So I’m on my way to work the other morning, minding my own business, skimming newsletters, and catching up on life in general when a Snapchat headline caught my eye — “Snapchat Will Pass Twitter and Pinterest In One Key Metric This Year”.
For some reason it bothered me. It could be because the Ghost has been hogging media headlines a bit much lately. Or it could be because I’m an avid “Pinner”. Either way, I was a bit annoyed.
As soon as I arrived to the office I realized the headline was getting some heavy buzz internally as well. Now I had to read the article and it didn’t necessarily make me feel better about the hype after I did. Why? Because the wildly talked about news was based on ONE research firm’s predictions (eMarketer).
Though there were multiple reputable media outlets headlining the news, they all had the exact same source. It was the equivalent of that one high school rumor ONE girl spread about me that, after it got repeated enough times, it eventually became “true”. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to congratulate Snapchat for their success or for having a killer PR team worth every last cent.
I love eMarketer and Snapchat, but to make such a definitive statement against my beloved Pinterest didn’t feel right, so I set out to find out more and defend its honor.
And here is what I got…
Let’s start with whose milkshake brings all the users to the yard
Yes, the Ghost has a stronghold on Millennials with 61% of their US users belonging to the coveted segment. Pinterest’s Millennials penetration? 40%. Not too shabby. Now, we know Millennials have all of us marketers in a fluster because of their buying power. I get it, but when we stop to think about those whom are really entering HUGE life milestones that trigger massive purchasing behaviors, they are likely not 18–24. They are 25–44-ish and these guys are getting into the workforce, getting promoted, buying houses and cars, getting married, popping out babies, feeding and clothing their annoying teenagers, etc. That’s where a lot of the bling-bling is at and when we cut the data by this age group, Pinterest surpasses Snapchat 44% to 35% in terms of penetration among these profitable consumers.
Pinterest is a Digital Dream Weaver
In my experience, Pinterest is a magical place where dreams are born. It acts as the keeper of all my wants, needs, and desires. Cool gifts I want to buy people, fashion I want for the next season, recipes I want to cook, decorating home lifestyle images I want to replicate at home, vacations I want to take. And I’m not alone on this. Users’ behaviors show they pin things they are interested in making come true (aka doing and buying) — this makes the platform a go-to for browsing, discovery, inspiration, search, right down to consideration and purchase.
This happy place people go to when on Pinterest is what probably makes it the “anti-social” social platform, but this isn’t a bad thing. People don’t engage with Pinterest to get in-real-time content, nor do they use it to broadcast what they ate for breakfast. They engage when they want to focus on their particular interests and themselves without distraction. This makes having a 1-on-1 with brands less distracting, more meaningful and time consuming.
With “me time” being in short demand these days, cozying up to Pinterest leads to social binging. I can’t tell you how many times I went down the Pinterest rabbit hole, only to look up and realize it’s 3 AM. Again, not alone: Pinners, rather than pin daily, set time aside time to engage with the platform in bulk sessions to relish in their happy place and build their dreams one pin at a time.
Brands can get in on the dreaming too!
Just like Snapchat has evolved their ad offerings, so too has Pinterest — they just don’t have as good of a PR team, which is maybe why they fly under the radar… just sayin’. Either way, these advertising capabilities seem to fall into two camps. One that is about helping the right people discover brands, and one that is meant to help drive users down the purchase funnel.
The most recent discovery offering is Retargeting. Through conversion tags placed on retailer sites, brands can now follow visitors all the way back to Pinterest and any other place on the internet for that matter. This allows marketers the chance to target visitors who have shown interest in their brands’ products/services with Promoted Pins (aka paid ads). There is no direct mention of this, but I can only assume this also serves to collect a healthy amount of data to help build brand target segments through their online behaviors.
Within the camp that includes offerings meant to driver users down the purchase funnel we have the magical Buy Button, which can literally make your Pinterest dreams come true, for a price of course. Granted, other platforms have adopted this tech, but their heavy social nature is a bit of an adoption barrier… one that Pinterest doesn’t have to worry about.
While this may not be as appealing for certain type of brands (think razors, soap, home cleaners), those with a strong online retailer presence and lifestyle appeal (think fashion, cooking, beauty) can definitely take advantage of this offering. To entice some good ol’ buy-button-pushing, advertisers can leverage an assortment of Rich Pin options such as Product Pins. These basically help inform consumers’ buying decision by including real time pricing, availability, and where to buy information. These customizable Rich Pins are expanding to also include information that is more relevant to brick and mortar business, such as restaurants, for example.
Net-Net, I rest my case
There is a shoe for every foot just like there is a platform for every brand’s needs. While it’s easy to get caught in the hype of massive user penetration and consumer-facing innovation, there should always be room to assess and explore other options. The Ghost definitely has its charm and appeal (as well as a great PR team… sorry, not letting that one go), but it doesn’t mean other platforms left eating their Millennial-penetration-dust should be discounted. Our decisions of which platforms to jump into bed with should also be based on the opportunity to connect with the right people at the right time. And based on what I’ve stated above, Pinterest The Dream Maker, still seems like a pretty interesting platform to cozy up to.
Warc: Pinterest — The Anti-Social Network