Pinterest: Not Just a Social Network Anymore

When Pinterest emerged five years ago, it was seen as a social scrapbook. But the company has evolved into much more. Pinterest is now the third-largest social network in the world based on referral traffic and daily active users, and with new features and functionality, Pinterest can be an invaluable tool for ecommerce retailers to drive traffic and increase sales.

Part of Pinterest’s unprecedented success can be attributed to the guided search function, which celebrated its one-year anniversary last month. Guided search has helped users view Pinterest as less of a social scrapbook, and more of a discovery tool. “Pinterest really is a portal,” said cofounder Evan Sharp in a recent interview. “We’re an effective search engine for a lot of things in people’s lives.” And the numbers prove it. In the past year, the guided search tool increased user inquiries by 30%.

Pinterest has not confirmed rumors that they will be rolling out a “buy” button, but even without a buy button, Pinterest has already proven to be effective in driving ecommerce traffic and conversions. A recent study found that shoppers from Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than shoppers who arrive from other social sites. Of those purchases, the average amount spent per-order is $80–which is double the average order of customers coming from Facebook.

So how can you take advantage of Pinterest?

1. Create a Pinterest Business Account. Accounts are easy to sign up for and manage. Many ecommerce platforms (such as Shopify) offer simple tools for integrating your online store.

2. Utilize Rich Pins. Rich Pins add extra details to Pins from your website that give users the ability to act directly on pins. For example, pins of products can include price and availability, making it easy to convert Pinterest traffic to site traffic, and ultimately to sales on your store.

A report from Shopify outlines the benefits of Rich Pins:

  • Click-Through Rate – improvement in CTR for many merchants. On average, a 70% increase in traffic to their Shopify store from Pinterest was observerd when Rich Pins were enabled.
  • Discoverability – your product images become eligible for Pinterest’s own curated categories. The “Gifts” feed, for example, only considers Rich Pins for inclusion.
  • Price Notifications – if you reduce the price of your product or run a sale, customers who repinned your products will receive an email from Pinterest notifying them of the price drop and prompting them to buy.

3. Get on the waitlist for Promoted Pins. Promoted Pins look like user-generated submissions,but they are targeted toward certain user groups. Right now Promoted Pins are only available to certain businesses in the U.S. on a cost-per-click basis, but it never hurts to get on the waitlist so you can take advantage of this highly-targeted, actionable advertising opportunity as soon as it is available.

If you want to know more about leveraging Pinterest to drive traffic and sales for your ecommerce site, contact Starkmedia.