Posts Tagged ‘pinterest’

Is Pinterest Gunning for Google?

Given the amount of money being thrown at fast-growing startups and social media services, it should come as no surprise that Pinterest raised $200-million last week. The deal gives Pinterest a valuation of $5-billion.

Putting aside the $200-million, the most interesting aspect is how Pinterest appears to be positioning itself as a rival to Google.

PinterestOn Read Write Web, Lauren Orsini argues Pinterest is going head to head with Google by evolving from a social media network into a powerful visual search engine.

“Pinterest’s last few technological developments have had the site shifting from social sharing to a more explicit focus on search and discovery. It’s clear that the company no longer sees itself as an image-driven social network. Instead, it’s a database of billions of images, selected and categorized by consumers and brands, ripe for discovery. 

Many of those images are of objects one can buy—home decor, clothing, food, and the like—making Pinterest a powerful driver of traffic to e-commerce sites and a way for new brands to get discovered by consumers. Today, those businesses might spend money on Google search ads. Tomorrow, they might turn to Pinterest.”

This is one of the most interesting things about Pinterest, which emerged as a user-friendly place to share images and videos. Keep in mind, Pinterest was not an overnight success story. It has been kicking around for a couple of years before it moved into the spotlight, driven by women who gravitated to the service as a way to share their enthusiasm for products such as furniture, clothing and shoes.

Armed with an enthusiastic group of users, Pinterest has methodically improved and updated itself to become a friendlier place for advertisers and e-commerce players. At the same time, it has managed to maintain the essence that made it so popular, which is difficult to achieve.

By becoming a search engine as opposed to a place to “pin” things people like and recommend, Pinterest appears to have achieved something many online services fail to do: transform itself into something with good business prospects, rather than simply a popular service.

With $200-million in its war chest, it will be interesting to see how Pinterest’s next act unfolds.




Millennials Use Different Social Networks to Buy Different Products

According to eMarketer, nearly 70% of millennials are influenced by social media when it making purchases.

It may not be a surprising result given millennials are activity engaged with social media to communicate and engage with friends and brands.

What needs to be taken from the study, conducted at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, are the products most affected by social media, and how it is an opportunity for digital marketers.

If your audience involves millennials, the need to be on social media is becoming more important than other mediums.

One of the key points within the study is millennials use different social networks for different products. This makes the job of the digital marketer that much more difficult and intricate.

The usual suspects are no surprise: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. But they are being utilized in specific ways.

Twitter appears to be the place to gather influence for food and drink. Technology lovers seem to use Facebook to make purchase decisions or influence their networks.

Hair and beauty, food and drink, technology and electronics were the main product categories most positively affected in terms of sales by social media.

For digital marketers, it is important to remember that social conversations have the real chance of leading to action. It means brands can see products fly off the shelves if they have the right strategy and presence.

Many believe social media doesn’t equate to revenue, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s where many purchases for millennials and others start. It can also be where they end given users tend to post their thoughts about recent purchases.

Digital marketers need to embrace this consumer insight. Then, they need to make sure they are present, active and connecting with users to drive more sales.


Predicting the Future is Key to Social Media Success

social_media-crystal_ballCompanies all over the world are either deep into their digital strategies and social media executions, or are at least starting to test the waters to see what all the fuss is about.

While both of these approaches are necessary and commendable to varying degrees, the problem lies in the fact that you need to recognize the landscape changes often and those who adapt succeed.

Social media is a world where nothing is static and you need to predict the future of the technology, industry and  what your competitors are doing to stay relevant and receive that much needed return on investment.

If you’re a digital marketer, try thinking about where social media was two or three years ago. Did you know about Pinterest or Vine, and  they would burst onto the scene as another digital marketing tactic?

Did you anticipate the changes Google would implement putting even more emphasis on social media? It’s okay if the answer is no, but going forward there’s real value in knowing what is coming around the bend.

It’s a medium constantly in flux. Organizations who were part of the first wave of Vine enthusiasts were rewarded. The onus is on you to be the first to jump on the next wave.

Remember you also need to predict what will drop in popularity going forward. Will Pinterest lose some of its steam or perhaps Google+ becomes the most popular social network in North America?

Strategically, you can’t surround yourself with psychics and fortune tellers. Instead, you have to monitor the industry and get your feet wet in different networks and technologies. Standing on the sidelines will not suffice.

Ask yourself this, the organizations that were the first to succeed on a new network that is grossly popular today…what drove them there first?

Nothing is outside the realm of possibility when it comes to social media. Drive the bandwagon and try to get off before the other passengers do.

Burberry: A Leading Social Media Fashion Brand

burberryWhile there are many brands doing great things with social media, some of the most successful brands are in the fashion business. It’s an industry  all digital marketers should pay watch.

Building a proper brand takes a savvy and experienced team of digital marketers.  As well, every brand need a strategy. Fashion brands seem to be great forward thinkers when it comes to social media.

Out of all of them, the best digital brand from the world of fashion might be Burberry.

There’s a few things that separate Burberry from the rest of their competitors. For starters, they have a fearless nature when it comes to trying new platforms; a tactic that serves them well and lets them be one of the quickest to build a social presence.

Burberry is very active and they seem intent on engaging with their fans and followers on a daily basis. Their work on Pinterest seems to be the most compelling.

The best thing Burberry does is they make their digital brand fully reflect the brand they have worked hard to build in the offline world. It feels high-end, exclusive and highlights products that any fashion aficionado should want.

As you can tell, there’s a lot to learn from Burberry and you would be best served by looking into what they do and how they do it.

What industries do you think use social media the best?

Pinterest: The King of E-commerce Influence

We all have our favourite e-commerce Websites or places that we go to when we want to find new, shiny things to buy.

Most of us have accepted that these sites influence us and introduce us to new products and services.

Facebook was seen as one of the most influential players when it came to consumers’ buying decisions, but a recent survey by BizRate Insight has unearthed a brand new development.

Pinterest is influencing buying decisions greater than any other popular forum.

While Facebook is still the king of all social networks (ignoring their recent stock market issues for a moment), Pinterest naturally gives people the fever and will to purchase products online.

This might be the best way for Pinterest to position itself going forward, especially as the expected competition becomes much more fierce.

As for any brand or marketing and communications department, this is where more time needs to be invested to discover an increase in e-commerce sales. You have to build tactics focused on Pinterest and the appeal of posting photos, videos and graphics.

As we all know things in social media change fast, but Pinterest’s hold on our buying psyche might only tighten as we go forward.

It would be a good idea for everyone not to resist but delve deep into Pinterest and find out if it is the best place for you to discover what you want to buy next.

More: Tara Hunt had an interesting post in Forbes about how Facebook is a social graph while Pinterest is an interest graph.


The Story Behind Pinterest’s Soaring Popularity

PinterestIt is difficult to catch lightning in a bottle, and this is particularly evident in social media where hundreds, if not thousands, of new services battle to become the next Twitter or Facebook.

As a result, it’s fascinating to get the back story on how a social media service managed to somehow capture the imagination of millions of peole.

Case in points is Pinterest, which after scuffling along, has become the latest social superstar with more than 23 million visitors a month.

At the Web Summit conference last week in Dublin, co-founder Paul Sciarra provided some insight into Pinterest’s history and how it connected with millions of users.

Keep in mind, Pinterest is not an overnight success story. It was around two years before it started to catch fire about a year ago.

Sciarra said when Pinternet launched originally, it was a different product. What they discovered from the people using it was how they liked to “pin” photos so they could come back to them later. In the scheme of things, it was a relatively minor feature but users liked it to Pinterest realized it was an opportunity to pivot in a new direction.

Based on this insight, Pinterest turned into the Pinternet we know today. Sciarra said while there are a growing number of similar services, Pinterest has been able to maintain its stature due to features such as Repin and Like, as well as the asymmetrical user interface that makes it easy to browse content.

The big question facing Pinterest is how it plans to make money. Sciarra, who left Pinterest last April, said the focus was always to build a “great business as well as a great product”.

“When you guild great business, you can continue to develop the product. We made a point form the outset to not just included strictly commercial content but a lot portion of the content share on Pinterest has some commercial interest,” he said.

“You will probably see additional ways for people to act on that content built into the platform. It will be a form of advertising but definitely not display advertising. It will be a way to show people content they will be excited about.”



Social Media’s Surprising Economic Power

The power of PinterestIt’s one of those stories that companies dream will happen to them: Rod Works, a home décor company with retail locations in the western U.S., had a moderate social media presence and no e-commerce on its site, but it did have a strong product line.

Then a woman named Lindsay, on her blog, Country Girl Home, posted a picture of a decorative rod from Rod Works over a sofa table last year.

That image made it onto Pinterest, and got re-pinned again and again. A pinner noted you could buy the fancy iron rod from Rod Works.

The company was inundated with requests to buy the rod. The company quickly got itself organized and got e-commerce tacked onto its site in a matter of months. When things were finally up and running in February 2012, it did great sales on the rod, and other items too.

The interesting thing about this little success story is how social media can transform a company, but it really can’t be forced. Having great products, loyal customers and solid customer service still drives success.

Rod Works didn’t actually leverage social media itself, but it was flexible enough to change its business when the masses came knocking.

While the company did have a social media presence at the time, it wasn’t pushing it very hard. Yet, it was able to respond to the power of Pinterest, and cash in on its power.

You won’t be surprised to hear Rod Works now has a nicely put together Pinterest page. And its clocks and wrought iron tchotchkes are actually quite pretty.

Referral: The New Sexy Traffic

PinterestTurns out it doesn’t matter how many visitors a social media site has quite as much as it matters how much referral traffic it generates.

Makes sense: while the owners of a popular social media destination might be thrilled to have visitors and members in the millions, those numbers don’t help businesses understand if their activity doesn’t drive people back to their home page, picture or story.

And one to watch of late in the referral traffic game is Pinterest. The latest numbers from Shareaholic, big fans of the referral traffic numbers game, says the visually driven social site is on the rise, capturing 1.19% of Web referrals compared to 0.85% in January.

It’s moved past Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google (not its main search engine but other sites such as Google+.

FYI, it’s the main Google page that’s really running the referral traffic game, with 46.8% of referrals, but that’s down from 48.9% in January. Facebook is a big player too with 5.65%, the biggest social media site on the list.

StumbleUpon and Twitter are based on the idea of referrals: you come here, we send you elsewhere. The fact that Pinterest is surpassing them is of major interest. It’s amore proof the pinning site, which has more than 12 million users, is really capturing imaginations, and clicks.

And more evidence that the value of a social media service can be measured in a myriad of ways. For those who hang out, it’s about sticking around and chatting. For those who want to promote a business, it’s about clicking out.

The Fancy Piggybacks on Pinterest

Another day, another popular social media network has arisen.  The Fancy has gained a lot of steam from fans of Pinterest and avid fans of online shopping.

Similar to Pinterest, users of The Fancy are asked to publish photos of things they love. But unlike Pinterest you can purchase the items that pique your fancy. Pretty clever.

The Fancy claims to have about $50,000 (a disputed number) of merchandise and travel purchased per week, a number that will likely rise in the near future. Whatever the real profits at this time isn’t a big factor, the elements for success exist.

Let’s be honest, social media needs more creative forums, and The Fancy hopes to join Pinterest in the elite second tier.

The trick to this new shiny social media toy may be the promotions and offers. Couple this with the functionality of the website and the user base, and it could reach some great heights.

There are some negatives to The Fancy right off the bat (beyond the muddy financials), primarily that to add an e-commerce element, you need more than photos. Most users want context before making a purchase.

Another potential downfall is there is inherently less personal attachment than Pinterest. Pinterest’s bread and butter is the use images to extend your personality to the public. When you add shopping, you lose some of the personal element.

As well, The Fancy’s Website looks like a classy WordPress template, and not much more. This is where they can learn a lot from Pinterest.

Have you heard of or checked out The Fancy yet? Does it heighten the online shopping or pinboard experience?

Who Owns What on Social Media?

Who owns what?

Consumers love social media sites because they offer free services we can access just about anywhere, anytime, and do what we like there. But we pay for the service in a number of subtle ways. One being the right to own what we create.

The debate over copyright materials posted on social media sites seems to come and go, and rear up again every time something changes.

For instance, the recent revelation that Twitter is making billions selling its comprehensive archives of tweets — data that, taken cumulatively, has the power to predict election outcomes and consumer spending — has given many individual users pause.

This is because Twitter won’t let you see your own archived posts. Within a week or so, an individual’s Twitter feed drops off the computer screen and goes into the pool of the billion or so tweets written every month on the site.

This is in contrast to Facebook, which lets you see all your old posts and messages. Mind you, you’re “paying” for this service via advertising and the selling of your information, but just in different, but still potentially worrying, ways.

Over to Pinterest, the image-driven social media site that has consumer-driven types posting pictures of their favourite shoes, dream wheels, hairstyles and celebrities.

The legal community has been having a good time of late debating the legality of posting copyrighted materials without giving the creator credit, much less asking his or her permission.

Talk of “fair use” and questioning whether anyone would ever bother to sue for posting a photographer’s shot of a wedding dress are offering much fodder for debate.

On an intellectual level, many of us care whether we own what we create and we don’t want to exchange these rights for a free service, or undermine anyone else’s copyright for our own amusement.

But in the digital age, creative ownership is such a grey area that few of us truly understand it, and understand it enough to get truly outraged about it.

Until there’s a case of true harm, or a nasty lawsuit, the notion of intellectual property will remain too fuzzy to impact our social media habits.