Mindshare's Point of View on Pinterest
Everyone is talking about Pinterest right now and with its growing user base, brands are wondering if this is the next social platform for which they need to start preparing a strategy. With new look profile pages rolled out last week at SXSW, reminiscent of Facebook timeline, it's certainly getting a lot of press.
What Pinterest is can be deciphered in the name: a digital pin board where you can create page "boards" related to your interest categories. With early adopters flocking from interest areas such as Arts, Design, Architecture, Crafts, Food & Fashion with no limit to the topic areas you might want to pin against this is rapidly expanding to Products, Retail & Brands.
Add to this the social aspect of reviewing others peoples' boards, following your friends' boards, full integration with Twitter and Facebook, and you have a site that is growing dramatically in user base every day. According to eMarketer, Pinetrest grew 512% from October 2010 to October 2011. ComScore reported 11.7 million unique monthly users in the USA alone in Jan 2012, making it the fastest growing standalone site. Similar growth patterns are being seen in other regions, France +50%, Germany +2956%, Italy +794%, Spain +1348% & UK +79% between May 2011 and Jan 2012 (ComScore).
Consumers find Pinterest a highly influential and addictive site as evidenced in the amount of traffic the site is sending to other destinations. As a social platform it is showing consumers of likeminded nature via search functionality content related to their interests. Users can then view in brief on boards or in detail by clicking through to the sites it came from. Further they can re-pin it to their own boards scaling it across their own social graphs and further fuelling its reach potential. The high viral influence of posts is a big factor of consideration for brands in getting their message on to Pinterest.
Demographics wise early reports for the USA indicate a higher skew to females, whereas for the UK the split is reported to be more evenly distributed with a 56% male audience. The geographic, content and demographic profiling is bound to keep evolving relative to the content being pinned opening up more interest groups and connecting more like minded individuals from an ever widening and more varied backgrounds.
Pinterests commercial model is not yet clear. However, they are actively encouraging brands to build out their spaces on the platform. They have also been testing ways to monetise with a limited time affiliation test for any pins coming from retailers, via Skimlinks, and a disclaimer on their site states they may be looking to support advertising in the future.
Brands have an opportunity to act immediately and start building out content segments for areas they want to own and have sufficient collateral or partnerships. Early adopters will have long term gains by becoming subject matter experts on topics in and around their brands associated interests.
Brands also need to consider how consumers are representing them on the platform. The current site's copyright terms are comprehensive for the USA but are less so for consumers pinning brands from other markets. Brands need to be conscious that they are likely already being pinned by consumers, with the potential to be pinned in less than savoury ways; for examples, a search on Coke brings up an interesting array of results. Acting first will help to mitigate this by popularising your own content and building out your own follower base.
The real power of the platform is still playing out. However, Pinterest has very rapidly moved from the "one-to-watch" to the "one to act" category. Those who adopt early will have the longest term gains. Brands can find more guidelines here ( http://pinterest.com/mshahab/brands-businesses-blogs-on-pinterest/) as well as contacting Mindshare who is assisting several clients in building out their Pinterest strategy and approach.