Hold on to your Pinterest…

I’ve had a Pinterest account for a few months now, I logged in, saw how it worked, determined it’s value for me and headed off.  It wasn’t for me (I have other tools to get the same effect).  I’ve checked back in every so often as I get emailed when someone follows the three boards I made (one of which has nothing on it).  This alone got me thinking about its potential and user base way before everyone lost their minds about it recently.  Now don’t get me wrong, I, like the next man (or not as the case may be…) am not against pinning or Pinterest, but the facts remain clear and context remains everything :

  • The women to men ratio on the site is currently 9:1 (yet in the UK 56% are male per Google)
  • In January it had 11.7m unique users ww (comScore)… 200,000 are from the UK  (1.9m visits per Hitwise – not unique users just total visitors).
  • 25-34 year olds make up 42% of the users in the UK, the largest group in the US is 35-44 and only grabs 24% share.
  • 29% of the UK vs 3% of the US of Pinterest users in the top income bracket (educationally the breakdown is very similar across both territories).
  • The average UK user spends 14 minutes 38 seconds on the site (Hitwise)

(Mixing data sources aside) Pinterest is one of those sites that so perfectly sums up (in my opinion at least) why a media agency is the best place to “own” (to use a hideously misused term/position) social media.  Knowing the core demographic data behind Pinterest is step one (and key) to knowing whether your firm should be utilising it now, later or ever.  Step two is knowing why they are there.

Pinterest traffic growth has been impressive (to say the least) but not entirely due to the “pure awesomeness” people are crowning it with. Simple sign-up and sign-in (using Facebook and Twitter logins) along with (some say) spammy email practices have all aided Pinterests’ growth.  The fact remains (gulp) people have curated information for decades.  It’s pretty, it’s simple, it does what it says on the tin.

Step three is then figuring out whether your brand fits or can fit in with steps one and two in a meaningful way from both a user and business perspective. There will clearly be an eCommerce play but right now it’s a somewhat murky area.

So, on to the recommendation bit, should you use Pinterest? Personally speaking, absolutely.  Get to know the platform, see how it works and probably buy some stuff along the way(!). The business answer is it’s just too early to tell unless you are experimenting.  Remember, you can always find reasons to be on such a site but as (full disclosure friend/colleague) Darika Ahrens rightly points out experimentation costs money and not everyone has that luxury.

There are some interesting examples popping up but apart from PR value and immediate content sourcing opportunities it’s too early to tell if these will drive the massive amounts of traffic (and hopefully sales) on a long term basis.  There is also a tiny thing called Facebook Timeline for brands that has yet to be factored in as it does not exist yet (although it is coming).

For me, Pinterest becomes another example of the question marketers increasingly must answer : “Do you want to sell a thousand or shout at a million?”.  In the recession reality we live in, you have to ask two questions, 1) Am I/Are we doing everything else so superbly well I can afford to even further split resource? 2) Am I clear on how I am going to measure this to show a business objective has been achieved?

I doubt many can answer the affirmative to both, if either, of the above. So grab a pin, pop it in Pinterest and watch, for now.