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Re-Assessing Brand Growth on Pinterest

07 Nov 2019 Elizabeth McHugh

in Digital, Social Media, Strategy

For the majority of brands, Pinterest is not the primary social media platform of choice. In 2019, U.S. ad revenue on Facebook was $29.92B; on Instagram $9.45B, with Pinterest coming in a distant third at $1B. A review of YoY growth, however, shows a positive evolution: while Instagram leads with a 52.9% increase in ad revenue YoY, Pinterest comes in second, with 40% growth. With 78.7M U.S. users currently, Pinterest is projected to grow approximately 11% through 2023, to 87.5M users. Pair this progress with an IPO in April of this year, a new strategy for disruptor brands, and a suite of new tools for advertisers, and it becomes clear why many consumer brands need to re-assess the platform’s role within their marketing mix.


Pinterest falls squarely in the social media category, yet that is the incorrect way to view the platform—even CEO Ben Silbermann has described Pinterest as, “not a social network.” The way that the platform is used—for discovery of ideas, items, and trends—aligns it with behaviors used on Google, for example, not Facebook. Furthermore, as Pinterest sparks inspiration and planning, rather than deeply personal or curated expressions, the platform is a happy place, reserved for “me time.” Stella Rising CMO Marlea Clark calls it a “place of joy” for users, without the political issues that can make Facebook and Twitter so contentious. Pinterest understands—and is working to protect—its association with positivity: in July, the company launched “compassionate search,” a search response that offers resources to those users seeking information on anxiety or stress.


As other social media platforms have been affected by data breaches, fake follower counts, and political angst, Pinterest has remained a happier corner of the internet, something that benefits both platform users and the advertisers reaching them. Those users are overwhelming female (72%), though Pinterest is gaining some traction with Millennial men and has converted 38% of U.S. dads into users. Pinterest users tend to be higher-income and well educated, per Pew Research. And, they are seeking not only looking to discover but also to test: 76% of Pinterest users responded that they like to try new brands. Herein lies the opportunity for brand building efforts on Pinterest: users are often looking to shop, but without specific brands in mind. 97% of Pinterest’s top 1,000 search terms are non-branded. Enter, acquisition efforts.


Writes Adweek, “For many DTC brands, Pinterest has become a safe haven to test campaigns, reach different parts of the funnel and receive more customers. Pinterest has scaled up its ad offerings over the years, and with keyword targeting, DTC brands are seeing success with lower costs per acquisition.” Just as acquisition costs have started rising on other platforms, Pinterest’s have remained lower, while they have added improved video capabilities, a schedule-ahead tool, better analytics, promoted pins, and a conversion optimization campaign type. Building on this momentum, Pinterest has formed a sales team, called Disruptor Brands, dedicated to attracting both venture capital firms with investments and independent D2C brands. That team has found that 85% of users have, within a week, made a purchase influenced by their Pinterest experience.


When we polled our proprietary research community regarding Pinterest, results were mixed: “I live off of Pinterest…I shop off of Pins, too!” replied one respondent, while another noted, “I love that they have buyable pins…But I have never purchased anything personally.” Our takeaway? Even though conversion can take longer than other platforms, for the right brand, we recommend considering Pinterest as part of a smart discovery and brand strategy.


At Stella Rising, we are at the forefront of the marketing and strategy tactics that help brands thrive. Seeking to rise to the top? Connect with us.


Additional Sources: Glimmer 2019, eMarketer March 2019, eMarketer October 2019, YouGov, April 8, 2019

Digital Social Media Strategy