Pinterest For Retail: Tools for Success
Launched in March of 2010, Pinterest began as a simple online pinboard, a discovery platform, where users could save and share images, organized by board, and follow other users’ boards if they had similar tastes. Today, Pinterest is among the top social media platforms, boasting over 250 million monthly users, with 80% accessing the platform from its mobile app.
Over the last eight years, Pinterest has held true to its roots, still revolving around users’ boards, but continuously evolves its user experience with new features aimed at improving the search and discovery capabilities of the platform. For advertisers, ad-based monetization efforts, which began in 2014, serve as a way for brands to get in front of active planners, seeking ideas about a range of topics, from easy meal-planning or home renovation to top seasonal trends.
With online retail purchases seeing a 16% increase in 2017 (the highest growth rate since 2011), retailers and brands need to find ways to follow this shift in consumer behavior and meet buyers where they are. Social platforms, including Pinterest, are taking steps to help connect the two.
Based on a recent Pinterest survey, over 90% of weekly Pinners use the platform to inform their purchase decisions, with inspirational imagery and personalized recommendations helping to move them down-funnel from consideration to conversion. Utilizing visual technology, Pinterest has changed the way that users find and interact with this information, leaning in towards users’ existing buying habits, in an effort to better mimic a brick-and-mortar shopping experience.
By having the right content on the platform, brands can work to ensure they are positioning themselves to be in front of customers as they begin their discovery journey.
At the time of its debut in early 2017, Pinterest Lens wanted to see the world the way we do. Within the Pinterest app, users can access their phone’s camera to tap into the world of visual search. Take a picture of a pair of shoes and see similar styles, or point the Lens at a pomegranate at the grocery and find related recipes.
In November of that same year, Pinterest introduced Lens Your Look, which allows users to turn their phone into their personal stylist. By combining a photo of a piece of clothing with a text search, Pinterest can curate more relevant recommendations. For example, provide an image of your favorite flannel shirt with a search for “winter outfit ideas”, and the platform will help to find outfits that go with your staple item.
With the Lens technology only available on mobile, browser extensions on Chrome and Firefox have a similar feature. Once installed, users can hover over images within their web browser and see a save option and a magnifying glass. By selecting the magnifying glass, they can discover related ideas on Pinterest based on a visual search of that image. If desired, users can even limit their search to specific items within the image, such as a pair of sunglasses.
With Shop the Look pins, which are available across both web and mobile, users can see a curated list of items featured within a Pin, making it even easier to find and purchase products. Each white dot highlights one of the featured items, and users can click through to that specific product page on the brand’s site.
To leverage Shop the Look Pins, brands must work with one of Pinterest’s third-party Marketing Partners, who power the shopping experience within the platform.
Launched in 2015, Buyable Pins allow users to buy a brand’s products without ever leaving Pinterest. After being approved as a merchant, Pins that link back to a specific product page will appear with an “Add to Bag” button, as long as all qualifications are met. Buyable Pins can be found on a brand’s profile and are also discoverable in the home feed, category feeds, search results, and on the boards of other users who have saved the Buyable Pin.
Products can be bought directly within the Pinterest platform, with users paying by Apple Pay or credit card, with order details and payment information sent to the merchant for processing. For additional exposure, Buyable Pins can be promoted just like standard Pins.
While Pinners are driven by aspirational content and recommendations, it is not just other users that they want to hear from. 78% of those surveyed said they want to see Pins from brands, as it makes it easier to find new products, and 66% buy something after seeing a brand’s Pin. While there are plenty of organic options and potential to be discovered through a user’s search activity, advertising on Pinterest can help to expand their reach to ensure your brand gets in front of a receptive audience.
From the user-experience side of things, advertisements on the platform are non-intrusive as paid media fits seamlessly within the native experience. Interest, keyword, and audience-based targeting lends itself to that experience, providing brands with a myriad of ways to reach those who will find their content most relevant.
Brands can find value in advertising, tracking campaign metrics in Pinterest’s Ads Manager and attribute online sales through the platform’s own pixel. Goals can range from brand awareness to website traffic, and paired with a full suite of ad formats, brands can find ways to reach users throughout the funnel.
The most standard form of advertising onthe platform is the Promoted Pin. Advertisers can pay to boost any existing Pin, where they will show up on a users’ home feed, search results, or among related pins. Living in perpetuity, these pins offer the possibility of earned media as they are continually shared and viewed within the platform, even after the campaign has ended.
One-tap promoted pins allow users to take action more quickly on ideas they are interested in — bypassing the close-up view within the platform and instead, taking users direct to site. For advertisers, this means increases in traffic tied to an efficient cost-per-click.
The ability to add video Pins directly to Pinterest is reserved solely for advertisers, and with the introduction of auto-play video last year, it creates the opportunity for brands to showcase eye-catching content in a mostly static feed. Users can tap to expand the Pin and activate sound.
Similar to Promoted Pins, Promoted Videos can be found in the home feed, search results, and “More Like This” section at the bottom of every Pin closeup. With two formats, brands can use a standard-width placement, fitting natively within the feed to generate an efficient cost-per-view, or Pinterest’s new max-width placement, spanning across both columns, creating a high-impact unit with strong engagement.
Launched in 2017, Pinterest Shopping Ads allow advertisers to transform their existing product feed into visual, actionable ads at scale. This format will be recognized by those familiar with search-based product listing ads, and they operate similarly. Ideal for both customer acquisition and faster conversion, Pinterest selects items from advertisers’ feeds based on a user’s query to provide them with items most relevant to their search.
While originally only available to a couple dozen retailers, Pinterest recently expanded the program to hundreds of business. Campaigns can be set-up through an advertiser’s Pinterest account team or selected Pinterest Marketing Partners.
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Pinterest provides a myriad of ad types and options for advertisers to choose from so get out there and start Pinning!