Pinterest Drives More Sales than Facebook

There’s no question that Pinterest is a hot topic with brands and marketers today. Time and time again, I hear stories about brands asking about Pinterest, but being skeptical about its ROI and future success as a social media tool. In truth, the buzz behind Pinterest has somewhat died since the beginning of the year, when the new social network was at the height of its media peak. In March, user numbers and page views soared, making it one of the highest used social media networks, behind the three giants: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This buzz has been replaced by a heightened skepticism around Facebook, and it has become a time of turmoil around social media marketing as marketers try to figure out if social media is showing results. Even as questions arise, brand usage has increased. Unfortunately, many have failed after neglecting to have a strong strategy and instead thinking they can simply post every now again on their social media profiles, run some advertising dollars behind it, and hope for the best.

As brands begin to question the usage of social media (and lack of strategies behind it), research companies have begun taking deep studies into the effectiveness of this new form of marketing. Recently, Bizrate Insights conducted a study of nearly 7,500 online shoppers mid-August after purchasing items within the Bizrate network, which includes over 5,200 retailers in the US and Canada. The study found several interesting statistics about end sales as a result from Pinterest and Facebook.

Though Facebook has received seemingly endless media coverage, the study discovered that Pinterest is actually better at driving sales than Facebook. Nearly 70% of respondents said that Pinterest gives them an inspiration of what to buy, versus a much lower statistic of 17% who said they get inspiration for purchases from Facebook. 43% of respondents also said they use Pinterest to connect with brands with which they identify with, versus 24% who use Facebook to connect with brands. Additionally, 39% of respondents say they use Pinterest to get special offers from brands, versus 26% who use Facebook to get special offers from brands.

The results are very interesting and somewhat surprising. Pinterest is a very new social media network, and quite frankly, not many brands have begun using the tool to promote their products, It was somewhat unexpected to see the large number of users that want to be on Pinterest to connect with brands. However, the statistics support  Pinterest’s image focus and use as an inspiration platform. Facebook is about connecting with friends and family. Pinterest is about getting inspiration for home projects, cooking, clothing, workouts, and the like. It makes sense then for users to be on the tool to get useful information about products, brands, and services that could help them achieve what they see in pictures on Pinterest.

The results of the study give new support to brands who are already embracing Pinterest, and should give brands who are questioning its use comfort of mind to test it out. As a business, when determining whether or not to use Pinterest in your marketing efforts, take a look at your brand, how Pinterest works, and who is using the tool. Though Pinterest has proved to be effective at influencing consumer purchase decisions, you still should make sure being on the tool makes sense for your brand. Home goods products will likely see  success on Pinterest, whereas auto repair shops probably won’t. Take a look at what companies currently are on Pinterest, such as Nordstrom, Martha Stewart, and Serta mattresses. As with any marketing tactic, ensure you have a good strategy before even considering implementation.Are your consumers there? What content will you share? Who will you share it with? How will you promote yourself on the site? Finally, as always, include analytics to your strategy so you can make sure Pinterest is actually driving sales. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Pinerly can help you evaluate your ROI on the tool, and give you smart stats to present to upper management to further gain support for your new marketing efforts.

I’m excited to see how brands begin using Pinterest in the future, and cannot wait to one day be back in the social media world and help brands make smart and innovative uses of this new form of marketing!

- Bryan Nagy

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