinterest users in America. While in the UK there is a more even split between genders with slightly more male users then female.
Marketers should look at integrating Pinterest into their overall CRM activity and not just view it as an additional channel to increase reach in social media. Businesses that have utilised Pinterest as a key marketing tool have experienced higher referral traffic, higher quality leads, more sharing through Facebook and Twitter, and increases in sales. This is a fascinating space to watch as advanced analytics could help in the future show the impact of Pinterest on increasing loyalty and advocacy.
Pinterest is having an interesting impact on influencing user experience and interaction design. It won the 2012 Webby Awards for the best social media app and People’s Voice Award for best functioning visual design.
The simplicity of its visual approach is inspiring very big companies such as eBay, which has just redesigned its site with a Pinterest-like homepage “feed”. Its design approach takes cues from responsive design and really incorporates the different ways to navigate through content from click to touch.
There’s no doubt that its design approach is very efficient in terms of providing a clear user experience, while providing users access to a wealth of content. Any companies looking to redesign their digital eco-system would benefit from integrating design thinking inspired by Pinterest.
Pinterest is different from other visual merchandising sites in one key way; it is not about the hard sell, rather it is an open sharing of ideas and interests, a direct reflection of individual users personalities. Blatant self-promotion has to take a back seat to develop relationships with consumers by taking the time to look at other people’s content, leaving comments and ‘repinning’.
Gathering a selection of images and pinning them is a very personal thing, repinning is one of the key way brands can build an emotional connection with consumers. Brands can also engage directly with consumers by asking them to suggest images to post on the brand’s Pinterest board and to use a hashtag to make them more searchable.
Brands that rely heavily on exciting imagery to sell, such as fashion, furniture and jewellery brands, should look to integrate Pinterest as part of the purchase journeys they are creating for their consumers. It gives them a great platform to create inspiration and trigger user-generated content while giving them the opportunity to drive qualified traffic to their online stores.
Recent research in the US seems to indicate that Pinterest has more revenue potential than Facebook and is continuing to explore options on how to monetise the site effectively, but is in no rush to get it wrong.
Pinterest is revolutionising how we interact with brands via social media and it is definitely one to watch.