Just a few months ago, Pinterest took a big step forward in its utility for businesses by providing free access to its own suite of analytics tools. I’ve excitedly dug in to understand the new data and am now even more convinced that Pinterest is the first social media channel made for marketing.
After studying the performance data for the ten most active brands across Ahalogy’s (my company’s) network, the possibilities to brands if they commit to the platform are clear.
Insight 1: Viral Nature of Pinterest Turbo-Charges Reach
The first test revealed that the average reach per follower on Pinterest is 12.2 over a 30-day period. That means that, on average, a brand’s followers saw 12.2 of that brand’s pins during this 30-day period.
For comparison: Facebook doesn’t share 30-day reach numbers, but we can calculate a ballpark number by starting with the company’s announcement that the average business reaches 16% of its followers. If we assume that the average business posts one update per day, then the Facebook 30-day reach for a business is 4.8. That gives Pinterest an average monthly reach of 2.5x higher than Facebook.
Reach can be much higher on Pinterest compared to other social media for a few reasons:
- First, the viral nature of Pinterest is unprecedented in the social space. Pinterest is a content discovery and sharing utility in which 80% of pins are re-pins. With other social media, an update mainly stops with your follower base. But followers are only the “seed” of potential reach of Pinterest because of re-pinning. With re-pins, a single pin can bounce around repeatedly on Pinterest over the course of several weeks, multiplying reach (and thus multiplying re-pins, clicks and sales).
- The second difference in Pinterest is the fact that all brand updates have the potential to be “seen”–in contrast to Facebook, which uses EdgeRank to weed out the vast majority of updates from brands. Facebook needs EdgeRank because people would be overwhelmed scrolling through each update in a live stream. But the visual-focused layout of Pinterest allows people to scroll through 5 to 20 updates (i.e., pins) at a time. Irrelevant pins get only microseconds of attention, which “costs” little. But the copy-heavy nature of Facebook is far tougher to sort through one update at a time.
Some wonder when Pinterest will add an EdgeRank-like feature. They worry about the rug pulling out from under them as it did with Facebook – i.e., after racking up millions of followers, EdgeRank made it hard to get through to them. Now, they must pay Facebook to force updates through.
I don’t believe this will happen on Pinterest because Pinterest itself works like EdgeRank due to re-pinning. Since 80% of pins are re-pins, that means most people only see pins that have already been re-pinned by lots of other people! Great content makes it through – and big brands have just as much right to win here. This is one of the many reasons to love Pinterest.
Why Brands Should Care
Reach is the first step in the purchase funnel and the first opportunity to compare Pinterest to other social media spending. Media planners should be excited about the time that “Women, age 25 to 54″ are spending on Pinterest, and now this can be tracked in a media plan alongside any other activities.
Insight 2: Click-Through Is Close To Search Results
The doubters out there will try to turn the reach strength of Pinterest into a negative. With so many images on one page at a time, the attention per pin (and associated click-through rate) must be low, right? Wrong.
Data across 1.1 billion impressions resulted in an average click-through rate of 1.1%. That’s an incredibly strong number that blows away click-through rates of banners ads, which hover around 0.1%. Note that a click-through on Pinterest is a tougher “double click rate” because it takes one click to highlight an image on Pinterest, and a second click to leave for a website.
These numbers again show the superiority of Pinterest as a marketing platform. Put simply: the click-through rate is high because people use Pinterest to find stuff to click. They are in content and product discovery mode when they engage on the platform and will click from your content to your websites. Not surprisingly, this 1.1% click-through rate is very close to the 1% to 3% average organic search click rate on Google. People use both Google and Pinterest when they are looking for something — and the “ad” adds value instead of being a distraction.
Why Brands Should Care
Today, brands are struggling to measure Pinterest. Many have been burned by counting followers or expecting clicks to mean something. But Pinterest, like Google, is driving live leads to the virtual doorstep of your business. If you sell online or can calculate the value of inbound web visitors, Pinterest makes it very easy for you to prove ROI today.
The industry is in its very, very early stages of understanding how Pinterest can impact business, but the data suggests that this platform can be a game changer for brands’ digital/content/social marketing efforts. But, you cannot see the potential by simply “having a presence” with a few pins and carefully crafted “equity boards.” Pinterest requires a critical mass of content and constant attention to detail. It takes commitment, but there’s every indication it will pay off – with better results than other social channels.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.