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There’s no doubt that Pinterest has grown incredibly quickly, if not too quickly some may argue. The site, which is nearly the second most popular social media site in the United States and most recently had $200m poured into the business.
The backstory for Pinterest is that the image-based, social information sharing network has been one of the fastest-growing consumer sites, with comScore at one point last year noting a 4,000% rise in Pinterest traffic (Tumbler up 168%, Facebook up 4%).
After using Pinterest from the beginning there have always been several features that could’ve improved the usability for everyone.
All the statistics have proved Pinterest to be a leading site with conversion rates been much higher than it’s counterpart Facebook but there’s still room for some significant changes to be made, which will ultimately improve the experience for marketers.
On the business side in particular, it has become a haven for brands because it gives them a platform for engaging with consumers that doesn’t bear the stigma of ads or other invasive marketing techniques.
However, there’s no doubt that if Pinterest gave brands the options of ‘featured boards’ it’d help brands drive awareness to specific boards. Whether it be a new product launch, competition or event it’d help us marketers to drive quality traffic to applicable boards.
Obviously, you can currently organise boards but sometimes the everyday consumer prefers a ‘call to action’. Whether these ‘featured boards’ become a paid option or otherwise known as promoted boards only time could tell.
Public brand boards
Sometimes one of the best ways to gain customer feedback is to actually ask the customer themselves. One issue currently with Pinterest is that users can’t pin directly to a brands board without given authorisation.
I know what you’re thinking… users will end up pinning any old images but if Pinterest could create a moderation section this would us drive even more loyalty.
Public boards would also give brands another method to create competitions. Brands will then be able to gain a deeper understanding to what their consumers like to pin etc.
One of the biggest categories on Pinterest is fashion and one minor issue is the current categories of boards for brands. For clothing brands Pinterest only gives you the option to place a board in either ‘Men’s Fashion’ or ‘Women’s Fashion’.
Obviously, one of the main problems here is that if your collection is both men’s and women’s it causes some issues. Some brands are able to get around this, for example Topshop and Topman as both brands have only products for one gender.
Other brands such as Burberry has simply created boards divided both Menswear and Womenswear, but surely some brands would like the option of both?
Pinterest may not want to dilute itself across several categories but there’s some significant optimization that could be undertaken.
Pinterest still has yet to develop an API and offer marketers extras leaving us figuring out how to capitalise on the site.
It doesn’t offer any kind of automated code for developers to embed its data. Neither stats about pins, nor the pinned content itself. But it sounds like the company is stirring here, too.
Offering an API for a fee to select companies would certainly give Pinterest more control over how the data is used, and also would give it a cut on any potential revenues that get generated as a result.
After a certain time period boards will become redundant, however brands will be reluctant to lose the images, data & repins.
Sometimes two boards will fall into a similar category therefore it seems appropriate for two boards to be able to merge and simply rename to reflect the change. Brands can only do this by simply moving an image one by one into the old/new board, which is obviously extremely time consuming if you have several images.
Another way to get around this is simply hiding the board, however this is only possible for new boards created after the ‘hidden boards’ feature was introduced.
One argument would be to simply delete the boards as consumers get fed up of older imagery but from a business perspective it’d be essential to keep them for reference purposes.
There are some pretty big limitations to the current Pinterest analytics system and it almost feels they’ve launched the analytics without even thinking about what the everyday marketer needs.
The current analytics, which allow us to track metrics such as how many people have pinned items from their sites, how many people saw those pins and how many people clicked through from Pinterest to the brand’s site are still very basic.
The obvious limitation is Pinterest does not integrate with website revenue analytics or website categories, and hence does not report on which pins are driving more revenue or if the time-on-site from traffic is going up or down.
Another problem is for brands with several sites (in particular global ecommerce) as each account on Pinterest can only use the service with one designated site. Meaning that if you have multiple sites, you need to create multiple accounts to track analytics.
Pinterest analytics also can’t and won’t track any pins or views given to copies of your photos found on other sites. What this means is that, regardless of whether you simply want to track your content or perform some level of copyright enforcement, the analytics provided only tell, likely, a small part of the story.
Ultimately there's a good chance your content has a much wider audience on Pinterest than the analytics say. The problem is that, without watermarking, it’s an audience that can’t find its way back to you.
Another missing picture is the widespread copyright infringement but we’ll leave to a separate blog post.
Will it change?
The site which launched in March 2010 is still very young but with marketers and consumers getting even more demanding Pinterest needs to keep up.
It has already rolled out a new redesign this year (if you noticed that is), but let’s hope the $200m investment is something that will drive even more significant changes to the site.
It’s already proven to be a huge hit in the United States and some extra tweaks would no doubt help it drive even more sign ups through Europe.