The numbers don’t stop with comScore – Hitwise recently reported that Pinterest is now one of the top 30 most visited websites, and reportedly now drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.
CNN Fortune and comScore produced the chart below – a chart which shows Pinterest acquiring users at a breakneck pace. With user adoption speed almost doubling the early days of Facebook, brands and marketers should definitely be taking Pinterest seriously.
So what exactly is Pinterest? It’s a social network that basically acts like a digital pinboard, allowing users to save and share images. With a userbase that’s reportedly up to 80% female, first-time visitors to the site are likely to see a homepage populated by images of fashion, fitness, and food.
This makes Pinterest unique from a social-growth perspective. Unlike other social destinations, that usually get started with early adopters on the east and west coast, Pinterest found a passionate audience within the “Midwestern scrapbooking set.”
Pinterest is also looking great from a monetization perspective. While other social sites like Facebook are primarily based on people and relationships, Pinterest is geared more strongly towards products and purchases. Some are calling this a shift in the social paradigm – from a “social graph” to an “interest graph.”
Another interesting factor – according to Radha Subramanyam, senior vice president for media analytics at Nielsen, “The Pinterest audience is the same audience that shops online, which is very unique.” With deep engagement, product focus, and a valuable demographic, Pinterest is shaping up to be a very valuable marketing opportunity.
Who’s on Pinterest?
Big brands can be slow to move on social – and Pinterest is new enough to still be flying under the radar. But early adopters of Pinterest marketing have already seen some exciting successes. Etsy was an early success story, recently announcing that Pinterest was their number 1 traffic driver.
Etsy isn’t alone – fashion brand Kate Spade New York has picked up more than 30,000 Pinterest followers, and has defined a Pinterest strategy of sharing non-commercial content, and always being available to respond to questions and comments.
Other top Pinterest brands include The Perfect Palette, (with an Amazing 250,000 followers), Real Simple, The Beauty Department, and HGTV. And while there’s an obvious theme of women-focused brands, some of the biggest brands in the world – like McDonald’s and Coca Cola – are also starting to setup on Pinterest.
Pinterest Marketing Success Stories
While many brands are simply establishing a presence on Pinterest, some are actively launching campaigns – and seeing amazing success.
Smoyz, a creative agency based in Israel, developed an impressive campaign for Kotex. Called “Women’s Inspiration Day”, the campaign targeted 50 influential Pinterest users, and sent each a virtual gift. If the user pinned the gift, she got an actual gift in the mail. The results? Not only did 100% of the targeted users post about their gifts on Pinterest, but across Facebook and Twitter, more than 2,200 total interactions almost 700,000 total impressions were generated.
- Peugeot’s Panama Puzzle. A contest that awarded users for putting together a puzzle, which required users to visit the brand’s website or Facebook page.
- Guess’s “Color Me Inspired”. Guess challenged users to create Pinterest boards based on new spring colors like “Noir Teal” and “Red Hot Overdue.”
- British Midland International’s “Pinterest Lottery”. For this contest, users who pinned images of travel destinations were randomly selected and awarded a chance to win free flights.
The reality is – these campaigns are small, but they seem to be indications of something bigger coming soon. With incredible growth and great monetization potential, every digital marketer should at least be aware of Pinterest – and marketers targeting a mostly female audience should be racing to build a Pinterest strategy.
From a higher level, the runaway growth of yet another social network speaks to the broader landscape of digital marketing. Things change fast, and early-adopting, fast-moving brands have more opportunity than ever to capitalize on emerging opportunities.