Social sharing goes beyond your friends list. Even ultra-social apps like Pinterest can work wonders for marketers with the right approach.

It’s been described as a ‘guide for brides’ and a ‘pasteboard for patterns’ but Pinterest is going places you never suspected. Which means it may now be a worthwhile addition to your marketing cloud. Not as a tactical ‘everyone else is there’ approach, but as a strategic marketing decision. 

After all, according to Sprout Social, 93% of Pinterest users shopped online in the last nine months. 

Pinning down Pinterest

Pinterest, launched in 2010, is now the 37th most visited site on the web according to Alexa. 

It claims over 72m users, with higher-than-average reported incomes, and now offers ‘rich pins‘, letting marketers insert their content and a buying option into users’ pinboards.

Revenues, which only commenced in 2014, are projected to hit $500m by 2016. 

Why strategic?

It’s a strategic play for four reasons:

1) An educated user base

First, look at who uses the site. 70-85% of the site’s users are female and often in the upper brackets for education and income. In the USA, three times as many women use it as men. Not in preference to other social sites, but simply as an additional option in their online lives.

On average, Pinterest users earn 9% more than non-users. There are very few social applications with an obvious bias towards women. If your business needs to reach women, whether in a professional capacity or as consumers, Pinterest is a good place to start.

John Lewis Pinterest

2) Deep audience engagement

Surprisingly, demographics aren’t the most important factor. Used by people to organise and extend their hobbies, Pinterest users tend to be deeply engaged in the content they create and consume. If you set up a pinboard on hot-air ballooning, marketers can make some excellent guesses about your interests and skills.

With Pinterest’s recent launch of its marketing offering, marketers can listen in on these multimedia conversations and sometimes help them along.

The majority of Pinterest users are in the ‘dream demo’ 18-39. What’s more, you can now include Pinterest as a channel (or channels) within your marketing cloud. There’s no reason to treat it as a standalone app, with all the extra effort that implies.

By making Pinterest part of your overall content strategy, your marketing cloud can automate getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

3) From social shares to search engine

The third, and most important, reason to consider Pinterest in your marketing cloud is the business plan of Pinterest itself.

More and more, users are treating Pinterest as less a collection of scrapbooks and more a community of content to explore, discover, and engage with.

The way content is spread on the site (pinned content from other users being ‘repinnable’ on your own boards, like sharing a news article) is exactly the kind of interaction a savvy marketer can sidle into.

38% of active Pinterest users bought something they saw on the site. If you’re reaching that audience with products and services at the precise moment they’re exploring the subject, your chances of persuading them into the sales funnel leap skyward.

In effect, it’s the same principle that delivers Google its pay-per-click billions: start the sales process right when they’re ready.

4) Going mobile faster than the crowd

Finally, another draw is Pinterest’s format. Visual and skimmable, it’s perfect for mobile. Users on the move now account for 75% of the site’s activity and they’re using it to replace reading magazines, surfing news, even searching Google.

It’s more than possible Pinterest is already an infrastructure site for many people, just as hundreds of millions treat LinkedIn or Facebook as their home on the web. With such a high penetration into the mobile space, Pinterest is ahead of the pack.

From a sharing site to a social media search engine, at 50bn pins and counting, Pinterest deserves consideration as part of your marketing strategy. 

Takeaways:

  • Consumer apps like Pinterest are also marketing channels
  • Pinterest isn’t standalone, it can be part of your marketing cloud
  • The audience of Pinterest is demographically interesting and deeply engaged
  • Pinterest is to marketing what PPC is to advertising!

You can learn even more about engaging customers on social at our two day Festival of Marketing event in November. Book your ticket today and head to the Social stage to learn how to manage brand perception and reach new audiences.