Pinterest: how it works and what it can do for your business

Pinterest: how it works and what it can do for your business

Sarah Cantavalle Published on 12/1/2023

With 463 million active users, Pinterest is the 15th most used social media platform in the world. Its biggest user base is found in the US, followed by Brazil, Mexico and Germany. According to the latest data published by Statista, Pinterest is predominantly used by women between the ages of 18 and 34, who make up 76% of global users.

While its user base is significantly lower than the best-known social networks, Pinterest has a loyal fan base and offers some useful features for businesses, as we’ll explore later when we look at marketing on Pinterest. Brands considering investing in this channel should also keep in mind some other key numbers. The first is the volume of traffic generated by the platform: Pinterest reports over 5 billion searches a month worldwide. The second has to do with the type of searches made: 97% of these do not contain brand names. This means that Pinterest users are highly brand agnostic when it comes to product purchases.

Copyright: Source: Hootsuite 2022 Digital Trend Report

Pinterest: what it is and how it works

Pinterest is a visual search engine that allows users (known as “Pinners”) to find ideas and inspiration for all sorts of things. Among the most popular themes are food, DIY, interior design, fashion and cosmetics.

Using virtual pinboards, users can post digital pins containing images, videos and items related to a given theme. Pinboards can be public or private, in other words, set to only be seen by users who have been invited by the person who created them.

All pins can appear in users’ feeds (depending on their recent searches) and can be searched for using key words on the platform. What’s more, the Lens function lets you search based on an image taken with your phone or saved on your device.

By clicking on the “Save” button, you can save the most interesting pins to your own pinboard, while the icon with the arrow pointing upwards enables you to share content with your contacts.

Pin categories

As we touched on earlier, pins allow users to save their favourite content. There are various types:

  1. Image pins: these can be created by uploading a photo from your PC or mobile device, or an image found online with a link to the original website.
  2. Video pins: users can share one or more videos and images with a single pin, as well as add text, music or other interactive elements.
  3. Rich pins: these are automatically synchronised with your account and show detailed information on things like recipes, blog posts and products.
  4. Collection pins: when a user clicks on one of these, they can view and buy similar items in the same collection.
  5. Product pins: some product pins take you to the seller’s website, while others let you buy directly through the platform. Using the “Try On” function (available in select countries only), you can virtually try on products presented on Pinterest using the Lens tool.

What is Pinterest best used for?

This platform is mainly used to find suggestions and recommendations for personal and professional projects. Among the most popular topics are creative ideas for DIY, fashion and beauty, home, health and travel. According to a Nielsen study on customer journeys in 2019/2020, 85% of Pinterest users use the platform to start a project and 80% of weekly users have discovered a new brand or product on the platform. And there’s more: a study commissioned by Pinterest from Dynata revealed that the people who use this channel have an 85% bigger basket value than users of other social media and, on average, spend twice as much.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Pinterest for businesses

Thanks to its popularity in certain spaces, Pinterest offers opportunities to brands that want to embark upon a visual content marketing strategy in specific customer segments. Because it’s still a relatively niche platform, it enables them to run effective campaigns for less which, if well targeted, can give excellent results in terms of brand awareness, traffic and conversions. A further advantage is that, because of Pinners’ propensity to purchase – according to the latest data, 70% of users use the app to research products and make purchase decisions – the app makes the marketing department’s job easier.

Time to take a look at some of the most popular tools for promoting brands on this channel.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality tools (like Try On for Home Decor) let users virtually try cosmetics, clothes, furniture and furnishings, helping them to make decisions and purchase products.

Built around Pinterest’s Lens feature, Try On for Home Decor is an augmented reality tool that lets you virtually put items in your house before buying them. Copyright:

Integration with e-commerce sites

Rich pins allow you to post images and information about recipes, products or blog posts from your company website, and automatically sync any changes. Furthermore, this extra information means that pins can show up in searches on the platform for a number of different keywords.

Influencer marketing campaigns

Features dedicated to content creators enable you to easily establish partnerships with brands by promoting their products through pins or paid product placements. Product tags, brand names and affiliate links can be added directly to pins.

Example of rich pin. Copyright:

Advertising campaign targeting

Targeting tools help businesses to reach their ideal audience based on various demographic criteria and/or specific interests, thereby optimising their marketing budget. According to data released by the platform, return on ad spend in the retail sector on Pinterest is double that of other social media.

In addition, because it’s a very vertical social network, Pinterest is a great place for discovering new trends and fashions, and understanding what people are looking for and sharing. And all this before it becomes apparent on other platforms: statistics provided by Pinterest show trends take off 20% more quickly in their first six months on Pinterest than on other social channels. This means that brands that are able to identify and invest in emerging trends can stay one step ahead of the competition, and launch new initiatives, promotions and products designed to satisfy the people’s new tastes and interests. The platform facilitates this type of analysis by publishing an annual report on the biggest and best emerging trends, Pinterest Predicts. It provides a series of valuable insights broken down by type of user and product and based on global searches made using the search engine.

As we’ve seen, Pinterest is a useful channel for B2C brands who want to reach a predominantly female target audience in a number of spaces. With an effective visual content marketing strategy, you can achieve outstanding results both in terms of brand awareness and conversions by reaching users at the very moment they’re looking for new products.