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Should I be advertising on Pinterest?

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“Should I be advertising on Pinterest?” I’m sure many of you have discussed this or at least mused over the idea at some point. In doing so I can imagine the thought process going something like this:
“Do people use it…what’s the reach against my target audience…? It’s just full of millennial ‘fashionistas’ right…? Will it deliver against ‘proper’ KPIs or just vanity metrics?” 

To disappoint those of you hoping for a quick answer, this is, of course, a very nuanced question and predictably doesn’t culminate in a yes or no recommendation; well unless you ask it of Pinterest directly!

As there have been quite a few interesting updates from Pinterest recently, All Response Media has put this question back under the microscope. Detailed below is our synopsis.

Headline Stats – Is it even worth it?

(Facebook c. 35M | Snapchat c. 16M | Instagram c. 14M | Twitter c. 13M)

Sounds great, but what’s the opportunity for my brand?

The size of the prize?
To get a view on how viable an opportunity this is, knowing your audience and more specifically their interests and online behaviours is fundamental.

If approaching this cold, or requiring a fresh view, database profiling and website analytics interrogation is always a good starting point. If you are investing in paid media already overlaying that insight with the audience data available through the likes of GoogleAds and Facebook Audience Insights will most certainly sharpen your view.

Once a target audience (TA) has been defined, we would recommend plugging into traditional profiling tools like YouGov to really drill down into likes and interests and how your TA engage with Pinterest specifically. As a quick example: ‘affluent’ males aged 45+ are 2X more likely to be interested in cars and driving, this is one of the top category segments on Pinterest, and 70,000 ‘affluent’ males age 45+ use Pinterest at least once/week (YouGov Profiles+ Great Britain).

Lastly, the Pinterest Analytics tool launched mid-2018 will tell you the demographic makeup of those that have seen or even engaged with your pins, audience size and most popular categories/subcategories for that audience. So, if you have a decent organic presence already, you should be able to get a pretty good feel for the incremental opportunity.

And are we confident it will deliver?
This is what it all boils down to, and the answer depends on how you measure success. Measurement solutions provided by Pinterest range from post-click conversion tracking through to awareness metrics measured through Millward Brown Brand Lift studies (although there are volume requirements to unlock these). There is no ‘right’ solution and there will, of course, be subtleties to your unique KPIs. There are however some fundamental best practices, which we have summarized below:

  • Using the Pinterest tag alone to measure conversions isn’t ideal. We would always recommend overlaying a 3rd party tracking solution to get a more accurate view on ‘de-duped’ conversions and to unlock cross-media remarketing capabilities.
  • The last click view should be viewed critically. Our data suggests that a first click view is more aligned to the platform’s ability to ‘stimulate demand’. Either way attribution modelling and conversion path analysis is imperative as opposed to ‘interesting to look at’.
  • Pinterest is integrated with MOAT which is our preferred ad analytics solution and allows us to better understand some of the softer KPIs like on screen time, screen ‘real estate’, invalid traffic and even what element of the ad unit are grabbing the user’s attention.

Where does Pinterest fit in the funnel for us?
Pinterest still represents a relatively small amount of our performance advertisers’ spend, but we are definitely starting to see green shoots when it comes to the growth opportunity for 2019. A few noteworthy trends we have seen in the numbers:

  • Generally, cost per thousands (CPTs) are lower than Facebook; c. 50% lower in most instances. This, of course, won’t be determinative in and of itself, but if the media cost is 50% lower, that generally helps performance!
  • We have seen engagement rates of 12%+, comparatively 2X higher than the same advertiser was delivering on Facebook.
  • People are clicking out of ads and buying. Admittedly in most instances, the last click cost per acquisition (CPA) is a bit toppy, but as previously mentioned that isn’t necessarily the right KPI to benchmark success against.
  • We have seen that up to 3X more conversion journeys start with Pinterest than end with it.

So, what’s next for us?
It was announced recently that shopping ads are out of testing so we will be scoping testing opportunities for the most relevant e-commerce partners. It also looks like the IPO will happen this month so we will, of course, be keen to understand what that means in terms of the 6-month product roadmaps.

And finally, we are having more conversations about Pinterest SEO, the principles of authority, quality and relevancy equally applicable and just as important for Pinterest. But that’s a topic for another day.