Is there value for marketers in Pinterest traffic? A number of recent reports on the social site’s ability to drive traffic and influence sales offer conflicting results.
Pinterest users do seem to convert and spend more when they do. However, Pinterest users are converting at lower rates than through other social channels like Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest’s popularity is undeniable. Earlier this year, TechCrunch reported on exclusive comScore data showing that Pinterest had hit 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors in January. This made it the fastest ever website to surpass the 10 million mark. This week, though, a ReadWriteWeb post suggests it’s a great tool for marketers in a traffic-only revenue model, but no so good for those actually selling online.
Citing a web services company with clients from a variety of industries using Pinterest, RWW cautions readers that the jury isn’t it just yet on Pinterest. Despite 20 to 80 percent increases in referral traffic to client sites in food-related niches, Cathy Tibbles of DWSP Website Services told RWW, “...we have yet to see any measurable increase in sales. One logical conclusion is that Pinterest is drawing a certain crowd - a window-shopping crowd.”
Pinterest Isn’t Driving Sales? Why Blanket Statements Are Dangerous
Then, under the confusing headline “Pinterest Isn’t Responsible for Sales”, RWW went on to reveal that online home goods store Wayfair has reported that Pinterest referrals result in a 65 percent increase in order amount, compared to the average site order.
The truth, as with many things online marketing-related, lies somewhere in the middle. Pinterest clearly is responsible for sales, for some. In February, I interviewed Steve Gerenscer from Steam Driven Media, a company that has been using Pinterest for their clients’ marketing needs almost since its inception.
Gerenscer shared a number of client stories, including one of a fitness site that had 73,000 unique visits from Pinterest in 20 days, 95 percent of which were new visits. The mobile Pinterest site drove an additional 6,324 visits.
He noted that they were converting at about 1 percent, which was lower than their conversion from other channels. The sheer volume more than made up for the lower rate, though, he explained. Gerenscer also shared the average conversion rate from Pinterest traffic to jewelry sites: 4 to 5 percent.
Another marketer, Jeffrey Zwelling from Convertro, writes in VentureBeat that his company has seen social media revenue for e-commerce sites from Pinterest increase from 1.2 percent in Q2 2011 to its present high of 17.4 percent. In fact, Pinterest is quickly gaining on Facebook as a driver of converting traffic, he said.
So what can we learn from these seemingly conflicting reports and a new infographic or 10 on Pinterest marketing each week? There are valuable user insights surfacing that can help marketers convert lookers to buyers.
1. Majority of Pinterest Users Fall In $25-75k Income Range
Though the Modea infographic calls out that 28.1 percent of Pinterest users are well off and bringing in more than $100,000 per year, the majority make between $25,000 and $75,000. Erin Ledbetter from Ignite Social Media Blog highlighted this and a number of other user insights in her recent post, The Marketers Guide to People Who Pin.
The post highlights a number of helpful data points (e.g., only 25 percent of Pinterest users have a bachelor’s degree or higher; Pinterest users are more likely to live in midwest states in the U.S.). However, Ledbetter offers in-depth looks into three types of Pinners: Boomers & Boomerangs, Babies & Bliss, and Families Matter Most. For each, there are tips to identify the type of pinner, what types of pins may interest them, and what their boards may look like.
2. Many Online Shoppers Buy Items They’ve Seen on Image-Sharing Sites; More Do Not
Thirty-two percent of online shoppers have made a purchase after seeing an item on Pinterest or similar image-sharing sites, according to a recent BizRate survey covered in Internet Retailer. However, 37 percent saw something they wanted to buy, but did not.
Why not? There could be as much intelligence in the reasons consumers don’t buy as in studying those who do. How easy is it to navigate the e-commerce site? Where are you losing people in the purchasing process? Any site drawing a substantial amount of traffic from Pinterest but losing out in the closing process should consider an audit of their e-commerce site and shopping cart to test usability.
3. Pinterest Traffic Less Likely to Purchase But Spend 70 Percent More
Earlier in this post, we referenced Wayfair and their success in Pinterest marketing. A comparison of their average order value from a Pinterest referral to those across all non-social channels, including search, is even more impressive. Though less likely to purchase, those who do spend 70 percent more when coming from Pinterest.
“Visual imagery drives inspiration, it’s what makes you want to buy it,” Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah told Mashable. “We sell things [on our sites] in the same way.”
4. Users Most Likely 25-44, Spend More Time on Pinterest Than Facebook or Twitter
An infographic from Modea shares a number of user insights compiled from sources such as comScore and Shareaholic. The top age ranges for Pinterest users are 25-34 and 35-44 percent, with the average user spending 15.8 minutes on the site. This is topped only by YouTube, where users stay onsite 16.4 minutes, on average.
5. Cooking, Home Decorating, Crafting Top User Interests
More than 70 percent of Pinterest users surveyed said cooking inspiration and recipes were their number one interest on the site, according to a March PriceGrabber survey. They set out to learn more about the people who frequent Pinterest by surveying 4,851 U.S. online shoppers in early March 2012.
Home decorating, crafting, fashion, entertainment, and gardening were other top interests for Pinterest users. User demographics skew heavily toward women favoring the site, with only 31.8 percent men.
No Magic Pinterest Formula, Though Experience of Others Can Cut the Learning Curve
As with any other social channel (or Internet marketing channel in general), there is no magic formula for success on Pinterest. However, there are lessons to be learned from those already in the space experimenting.
Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures recently hosted marketers Mat Siltala, Janet Thaeler, Kaila Strong, and yours truly in a Google Hangout to talk Pinterest marketing tips and tricks for success in this most visual platform.