How Valuable Is Pinterest To Online Retail Sites?

    September 16, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

A new study finds that Pinterest is proving to be quite valuable for online retailers. While it trails Facebook in a variety of metrics, it’s gaining ground in those, and is leading in one very important metric. Plus, Facebook’s dominance only stands to increase Pinterest’s value within the other metrics.

Is Pinterest helping your business? Let us know in the comments.

Earlier this week, we looked at the following infographic from RichRelevance comparing Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, in terms of the shopping traffic they drive to retail sites:

Who's driving traffic to shopping sites

The infographic is based on a study from the firm, which looked at 689 million shopping sessions on “leading U.S. retail sites” between January 1 and August 31.

“Every social network promises a new way of connecting consumers with retailers and brands,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “However, the big take-away from our research is that not all channels in the social space are created equal. As retailers and brands continue to sort out how to take advantage of social networks, this infographic provides great insight into better understanding the nuances of each channel, how they resonate with consumers and how marketers can take advantage of each in their own unique way.”

It may be Facebook on top in most of the metrics listed in the graphic, but Pinterest, interestingly, is blowing both Facebook and Twitter out of the water in the critical AOV (Average Order Value) metric. That is: the sum of revenue generated divided by the number of orders.

Also of note is Pinterest’s “surprisingly large share” of sessions (particularly when compared to Twitter, which has obviously been around much longer). Likewise, Pinterest is significantly higher than Twitter in share per session and revenue per session. Pinterest is gaining in both revenue per session and conversion by source, as RichRelevance points out.

It’s no surprise that Facebook is the dominant player here in most of the metrics, given its sheer size. The company recently revealed that it has 955 million active users. However, this actually serves to help Pinterest in the same metrics, given the site’s Facebook integration.

For one, Facebook is one of the log-in options for Pinterest, so many users are already using Facebook.

Facebook featured Pinterest in its “Developer Spotlight” earlier this year, taking about how Pinterest was taking advantage of the Facebook Timeline. “Pinterest focused on the most frequent and social things people do on their site – pin and follow – and built Open Graph stories that people could identify with,” explained Facebook’s Will Liu. “Pinterest also prompts people to add the app to their timelines through a clear call out that is integrated into the design of the site.”

In less than a month of launching its Facebook Open Graph integration, Pinterest saw the number of Facebook users visiting Pinterest every day increase by over 60%. Now, that stat is slightly dated at this point, as the post was from February, but the point that Pinterest is only helped by Facebook remains valid.

It’s worth noting that RichRelevance’s study only included browser-based shopping sessions and not shopping that may originate from mobile apps. This is actually a really important thing to consider for a couple of reasons. For one, Facebook says its mobile users are more likely to be daily active users.

Secondly, Pinterest has only had its new mobile apps available for about a month. In August, the company launched its new apps for Android, iPhone and iPad, which should only lead to more users, sales and brand engagement for brands. For that matter, Pinterest has only been available without an invitation for just over a month too. If it’s had this big of an impact on an invitation-only basis, it’s quite likely that we have yet to see Pinterest’s potential.

As I noted in a previous article, Pinterest’s growth and cross-platform compatibility could be just what the doctor ordered for e-commerce businesses looking to get more web traffic from social media, especially now that they have to pay Google to be listed in Google Shopping. There are various products coming out designed to get Pinterest users interested in, well, products.

ShopInterest, for example, is a DIY online shop for merchants to create pinboards of the stuff they sell.

Of course, RichRelevance’s data only represents one study. MarketingCharts does a little comparison, writing, “These findings appear to contrast with data released in July 2012 by Jirafe, reported by Forbes. According to that study, which examined the behavior of 89 million online shoppers who visited Jirafe’s clients’ 5,000 online stores in the past year, average order value (AOV) for traffic from Twitter and Facebook was far higher than for Pinterest traffic. In fact, traffic from Twitter (5.3x), Google (3.45x), Facebook (2.5x), and Bing (2.1x) all had AOV’s more than twice as large as traffic from Pinterest.”

“Methodological differences may explain the discrepancies,” MarketingCharts adds. “The Forbes article noted that Jirafe serves only a few of the top 500 online retailers, such that Pinterest data for these larger sites may be more positive. The RichRelevance data is also based on its client base – select US sites that have deployed its retail recommendation software. That study also includes only browser-based shopping sessions and does not include shopping that may originate from mobile application versions of the platforms. It is unclear how such sessions were treated by the Jirafe study.”

In general, brands themselves are flocking to Pinterest. According to a recent study from SimplyMeasured, 51% of the top 100 global brands now have Pinterest accounts.

Pinterest has been expanding its category offerings, and I expect that this will continue, which should only open the door further for merchants. It already has its built-in “gifts,” feature, for product promotion, complete with price tags.

If you’re unfamiliar with this, it’s a drop-down menu at the top of the homepage, which lets users browse items by price range. Pinterest will include price if it’s in the description of the post. Shopify has a good post about this and other ecommerce tips, saying, “Every ecommerce store owner should make full use of this functionality!”

Shopify also suggests pinning other people’s products, and not just your own, not pinning every item you sell, linking to products “tastefully,” being visual with product photography, creating a re-pin board, and of course, getting followers. They suggest frequently posting Pinterest content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ streams, adding, “Remember to keep the focus of your posts on things that are visual appealing.”

Has your site seen a significant amount of Pinterest traffic? Do you have a Pinterest strategy in place? Let us know in the comments.

  • http://www.newageonlinebusiness.com Zayne Thompson

    Wow you know I always knew Pinterest was good for business but I never thought it would be so superior to Facebook.

    My wife runs a fashion store online and so Pinterest seems like a market we should definitely crack into!

    Thanks again for the great info!

    Zayne Thompson

  • http://www.mypetpins.com/ Sonja Nephew

    Having out a lot of effort intom Pinterest I was worried that it had peaked, so I find your article very re-assuring. thanks.

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    I am trilled at the potential of Pinterest, it’s barely one month when I heard of pinterest for the first time. I will certainly delay no more in getting my business out there in pinterest.

  • http://www.fantastique-arts.com Christophe

    I got a good return from Pinterest with my site. I do not sale but it helps making my site well known and I got backlinks for my pages because many people repined my pictures. So yes, it is good if you got loads of photo on your sites :)

  • http://www.angersausomeaussies.com AngersAusomeAussies

    Never really knew about Pinterest until now. Guess I need to check that out. What is with that name Pinterest? I would think the company would come up w/more of a name that one can at least pronounce & come to mind more easily.

  • http://www.justjennyscrafts.com Just Jenny’s Crafts

    I have been using it on Yardsellr for about 4 months now and have yet to see anything.

  • http://www.evsroll.com EVsRoll

    Check what you are pinning. Some pins tend to get more attention than others. Pinterest seems to be great for some things, not so great for others. Also, the quality of the photos you uses seems to be very important…people will re-pin pics depending on whether not they like the photo…not necessarily what the photo means.

  • http://www.peppersprayetcstore.com Lawanna Bean

    I am finding that pinterest allows me to not only post my products, but my blogs and articles. My presence on the internet has tripled since I started using Pinterest!

  • Joan

    Pinterest is another boring fad for the millions of unemployed to spend their time on.

    • Sheila

      Pinterest is blowing both Facebook and Twitter out of the water in the critical AOV (Average Order Value) metric. That is: the sum of revenue generated divided by the number of orders.

      I wouldn’t call that boring, I’d call it money making if it’s done right.

    • Joe Giavanni

      Bitter much?

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Michael

    At the first sight, Pinterest just didn’t seem like something a man would use. It’s just too “fancy”. However, as a marketer I couldn’t overlook the enormous potential it has for marketing purposes. You can use Pinterest to optimize your site and it can boost your SEO very significantly. Especially, if you are publishing lot of visual materials like infographics, etc. Every marketer should really consider using Pinterest as an important marketing tool.

  • http://oumbrella.com Christy

    Pinterest is a great website for promoting your business if done effectively. If you present you business in interactive and engaging pictures, it works like gem.

  • http://www.retail.co.in/ Retail

    Pinterest is the best site for retailers for promoting their brands!!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/company/brick-marketing---boston-seo-firm Nick Stamoulis

    Since Pinterest is so visually driven I always thought it would a great fit for B2C companies and e-commerce sites. There is so much going on with Facebook that being a place to buy isn’t really the top of most user’s priorities.

  • Manmohan

    Great article .I work for McGladrey and there’s a whitepaper on the website that readers would find interesting it offers information on the benefits of cloud computing for retailers ( http://bit.ly/RRlVrP

  • Joe Giavanni

    We see tons of traffic through Pinterest.com and a fair amount of phone calls, and scores of follower.

    Only about 3-5 percent lead to sales, as a lot of people are window shopping. But, people over 50 (most of our customer base) just aren’t that into Facebook. Most of the Facebook things we do seem to get lost in a lot of lonely heart comments, jokes, spam, etc.

    We like Pinterest and intend to stick with it. We have also tried Fancy, but we got annoyed because they we were contacted about running a store through them about 10 times too many.

    Our followers are loyal, and some of them that were particularly happy with our store actually wrote comments about our customer service under the products they bought, 2 actually sent emails to all of their friends and family. We’ll stick with it. Facebook and Timeline are confusing to a lot of people. Seems like all generations like Pinterest, where as many older baby boomers and seniors just don’t like Facebook and don’t consider Pinterest.com social media as much as a free magazine.

  • http://wwww.kooldawgtees.com David Joel

    Pinterest is definitely sending us traffic for our Dog Clothes and accessories on-line store at kooldawgtees.com

    We receive about 10 re-pins a day. That has to be creating some sort of interest?

    In this case… A picture maybe worth more than a Thousand words!

    We like it!

  • http://ephedrinewheretobuy.com Mike Budd

    On my todolist since months 😉

    I shouldn’t procrastinate any longer now, when I see all positive comments..

  • http://www.gorocketfuel.com Mary Tairua

    Pinterest can be great for B2C companies. It’s much better suited than Facebook in my opinion. As a user myself I love the way they have prices set up to show on pins, it’s great for things like planning out fashion buys for the season. There is a LOT of opportunity here for businesses.

  • http://feel-good-vibe.webspawner.com Chris

    ive been working for months trying programs on the market.. Check out what felt good to me feel-good-vibe.webspawner.com

  • http://UKEcommerce.com Build Ecommerce Websites – UK

    Pinterest can be fantastic for driving traffic to Ecommerce websites. We will often help our customers to utilise pinterest to drive traffic and sales.

  • http://www.retailexcellence.ie/ Retail Excellence Ireland

    Pinterest is one of the best websites for retailers for promoting their business, brands product and services.

  • http://www.adovationz.co.nz Digmen1

    I have started to pin products from my website.
    Its early days yet for me
    I think its a great idea.

  • http://www.survival-gear.com Steve Thibeault

    I’m finding that a lot of our products are finding a spot on Pinterest. It’s especially nice to check Analytics and see that, yes, we are even getting sales that originated from there.

  • http://www.pinfluencer.com Pinfluencer

    Pinfluencer is running a monthly webinar series on Pinterest promotions best practices and pinterest roi analytics. check out some past recordings at: http://blog.pinfluencer.com/pinterest-promotions-best-practices-webinar-by-pinfluencer-november-series/

  • http://www.kooldawgtees.com/fido-fleece-products.html Kool Dawg

    We have noticed a fair amount of Pinterest “re-pins” for some of our most popular items like Fido Fleece Dog Coats and Pet Sports Apparel in particular, NCAA Dog Jerseys as well as sizing charts.

    Pinterest participants are showing up in our retail stats as well as driving traffic to our website.

    Happy Pinning!

    Kool Dawg