Take Advantage of Pinterest’s “Buying Intent”

Last week Cynthia Boris pointed me to some new social site research which found that while Facebook may come with the larger user base, Pinterest offers something even more valuable to marketers – users looking to buy. For small business owners, that’s the kind of social media finding we want to hear!

Marketing Pilgrim reported on a Bizrate Insight survey which asked consumers to list the reasons they use certain social media sites and compared the results. The most recent survey centered on Facebook and Pinterest. Here’s what users had to say:

The study found that 69 percent of consumers who have visited Pinterest found an item they either purchased or wanted to purchase, compared to only 40 percent for Facebook. Perhaps even more noteworthy is 70 percent of consumers said they use Pinterest for inspiration about things to buy, 67 percent use it to keep track of things they like, and another 67 percent said they use it to keep up with trends related to interests they like.

Facebook may be the preferred site to connect with friends, but Pinterest is about users expressing themselves through the products they love. I know I often scout my friends’ Pinterest boards to figure out what to get them for special occasions. Pinterest gives us a way to keep track of the items we’re interested in. It’s like a scrapbook for the products we want for ourselves.

Another interesting stat from the survey revealed that Pinterest users are more likely to be Creators of content, than Participants of that content. On Facebook users spend more time interacting with the promotional activities of the brand, but on Pinterest it’s the users who are creating the content and those brand associations. Even if you’re not currently using Pinterest, your audience may be using it for you.

As a marketer, we want to take advantage of the strong buying intent found on Pinterest. If you know that consumers are using Pinterest as their brand scrapbook, you want to get in there. So how should you get started?

First, check out our earlier Small Business Pinterest Starter Guide to advice, best practices, and helpful starting pints. But then do some competitive intelligence to understand what is being shared on Pinterest and what works/doesn’t.  Familiarizing yourself with the lay of the land is your first real stop to uncovering the opportunity that exists.

To help you gather this kind of competitive intel, I’d recommend using some of the tools my friend and colleague Mat Siltala recently shared during last week’s Pubcon. They will all help you to learn about the conversation already happen so you can hop in smarter.
Below are some of the tools Mat shared.

  • PinAlerts: This is a popular tool that offers real-time alerts anytime someone pins content from your website. If you’re looking to understand what kind of information does the best on Pinterest, whose engaging with your content, or just get a better sense of how you’re already performing, this is a good place to get started. You can also enter in a competitor URL to get information about how they’re doing and get additional ideas.
  • PinPuff: Will calculate your “pinfluence” to help you see your popularity, reach and influence on the social site. It also decides monetary value of your pins & traffic your pins generate.
  • Pinery: This tool will not only offer insight about how your content is doing on Pinterest, it also acts as a dashboard to organize the information for you, offers suggestions about who to follow, builds campaigns, and even allows you to schedule pins the same way you can schedule tweets or Facebook updates. [PinGraphy is another tool that offers scheduled pins.]

Lastly, if you just want to know which content of yours (or a competitor) has already been shared,  type the following URL into your address bar, switching out yourwebsite.com for your actual site.


This will give you a good baseline of where you stand because it will bring up all the content from your domain (or someone else’s domain) which has already been shared and commented on.

With 70 percent of consumers using Pinterest for purchase inspiration, that’s a signal marketers want to know about. Are you using Pinterest? Do you have any plans to?

More in: 19 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

19 Reactions
  1. Wow! That’s compelling. I’m sorry I missed Mat’s presentation now. Do you think Pinterest will add some functionality to make it quicker to get from a pinned picture to actual purchase?

  2. Less than a year ago I had not heard of Pinterest. Today it is one of the most visited sites on the web.

    This article is mostly about encouraging users to make specific purchases. Any advice on how Pinterest can be used to drive traffic to a site in general?

  3. Hi Lisa,

    Pintrest is really starting to peek my interest as far as expanding my brand and driving more traffic to my blog. I have an account but I hardly use. I’m not too sure how to utilize Pintrest with my business seeing that it’s content / e-info product based. I think that this info is really helpful for those small biz’s that offer tangible products. I’ve been reading up quiet a bit about Pintrest and I’m thinking about experimenting with it to see how it works out for me. Thanks for this post; I appreciate it!


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