What does Pinterest reveal about marketing?

When you take people’s interests and make them visual and social, you get a success story like Pinterest. But what does that reveal about today’s consumers?

When you take people’s interests and make them visual and social, you get a success story like Pinterest. But what does that reveal about today’s consumers?

At over 12 million unique visitors (and counting, quickly), Pinterest is a force to be reckoned with in social media. In fact, Pinterest broke the social media site speed record for reaching its first 10 million visitors.

For those of you not familiar, Pinterest is basically a photo-sharing site. Users “pin” images on boards, arranged by theme—usually having to do with their interests, an event or hobby. Users share, like or follow others with similar tastes or passions. The most popular categories, according to online usage studies, are travel, cars, food, sports, art and more. (Cats are probably big too—they are everywhere else!)

The site is used predominantly by women—more than 80% globally. From an age point of view, Pinterest mirrors the Internet: Young people use it constantly, older people less so, but growing daily. This also reflects many marketing sectors, where women make the purchasing decision.

Pinterest can be a nice addition to your company’s social media mix, if it suits you. For example, if you sell consumer products, fashion, home décor or other, more visual products, Pinterest makes perfect sense. If you are a financial consultant to public utilities, well, the site may be a tougher sell. (Not that it can’t be done, though!)

What’s more, like Facebook, Pinterest allows businesses to create their own pages. Some even use Pinterest as a sort of virtual storefront or window. According to sources online, visitors driven from Pinterest to a purchase page tend to spend more than their Facebook counterparts. Other studies show that Pinterest drives more sales than other forms of social media, and consumers report spending more time on a brand’s Pinterest site than the company’s website. If you sell visually oriented products, that’s something to really take note of.

Businesses ranging from B2B to B2C use the site to post catalogs, sale items, how-to info, recipes and more.

If you’re thinking of using Pinterest, here are some tips to think about:

  • If you’re going to do it, DO IT. Like any social media, the more you use it, the more you’ll get out of it. Pin often, keep it fresh.
  • Be social. Respond to comments, thank those who repin you and communicate. They call it social media for a reason!
  • Use SEO. Keywords help spread your pins—so add captions and rely on commonly used words to describe things.

To me, all of this reveals an interesting phenomenon in marketing and communicationsmore than ever, we are visually driven. Just look at the explosive use of video online… people, especially younger ones, will often opt to press “play” than read a few paragraphs of text. Infographics are now the visual aid of choice in explaining even the most complex issues. Ads, billboards, online banner ads and more let the visual do the heavy lifting—many times using a more direct, concise and simple headline or copy approach. Vines (six second videos distributed via Twitter) are increasingly staking their sliver-like claims in our lives, too.

Why is the visual approach stronger than ever? I think it’s because people can process something visual faster, and goodness knows, we are all crunched for time. We have too many demands on our days, minutes and seconds, yet we still hunger for information, entertainment and connection. And nothing communicates 1,000 words like a picture.

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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