Does Pinterest Have A Place In Your Search Budget?

Chris CrumAdvertising

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Pinterest is often thought of as a social network, and it is to an extent. You can follow people (including friends), and they can follow you back. You can interact with them and even send them direct messages. In these regards it's very much in the same stable as Facebook, Twitter, and others. Like Facebook and Twitter, it also has a search feature. Pinterest wants marketers to know that this is more what they should be focusing on. Not the social aspects.

Now that advertising on Pinterest is a thing, the company is working to get more businesses using it. The Wall Street Journal reports that in its ad pitch to companies, it's trying to distance itself from social networks like Facebook and get advertisers to shift some of their search budget to Pinterest.

Does Pinterest currently have a place in your search marketing budget? Your marketing budget in general? Does it deserve one? Let us know what you think.

Pinterest Use Among Consumers Can't Be Ignored

Last month, we looked at research from Pew Research Center showing that the proportion of online adults who use Pinterest has doubled since 2012, though like other social platforms, didn’t experience significant growth in usage between September 2014 and April 2015. Still, in 2012, the percentage of online adults using Pinterest was 15%. Now, it’s 31%. 27% of those Pinterest users use it daily. That’s up from 17% last September.

“Some 31% of online adults use Pinterest, a proportion that is unchanged from the 28% of online adults who did so in September 2014,” the study said. “Women continue to dominate Pinterest – 44% of online women use the site, compared with 16% of online men. Those under the age of 50 are also more likely to be Pinterest users – 37% do so, compared with 22% of those ages 50 and older.”

Here's a look at Pew's demographic findings for Pinterest:

Another study from Ahalogy polled over 1,000 people and determined that 82% are female and 18% are male, but that men on Pinterest have increased 4% since 2014.

Beyond gender, the study looked at race, education, employment, marital status, age, household size, sexual orientation, pets, kids, and income. 75–80% identified themselves as white compared to 10% and 5% African-American. 45% have graduated college or postgraduate. 56% said they are employed with 15% saying they are a homemaker, 12% unemployed, and 10% students. Respondents were more likely to be single and living alone (33%), and less likely to be divorced (9%).

82% of daily pinners are under 40. 88% heterosexual, and active pinners are more likely to have pets than not. 61% have dogs while 43% have cats. The number of active pinners with children dropped to 36% from 46% in 2014. Users are also more likely to be affluent with 45% having household incomes of at least $60k and growth in the $60-100k range.

There are really a ton of different comparisons throughout that report, but here’s a look at categories most browsed by active and daily pinners:

Here's an infographic (via Social Media Today) highlighting even more from the study:

Notice the parts that say 39% use Pinterst as a general search engine, 49% use it instead of browsing catalogs, and 35% skip e-commerce sites and look for products on Pinterest instead.

Pinterst Wants Your Search Ad Dollars

As the Journal notes, while the social network ad space is becoming a more and more crowded playing field, Pinterest wants to focus on marketers' search budgets as search is still the dominant part of the online advertising industry with 45% of digital ad spend in the U.S. in 2014 (eMarketer).

The report says Pinterest has been "making the rounds" with advertisers, trying to convince them to look at its service with a search eye rather than a social one. It quotes a Pinterest exec as saying that Pinterest isn't a place where people go to connect with family and friends, but rather to "go through the catalog and do searches".

Last month, the company hired the former head of Twitter's brand advertising products Nipoon Malhotra to work on its ad tech. Malhotra also worked in search advertising at Microsoft (Bing).

“Nipoon is a proven leader with the ability to execute and scale teams and revenue generating products,” said Pinterest head of product for monetization Jonathan Shottan in August. “We are thrilled to have him as part of the team as we continue to grow and innovate on ads and commerce.”

There is plenty to potentially be gained from organic Pinterest search optimization as well. Here are some things to consider on that front. There are even opportunities for visibility in more traditional search engines like Bing and Google with a focused Pinterest strategy. Bing has been showing Pinterest content in search results for quite a while, but Google launched a new integration a few months ago.

Do you view Pinterest as part of the search landscape? Do you treat it as such in your marketing efforts (either organic or paid)? Discuss.

Images via Pinterest, Pew, Ahalogy

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.