You can have 500 Facebook friends and nobody could care less about 1920’s vintage dresses or farm tractors, but on Pinterest you can find a community of every niche interest. It is a social bookmarking site to collect and organize all links as visual bookmarks on a digital pin board. These boards can be organized into categories with similar characteristics such as food recipes, travel tips, planning a wedding or DIY instructions. However, Pinterest is not only about collecting and organizing – it is a social network where users can like, comment and repin (=share) a pin.
Choate investigated in a recent paper the value of pins and how exposure can be maximized among the millions of pins each day. He identified four key drivers that influence the shareability of image-based content on Pinterest.
Choate combined primary research – composed of ethnography variables for a deeper understanding of the Pinterest users – with social monitoring and web analytics. The research findings concluded in four main drivers: Network Size, Pin Age, other Social Networks and the Source Domain.
- Network Size is a factor that can influence the pin’s reach. However, the network size is not dependent on the number of followers. For regular users with accounts less than 100 followers, the ratio of following and follower indicates a general active engagement on the social network. That is not applicable for publishers such as brands or products. Their number of followers is higher compared to the amount of followings. The pin’s reach is driven by both measurements – followers and following.
- Pin Age causes a positive impact on total interactions in both ways. Whereby older pins generate more interactions due to longer exposure on the platform, users see latest pins at each new log-on and search query.
- Other Social Networks show similar popularity with similar content. This leads to a holistic approach for the social content strategy to leverage the connection between the networks. However, the exposure to content on the social bookmarking site is high compared to other social networks. On average a user spends 89 minutes on Pinterest, 21 minutes on Twitter and 3 minutes on Google+.
- Source Domain consists of domain age and inbound links. Both have a significant influence on interactions on Pinterest. Thus, older domains have more possibilities to accumulate inbound links, although research could not completely verify the relationship. Users share good content more likely, which concludes in a higher likeliness in interactions on Pinterest. Well-known brands have the possibility to be shared more likely due to a higher awareness or equity of the brand compared to a personal blog.
Chaote’s paper is a first research attempt to understand the users on Pinterest better and to find answers as to how they act and why. The benefits of Pinterest are numerous. Businesses should realise the value of sharing behaviour within a social network to increase brand engagement through visual stimulation. It can improve the search engine ranking as part of a holistic content strategy approach. The use of Pinterest should be considered especially for selling goods due to its advantage of a high sales conversion and higher revenue per click.
Note: This is a blog post originally posted on the UCD Digital Marketing Blog.