February 3, 2015

What Potential Does Pinterest Have as an Advertising Platform?

Pinterest first roared onto the social media scene back in 2011 as it became the new toast of tech, but much of its cachet as the new-kid-on-the-block was soon usurped by several mobile-first social media upstarts like Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. And while Pinterest may not grab the same headlines it used to, the platform has quietly and steadily grown not only its audience but also its business prospects over the past few years.

Last year, Pinterest rolled out its own native advertising unit the Promoted Pin. Very similar in concept to native units on Facebook and Twitter where advertisers can pay for additional impressions of organic content, Promoted Pins are now moving beyond the pilot phase into an expanded roll-out. Despite some recent headlines to the contrary, these ads have some unique potential that advertisers ought to be thinking about.


Delivering Attractive Audiences to Marketers
Pinterest’s popularity among the female demographic has been well documented. And comScore data confirm that not only does a sizeable majority of its monthly audience and engagement comes from females. This demographic composition can be especially valuable to marketers trying to reach audiences such as Females Age 18-49, where Pinterest has 53% overall reach (including 42% reach on mobile alone).

Pinterest % Reach by Platform

And while Pinterest’s current skew towards Females can be valuable for marketers, the platform is also quickly making headway among Males. Over the past year, the male audience has grown 41% and their average time spent on Pinterest tripled to more than 75 minutes per visitor. So while Pinterest may be one of the better platforms for reaching the female audience, new opportunities are emerging to reach their growing and more engaged male audience.

Pinterest Average Minutes per Visitor Y/Y Trend by Gender


From Discovery to Intent: A Unique Application for Social Commerce
Demographics are an important pillar of most brand campaigns, but Pinterest also offers benefits beyond the ability to deliver target reach and frequency. It is a key driver of social commerce by promoting product discovery and capturing intent among consumers.

With Pinterest users so actively engaged with exploring ideas or projects that may lead to purchase, it is not surprising that Pinterest users are among the heaviest online spenders. Their online buying power index of 211 means that they spend more than 2x as much online as the average U.S. internet user. On that metric alone, they are an especially valuable audience.

But it’s not just that Pinterest users tend to spend more online, there are unique aspects of Pinterest as a social commerce channel that suggest its ads might be very effective at driving purchase. When social mentions of brands occur on large-scale social media platforms like Facebook, they tend to activate consumers at the top of the purchase funnel by driving awareness and interest for something they were not otherwise actively considering. At the opposite extreme of the funnel, consumers may find themselves actively in market for a specific purchase and they consult socially-driven reviews on sites like Amazon, Yelp or TripAdvisor.

And somewhere between these two extremes lies Pinterest, which activates the consumer in the middle to lower portion of the funnel – when they may be particularly receptive to purchase and looking for ideas or inspiration. Perhaps they are planning for a wedding or designing a nursery. Maybe they want to take on a DIY project at home or bake something fun. Users’ ability to bookmark content relevant to their projects is a way of capturing intent, information the platform can then leverage to help marketers guide the consumer down the funnel toward conversion. This application makes Pinterest ads potentially much more valuable on a per impression basis.

Ultimately marketers will need to test their ads on the platform to see how well they can reach their target and drive purchase behavior, but at this moment it is a platform worth exploring for its advertising potential.

Tags: Demographics, Pinterest