By Gary Kim published February 14, 2012

Should Big Brands Use Pinterest For Content Marketing?


pinterest for content marketing?

A user-generated Pinterest board inspired by Valentine’s Day.

Pinterest, a pin board inspired social media site launched in March 2010, was getting about 40 times more visitors in December 2011 than it did in June 2011. But will the explosive growth continue, and will Pinterest be useful as a content marketing tool for big brands? If so, which brands will benefit most?

First, consider the stunning statistics:

  • TechCrunch announced last week Pinterest hit 11.7 million uniques per month, “crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.”
  • An average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site according to comScore. Remarkable considering the stats for other social giants: 2.5 hours on Tumblr, and 7 hours on Facebook.
  • Core users appear to be 18-34 year old upper income women, hailing from America’s heartland.

Described as ‘addictive’ by users, Pinterest is an image-based social network. Users assemble rich visual montages of favorite photos on pin boards, and share them with their social networks and fellow Pinterest addicts. The question: Will Pinterest adoption spread beyond the site’s core group users?

Who Stands to Benefit?

Specific categories, such as home improvement, appear to be early winners. Lowe’s, for example, supports seasonal boards such as “the Big Game” as well as “Valentine’s Day.”

Lowe’s also maintains themed boards such as “Craft Ideas” or “Unique Pet Projects”, says Regie Bradford, Vitrue CEO. As you might expect, Lowes also maintains boards that tie to specific merchandise areas such as lighting, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Companies tied to visual design—whether fashion, interior design, crafts, or events—are all great candidates for Pinterest.

But Pinterest is also proving to provide a space for companies less fortunate in the area of abundant visual content, but who are creative in how they leverage this platform, said Frank Isca, Weidert Group account executive.

Industrial Product Applications

According to Isca, General Electric “is a great example of a company who has leveraged the visual assets of the large machinery they work on everyday and their products from over the years, but they also have showcased user-generated content from their #GEInspiredMe campaign.”

Larger brands will face some issues using the site. Since it is so easy to “like” or “pin” any item, it is difficult to determine which items the intensity of user passion, noted JWT North America CEO David Eastman. (A problem that Facebook might also be said to have.)

“If a person ‘pins’ a recipe for a lemon meringue pie, an image of Revlon lipstick, and photos of a newborn and a tank in front of Tiananmen Square, it’s difficult to determine if a person feels differently about each item,” says Eastman.

For some brands, including Pinterest as a new social channel will likely be a 2012 imperative given the explosion in growth. Some high-value segments include:

  • High-end fashion brands and retailers.
  • Food and grocery brands with appeal to high-income shoppers (e.g. Whole Foods).
  • Luxury or aspirational brands in the home design category, including furnishings, housewares, cooking, and appliances.
  • Travel and tourism industry brands.

A good recent example of a food brand using Pinterest is Chobani Yogurt, which has created 17 boards featuring 448 “pins,” according to Atomic Reach. Those pins then become a way for brands to generate traffic to brand websites.

So though it is too early to declare with finality the precise value Pinterest might have for large brands, there already are some tantalizing hints provided by Lowes, Chobani Yogurt and General Electric.

Author: Gary Kim

Gary Kim has been a communications industry analyst and journalist for more than 25 years, and currently writes mostly about end user behavior, mobile applications, mobile payments, mobile banking and business models in the broadband ecosystem. He recently was cited as a global "Power Mobile Influencer" by Forbes; ranked second in the world for strategic coverage of the mobile business. He writes for several online content sites, including Carrier Evolution, IP Carrier, Mobile Marketing & Technology, Content Marketing Institute and TMCnet. He also contributes to Razorsight and Accedian blogs. Follow him on Twitter@garykim.

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  • Rachel Rubin

    I like some publications on there. Time Magazine and some newspapers have been posting articles around historical events and I just had to add them to some of my boards (or make some new ones). I have a “Chicago” board so anything that any company posts about Chicago I’ll add there. I also have a “Nostalgia” board and post products, music, movies, and events there. I’m seeing more creative boards pop up by my friends instead of just home, cooking, and fashion. Pinterest is a place to collect and share your dreams and your memories, so any company that can tap into that should do well.

  • AJ Perisho

    Nice post Gary!
    Like all the social media tools, Pinterest has potential.
    Thanks for the examples, this always helps get the wheels turning :-)

  • Buddy Scalera

    Good post. It is important to start this conversation around content. Pictures are just another form of content and we (as content strategists) need to be part of the marketing plan. Sure you can just start randomly pinning things, but you quickly realize that organizing and curating are the essence of a successful board.

    Buddy Scalera

  • harsh

    nice post… I am always concern about the Marketing especially when
    it comes to Market your new products. Should I hire any
    Product Marketing Agencies
    can look after your complete branding and product marketing. Click