Mariamz

Posts Tagged ‘Pinterest

Pinterest has officially been the fastest growing social network this year. But why do we love it so? Why is it driving sales so much better than other social networks? Why is it so moreish?

Pinterest traffic growth to March 2012

I’m running a private Pinterest training session next week, where I’ll be covering:

  • A rapid introduction to the hottest visual social network right now
  • Overview of best in class activity
  • Activation framework

And I thought it would work well, especially for those in the room not already into it, to start off explaining why people love Pinterest… how they feel about it… to bring it to life. Personally, I’d muse the following:

  • We’re tired of looking at words on screens. I was talking to an old friend the other day who was at college when computers first hit the market. She said they used to tell them not to read on screen. To this day she usually prints everything – she says everyone has got too obsessed with saving trees (which can be replaced) – but your eyesight can’t. Whatever you think about this logic.. I think one of the reasons we love Pinterest is our eyes have become wary of reading reams and reams of information, and you can actually see a whole world of ideas on Pinterest (especially when you browse the ‘everything’ tab – without reading a word.
  • Simple serendipity. Eli Pariser, among other doom-sayers, have waxed lyrical at length about the danger of filter-bubbles in how we use the web as individuals. Our use of Twitter is mostly confined to the people we follow, the lists we have chosen to follow, searching for – or following the hashtags we are already interested in. On Facebook we see the pages and people we already like or know. But on Pinterest the ‘Everything’ tab is an easy, visual view into the world of many, many, others. It’s easy to skim past any picture you find offensive (and actually its Acceptable Use Policy and usage norms mean I very rarely see anything that fits that category from my perspective).
  • The whole world meets one click product discovery. When we shop online we usually go to a very few trusted websites, for the brands and websites we know. Or use massive shopping aggregators like asos which enable us to scroll through pages and pages of bags and shoes. But it can be samey. We get tired of looking at 300 dresses just to find one we like. We get ourselves into the mood to shop but somehow the pressure of scrolling and searching takes the shine off. You can’t touch or see the items up close and you get a bit fed up after watching 20 little videos to work out how the fabric hangs. But on Pinterest a dress or pair of shoes, new make-up or hair idea is all mixed up with cool travel and home and even digital inspiration. It’s not just one shop or even a virtual high street… it’s pictures of the whole world online.. it’s the beach, the bar, the library, the philosopher and the boutique all at once.

That’s just some speculation from me… but why do other Pinners love it? I thought I’d use the ethnographic method of observing what people say about their feelings about it on Twitter:

In keeping with ethnographic research principles – I started with a question, gave my feelings on the platform and the perspective from which I am approaching the question, and uncovered themes from my observations.. represented here in this word cloud:

Here are those themes in more detail:

  • It helps you easily share what you find and love.. without having to comment on it in any great detail – e.g. Danni Minogue’s pets board has shown me with pictures, some insight into her personality I’d never have really gauged otherwise
  • I’ve heard people say this in person too – it takes you into another world – a more dream-like world
  • It drives desire
  • It inspires you to make new things (or makes you feel you should be!)
  • It gives you hints, tips and recipes that can brighten your day
  • Music was a new one on me – how does one use it for that I wonder? Via video perhaps? This is how I discovered you can now pin sounds from Soundcloud onto Pinterest
  • The quotes help you feel positive (personally I always feel an undercurrent of embarrassment when I re-tweet inspirational quotes on Twitter but it just doesn’t feel like that on Pinterest)
  • It makes you feel good by letting you know when other people like what you love
  • I’ve often found it annoying that I can’t pin directly from G+ or Facebook – but the fact someone suggested it as a reason to love Pinterest made me think… it’s a good safeguard against it getting filled up with lots of personal pictures of people falling out of nightclubs and indeed outfits
  • It can lift your mood – or help you explore the mood you’re in
  • The ease which which you can share visually makes it less intimidating for non-technical users as a collaboration / bookmarking tool
  • Photos are usually professionally taken / shared when they fit with the professionally taken shots there – meaning their visually stunning appeal differs from the more amateur photography you might expect on Flickr, or personal (to you) shots you see on Facebook
  • It can help creative people to think visually

So that was fun… a view into the world of our positive feelings towards Pinterest. But I must report that in the course of this research I found a significant number of people reporting negative feelings – i.e. the wish their lives were as fabulous as the world they can enter on Pinterest / their Pinterest boards. This reminded me of criticisms levelled at magazines over the years – on how they make people feel in terms of pressures on how to be and what to buy.

Back on the sunnier flip side, something I realised in trawling tweets about why people have taken to Pinterest so readily – is how much they love to say how much they love eachother’s pins. We might posit here that if Facebook be the platform of like, Pinterest be that of love

Is it context? Is it content…..? What is communications royalty this week…? Or shall we dispense with three word hyperbole and give ourselves over to wanting, and the reality of needing to manage, it all?

In this case we will need structure, and structure which takes us beyond flat content calendars… toward integrated engagement across all of our earned, owned and paid channels. This can be captured in a calendar which orders our engagement themes and channels and enables us to plan (simply, visually) for balance in what we say and do, in line with our communications strategy.

As a marketer on Pinterest for your brand or organisation, there are 5 key engagement options for your activity:

Win a pair of Butterfly Twists with Confused.com    How to win:    1. Follow Confused.com on Pinterest    2. We will then add you as a contributor    3. Pin a picture on our 'Driving in Heels' board of yourself wearing your most extravagant heels and then label it 'I want to win a pair of Butterfly Twists with Confused.com'      Full terms and conditions: http://www.confused.com/privacy-and-security/terms-and-conditions/butterfly-twists-giveaway-terms-and-conditions

Great concept from Confused.com – presumably in collaboration with Butterfly Twists.

Of course, as YouTube commenter unreal203 pointed out:

There are tens, if not hundreds of millions of women all over the world who drive in heels every day with no problem. It’s not a hard skill to aquire, if it can even be classified as a skill at all. Real women do it in heels.

unreal203

Haha. Too true. And IMHO if a woman was running the competition you’d also get a fabulous pair of heels to change into / out of thrown in as well as the sensible flats… So it’s a bit of a gimmick that doesn’t quite get how a women might see all this. But still. All in all it’s nicely done:

  • Integration of YouTube video and Pinterest board
  • Creatively delivered play on social object (heels) that women (including me) already love to share on Pinterest
  • Interesting (almost) civic message on road safety which ties back to brand (insurance) proposition.

A few weeks ago Kotex ran an interesting Pinterest campaign / activity. It was innovative and successful, by various measures.

It worked like this – Kotex found fifty of the most influential women on Pinterest, checked out what they had posted to their boards, made and sent them all a gift representing those images. The results:

  • Close to 100% of recipients posted about their gifts on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • 2,284 interactions
  • 694,853 total impressions

Before I launch into the influencer mythology argument, aside from the impressive statistical results gleaned, I must mention being impressed by the innovation of this campaign. In many ways it was a great, unique idea, which cannot now be repeated without cries of copycat.

But this type of ‘influencer’ marketing smacks of elements of traditional communications which peer to peer Internet philosophy rather bites its thumb at

  • Really noisy, famous people are more important than all other people (or women who use sanitary products) – they deserve free gifts and lots of attention
  • A small group of really well-known people can influence everyone else, by dint of their massive profiles
  • The silent majority, or lurkers, are there to be talked to, not with, or for
But is the tantalising promise of the mythical influencer accurate on social media? A recent study by Buzzfeed and Stumbleupon found what those of us with an eye on the real world would probably be unsurprised at. People are most influenced by those closest.. and so-called ‘viral sharing’ happens via lots of shares within intimate social circles, not big shares from big people.
Even the largest stories on Facebook are the product of lots of intimate sharing — not one person sharing and hundreds of thousands of people clicking

And as for the silent masses, the numbers who quietly fitting in Pinterest between busy jobs and busy lives, liking the odd picture here and there, they need not be excluded from our technographics obsessed considerations… for we are not all at one place on the ladder all of the time, but rather hang off various rungs at various times.

Furthermore, Jon Hickman has argued for considering participation by lurkers as “hidden actions.” (As opposed to ‘inactives’, on Forrester’s ladder above) He writes that the extent of participation by lurkers shouldn’t be underestimated, citing a case from the recent Digital Transformations event which his research supports:

we heard about a woman who had never commented or liked anything on her participatory group’s Facebook page. In offline fora, the same woman was the strongest and loudest advocate for their work. Her practice as a lurker meant she was immersed in the detail of the group’s work and was able to speak for it in offline spaces

Jon Hickman

So what’s the point? No more influencer marketing? No more drive for active online participation?  An obsession with the silent, over those who have something to say? Not really. But when it comes to marketing on Pinterest there is another, longer game that might well be played.

To reach more people appropriately, in context, over time – than dishing out freebies to the Pinterati and patting ourselves on our massive corporate backs when they all spew predictably about their free gear, one might try:

So it’s not big, it’s maybe not wow, but it’s bread and butter community development -and it’s all about the race to the bottom (of our hearts). So let’s be honest about what connecting with people on a platform like Pinterest really means when we discuss with our clients and colleagues. It means being patient, useful and creative in a day-to-day, moments of joy kind of way. Not a ‘who’s the biggest name’ or ‘can I get a celebrity to front my Pinterest presence’ kind of way.

Comparing the amount of time the average user spends per month on the other social networks as a comparison measure of the level of engagement on Pinterest:

1. Facebook is the most engaging site on the planet at 405 minutes per month
2. Pinterest and Tumblr are equal in second place at 89 minutes
3. Twitter comes in third at  21 minutes
4. LinkedIn – 17 minutes
5. Google Plus – 3 minutes

Jeff Bullas

Last week while I was sunning myself my lovely colleagues at Porter Novelli hosted a Social media week event, presenting research into social media behaviour across Europe – focusing in upon gender differences. The event was run by our UK head of digital, Helen Nowicka, and entitled Men are from Foursquare, Women are from Facebook.

The presentation was based on the EuroPN Styles survey 2011 – an annual study of 10,000+ people across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands. In terms of Facebook and Foursquare, it found that European men check in more than women – for example in the UK 45% of UK men use social media to check-in to places compared with only a third of women.

The overall take-out for consideration across social media campaigns, including and beyond Facebook and Foursquare, is that:

Women tend towards interacting with friends and family, using social media to build existing and close connections, whereas men tend towards sharing their status, including location, and sharing opinions with those they do not know in person.

This is borne out with other platform stats – in the UK,  34% of men vs 27% women are on Twitter, and 34% vs 24% write a blog.

Of course demographic groups and individuals will always vary (stereotypes / categories = tensions in between)… but it is useful to have these overarching trends in mind. I, for example, have never been inclined towards checking-in, mainly for privacy reasons – but am far more likely to be found spouting unsolicited opinions than sharing holiday snaps with real-world nearest and dearest.

Perhaps I will take to Pinterest, like the other ladies (when I stop sulking about my name being taken)…  isn’t that a bit like opinions in the form of pictures? Apparently 83% of US users are female (I’m putting the current UK male skew down to early-adopter tech / marketing community excitement). On the other hand… I’d rather a thousand words than a picture most days.

(Disclosure: I am employed by Porter Novelli)


This blog is about utilizing and optimizing the social web for business, pleasure and social change

My tweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

The views in this blog do not reflect that of my employer