Visual stimulation seems to be a significant unmet consumer need in 2012. Social network Pinterest offers a unique and simple way to discover and share imagery with connections by organizing preexisting still images into groups.
The network’s popularity and rapid growth demonstrates the power of online images and proves that a social network does not have to be feature rich to garner significant engagement figures.
But new networks mean new distractions for marketers. Successfully connecting with consumers in the social space includes driving awareness, engagement, conversions and sales, and that takes time.
The concept of critical mass – that magical point when a social network blossoms into mainstream awareness – is nothing new to digital marketers. And in 2012 Pinterest is the breakout platform everyone is talking about. Let’s examine the hype and techniques marketers may use to take advantage of the “next big thing.”
2012 Social Media Darling
Pinterest has generated a consistent hum from the online marketing community in recent months. The virtual pin board allows users to quickly categorize and save images they find across the web. The social hook comes from the ability to share your own finds and follow “Boards” created by other people. Popular themes include fashion, recipes and wedding planning. The simple user experience and browser level integration a la Stumble Upon has fueled rapid growth.
Worldwide Interest Over Time: Pinterest
Rising search volume from Google Insights shows no signs of abating. And the proof is in the data. According to a Shareaholic study, Pinterest drives 3.6% of their total referral traffic – that’s more than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. Hitwise notes total Pinterest visits jumped from 10 million to 17 million since the start of 2012.
ComScore notes Pinterest saw a 55% gain in unique visitors between November and December 2011 while the number of active users is estimated to be around 4 million. And if Google’s data above is to be believed, that number may already be approaching 8 million.
Further data from Google Ad Planner shows nearly 1.5 million users are visiting Pinterest daily, and spending 14+ minutes on the site. Factor in ecommerce integration through features that allow images pinned to the website to be assigned a price and external link and it’s easy to imagine how product-centric brands can reap big rewards.
But the incredible growth of Pinterest has been plagued by copyright concerns over fair use of imagery. Though no definitive cases have emerged, watch for legal issues to arise in the near future.
Breaking Down the Demographics
Pinterest users are overwhelmingly female and in the 25-34 age range.
Pinterest offers a unique visual take on social engagement, and is growing increasingly popular among young female consumers. Will marketers adapt to this new visual culture in digital media and provide value to consumers? That is yet to be determined. For now, have a look at what marketers are doing to stand out on Pinterest. And check out the best social media monitoring tools.