Is Pinterest Right for Your Brand?

Is Pinterest Right for Your Brand?

When Pinterest launched in March 2010, it was in beta mode—and it took the opportunity to invite users that were, at the time, some of the top bloggers of the moment. This helped to establish Pinterest as a fast-growing, exciting, and blog-driven website, like a social media network on steroids.

Since then, Pinterest has evolved into something much, much different: the platform can be extremely beneficial to the right kind of brands (especially influencers and lifestyle-focused brands), but can feel like a maze to outsiders. It is also a platform that is rife with copyright infringement, fake links, and more. How can a brand navigate the world of Pinterest? In this blog post, we hope to answer those questions and help you decide if Pinterest is worth the effort—or not.

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a fast-growing platform with over 150 million monthly users. Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is a visual platform aimed at young consumers. As a platform, Pinterest is incredibly unique because the vast majority of users are women between the ages of 18 and 35. Compare to platforms like Twitter and Facebook that are a pretty even split both gender- and age-wise.

The key difference between the two is that Instagram is a platform for pictures, and Pinterest is a platform for primarily links and ideas. Understanding the way users interact with Pinterest is essential to maximizing your advertising ROI and your brand reach.

Pinterest has recently had a lot of algorithm updates that fundamentally change the way users discover and share content. Not only that, but Pinterest has been experimenting with new tools for users to discover content. Understanding some of these changes will give you an edge when competing with other Pinterest content creators. This blog will tell you everything from the basics of Pinterest, to the advanced tools that many people don’t even know about.

You can think of Pinterest as a giant library of ideas, or “pins”. A pin is a little piece of content, very similar to an Instagram or Facebook post. A pin is meant to express some sort of idea with a self explanatory image and short caption. These pins usually link back to other websites that explore their idea in depth. Pins are displayed in a cork board sort of layout (hence the name “pin” and the organization of pins on themed “boards”).

Pinterest Example Brand

This pin shows you the end result of an idea and most users can assume this will link to a website that will give you ideas for what to pack in your child’s lunchbox. So, the average user, if this pin interests them, will pin it to a board about food or ideas for their children’s lunches.

How Do People Use It?

Pinterest is the perfect place for people who are looking for inspiration and need somewhere to start. From changing up your style, redecorating your dining room, or just looking for a creative dish to make for dinner, Pinterest has you covered. While you can search directly for new ideas, Pinterest uses a few different ways to bring content to it’s users.
Here’s a breakdown of the different ways users find and interact with content:

  • Home Feed: The home feed is a collection of content tailored for a user. It has new pins from each person, board or topic a user decides to follow, as well as suggested ideas based on searches, existing pins, and boards. There’s a few pieces of promoted content sprinkled in there, but we’ll get to that later.
  • Pinterest Lens: Take a picture of something, and find pins related to your image. This feature is still a little new and wonky, and currently works best for home decor and cooking. A user can can take a picture of the vegetables in front of them and see what relevant recipes come up. They can take a picture of a dining table missing je ne sais quoi (a certain something) and they’ll find similar designs that fit their tastes.
  • Instant Ideas: Pinterest has a new “instant ideas” section to find a variety of ideas suggested by Pinterest. They can click on a circle in the lower right corner of an idea they’re interested in to find similar ideas until they narrow their focus onto one they love. This feature will keep track of the ideas they like and customize their home feed behind the scenes.
  • Making Images a Reality: Pinterest added a feature at the end of 2015 that allows users to tap/click circles on a photo. These circles are attached to items such as art, furniture or pieces of clothing. The pin will then open a little row at the bottom that show different prices and online stores where they can buy the item they want. This lets users pick and choose their favorite products from your content.

The Downside of Pinterest

You might be wondering: with all this visual content, surely copyright issues happen? And frequently, they do. Sometimes, a website doesn’t have permission to use a photo that they use to link to their blog, leading to the pin being reported and taken down. As well, since any user can upload any photo they want, the theft of images is incredibly common, leading to a spiderweb of unsourced photos that lead nowhere.

As well, another common issue is broken links on pins; since most pins link to a blog post or article, users trust those links. However, occasionally, a pin will link to a website that is less than legitimate and often has nothing to do with the original image used in the pin. For users, this can be frustrating and frightening. Pinterest has taken steps in recent months to address these issues, but for brands and business owners, it is something to consider when deciding to use the platform.

Why Does This Matter For My Brand?

Understanding how Pinterest works, and how to create quality content on the platform is essential to Pinterest advertising. Ads take the form of actual content, showing up as “promoted pins”, which users engage with like any other piece of content. The better the content, the better chance your pin will end up being viral, getting shared around and overall maximizing your advertising ROI.

Advertising on Pinterest takes the form of video pins, one tap pins and app pins. Video pins have a moving thumbnail that can be expanded into a full video. One tap pins bring you directly to a website to view a product. App pins generally have an image with a short value proposition followed by a download link.

Pinterest even allows you to select demographics, and pay for your promoted ads on a per-engagement basis to save you money and motivate advertisers to create quality content. If you have an app, stylish product or exciting value proposition you can express through a visual medium, Pinterest is the perfect platform for you.

A great place to start is to use the platform for yourself. Try creating an account, and just have some fun with the platform to get an idea of it’s purpose and how people engage with it.

Is It Right for Every Brand?

Now, it’s time to talk about whether Pinterest is right for every brand—and especially your brand. As we mentioned earlier, Pinterest is a platform primarily used by young women, aged 18 to 35; the most popular pins are related to design, blogging, fashion, food, and beauty.

There are small niches of content on Pinterest, such as music boards and travel ideas. However, there are a few questions to ask yourself before using Pinterest to promote your brand:

  • Are you producing frequent visual content and written content that works on Pinterest?
  • Does your ideal customer include women aged 18-35?
  • Does your content marketing plan include content related to design, food (cooking and baking), make up, beauty, or fashion and style?

As an example, if you’re a business that produces software for restaurants, Pinterest won’t exactly be the right platform; you may get a little leverage, but overwhelmingly, business management and the restaurant industry is a very, very small niche on the platform.

However, if you’re a company that produces artisan vases or bowls, you have an opportunity to thrive if your content marketing includes design tips, lots of great photos of your products in action, and lots of visual content. As well, if you have an app, stylish product, or exciting value proposition that can be expressed through a visual medium, Pinterest is the perfect platform for you.

There are many reasons why Pinterest might not work for your brand, but there are also lots of reasons to give Pinterest a try.
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