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ABSTRACT

Launched in March 2010, Pinterest has taken the internet by storm with its explosive growth,  with no signs of slowing down. The simple but visually stunning website has attracted a huge following, especially amongst the affluent female population. It is increasing beating out traditional social media giants in referral traffic, and has become an inspirational site that turns clicks into purchases. It is evidently clear that Pinterest cannot be ignored anymore, as it makes its way into becoming an essential component in the marketing mix.

BACKGROUND

Pinterest is a website that allows users to create a virtual bulletin board, enabling them to pin pictures and videos according to their wishes. Users can categorize pictures and videos and share their creations with friends through on the website and through other social networks.  Pinterest gives the users the option of creating as many pinboards as they wish, and the end result is a visually appealing collection of pictures and videos. Users install a “bookmarklet” button into their browser, which allows them to pin images to their virtual boards, based on a particular theme or purpose. Images are backed by a click-through link, leading to the web page where it was originally discovered. Boards are easily shared as users can discover boards of other members and have the options to “like,” “repin,” or comment on what they find. Pinterest offers an easy way to share and browse a wide range of content. Pinterest also installs a button onto the user’s blog to allow a simple sharing process for the user’s followers.

DEMOGRAPHIC

It boasts a large demographic of a very desirable target: 20-30 something year old women, who make up 80% of the subscriber base. This subscription base clearly influences the content of the most popular boards, ‘food and drink’ with 11.9% of pins, followed by ‘DIY and crafts’ 9.2% and ‘home décor’ (5.9%). However, looking at pinboards rather than single pins, home décor is actually the most popular category (11%) followed by ‘art’ (10.7%) and ‘design’ (10.3%). Repinly identifies the top pinning sources as Google and Etsy, followed by pins uploaded by users. The demographic is also affluent, with 28% having income of more than $100 000, making Pinterest very attractive to companies as its users have high spending power.

COMPARISON

The growth figures of Pinterest are astounding in comparison with the top social media outlets. Despite being launched in 2010, the company has impressive figures compared to social media giants Facebook and Twitter. The average user spends 15.8 minutes on Pinterest, beating out Facebook with 12.1 minutes and Twitter with only 3.3 minutes. It also has more referral traffic than Youtube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined, at 3.6%.


Research also points out at Pinterest’s ability to inspire purchases, as 69% of online consumers have found an item that they’ve wanted to purchase as opposed to only 40% of online consumers who visit Facebook. The survey, which interviewed 7,431 online buyers from August 9 to 17, also found that significantly more online consumers agree that Pinterest is a place to “get inspiration on what to buy” at 70% versus the 17% from Facebook.
If measured on a 'first touch' revenue per click basis, Pinterest beats out Twitter by more than 400% and Facebook by 27%. The report also shows that Pinterest users are more likely to be ‘creators’: adding and sharing retailer/brand related content. In contrast Facebook users are more likely to be ‘participators’: interacting with promotional activities developed by retailers and brands.

EXTERNAL TRENDS & MARKET FACTORS

Image driven
One of the biggest trends in social media the use of visual content across the web. As can be seen from the boom of Pinterest, Instagram, and info-graphics in the past year, it is clear that images and visuals are key in online content. Due to the overabundance of information in the market, the use of visual imagery offers a more effective method to drive content because it is much faster to process than text. Images increase time spent on site and promote user engagement, compared to traditional text.
Pinterest is definitely leveraging this trend and will continue to do so in the future, being one of the leaders of image-curated content. It allows the creation of self-generated content where the user dictates what they want to see, driving visual consumption amongst its users.

Mobile
Though mobile-use experienced a huge growth last year, this trend will continue on into the future. The increasing presence of smart phones will impact the way we consume data, and is on its way to coming consumer’s primary source of data as well as in our social lives. Global marketers still need to develop this in this field, as only 20% of them currently include mobile strategies as a part of their integrated marketing plan. While the PC is still the most widely used device when it comes to social media consumption, the study found that time spent on mobile apps and mobile websites accounted for a 63% increase (compared to 2011) in total time spent.
Businesses need to adopt mobile in their marketing strategy, as it becomes more embedded into our daily lives.
Pinterest is already mobile conscious as they have launched mobile apps for all the major Smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry, Android). The increasing use of mobile allows for companies to have a direct relationship with their consumers, closing the gap between customers and the company and empowering consumers. It is important for Pinterest to listen to consumer reviews and feedback on their app to make it even more user friendly, especially as mobility gains traction in the market.

Simplicity
Lastly, there has been a trend for simplicity. Brands or platforms that offer to simply consumer lives have reached critical success. In an environment where consumers are consistently bombarded by noise and distractions, they turn to look for things that simplify their lives. The most successful marketing strategies will be ones that simply the consumer experience.


The simplicity of Pinterest can be credited for its fast success and explosive growth, as consumers can create their own visual boards with an ease of a click. They aren’t required to write much or process text, but generate content on the images they like, making sharing simple. It exemplifies the new online market: less truly is more.

IN THE MARKETING MIX Advertising

Pinterest’s growth since its launch in 2010 has started to appear more appealing in the eyes of advertisers. The most popular content consists of food, home, arts and crafts and fashion. Advertisers can look at Pinterest as a way of consumers exposing their interest. As a result, advertisers can communicate in a language that will effectively attract their target audience, while, at the same time, advertisers can receive social recommendations to improve communication strategy. Pinterest is extremely visual, which, for advertisers is a great way to catch the user’s attention and provide popular content.

Public Relations

Companies can post pictures of events and give consumers a behind the scene sneak peak. By conforming hundreds of pictures to create a common theme will lead to a story that the company is hoping to tell it its consumers. The connectivity with consumers through Pinterest displays the organization’s human side, and eventually achieves the synergy of improved brand image and closer relation with customer leading to customer loyalty.

Sales Promotion

Businesses are encouraging users to follow their Pinterest page to a chance to receive special promotions. Knowing demographics overall interest can be extremely advantageous for sales promotions. Pinterest provide organizations just that knowledge. The results of a sales promotion can be very positive if companies promote to a group of demographics through a communication strategy that appeals the target audience. Consumer will be more willing to follow if the sales promotion is especially appealing. As a results, an organization will have had increased its Pinterest profile traffic and gained a group of consumers through sales promotion. 

REAL WORLD EXAMPLES

At the time Whole Food launched its campaign on Pinterest, consumer were concerned about who they’re buying from and want corporation to be more ethical. Whole Foods pinned nearly 700 pins across its 22 boards. Nearly 15,400 pictures all told a story that communicated to the consumer’s concerns.

Whole Foods core values were:

·  Caring about the environment and the community.

·  Promoting a healthy life style and education to shareholders.

·  Selling high quality organic and natural foods.

·  Maintain a positive relationship with suppliers.

Whole Foods’ Pinterest boards captured these values in a visually attract manner to maintain a long lasting connection with consumers and suppliers.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVCoM4ao2Tw

Women’s Inspiration Day campaign started when Kotex found 50 inspiring women and looked at their Pinterest posts. Kotex would then send the women a virtual gift based on inspiring pins on their Pinterest page. Kotex would then send the women a real gift based on what they were pinning on their page. As a result, Smoyz, the agency behind the Kotex’s campaign claimed a nearly 100% of the women posted something about the gifts they had received, not only on Pinterest, but also, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In total, more than 2,200 interactions occurred based on the 50 gifts

RISKS & BARRIERS

Weaknesses

·  User cannot rearrange pictures within the boards.

·  Very vulnerable to copycats. Pinterest is prone to other sites stealing away its user base.

·  Pinterest have established a brand that is more attractive to female users, with such brand image, it can be difficult to attract potential future male users if Pinterest decides to expand its demographics.

·  Pinterest’s weak customer service can divert its customer to its competitors.

Threats

·  It is very simple for customer to substitute Pinterest for another application.

·  Other major players such as Ebay can easily edge out Pinterest.

·  Websites such as Facebook and Twitter have such a large user base, it will be very difficult to convince the users to either switch to Pinterest or implement Pinterest in their social networking activities.

·  Pinterest is exposed to larger competitor buyouts. Facebook could buy Pinterest and make it part of Facebook’s social shopping efforts. Google could buyout Pinterest making Google images more appealing.

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