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The Pain and Peril of Pinterest Promos

  |  June 13, 2012   |  Comments

A look at the obstacles to marketing on Pinterest. Yet it's still worth the aggravation.

Consumers have jumped onto Pinterest in a big way, quickly making it the third largest social site and an irresistible magnet for marketers to reach engaged users. Leading brands have extended their visual assets for consumption and sharing and retailers are finding Pinterest a strong driver for both traffic and revenue. In fact, a recent Shopify study pegged Pinterest users as a bit older and more affluent than other social demos and much more likely to convert to a sale. All good news for Pinterest and for marketers. But there are some undeniable growing pains for the new kid on the block; many of the pains surround the administrative and analytics tools and capabilities that marketers have come to expect and rely on when using social sites for specific marketing objectives.

Some pain points can be overcome with manual workarounds, so this should not deter marketers from using this extremely powerful reach vehicle in support of their goals. Just be aware of potential obstacles still in place.

Pinterest Promo Obstacles

  • No insights to track impressions or other analytics. Measurability is the mantra in digital marketing. If you want to test a new channel, audience, site, or approach, you need to be able to assess that performance against other potential plan allocations. That's hard to do without analytics in place. To get more insights on each pin, use new programs like Pinerly or Curalate to get impressions and clicks on each pin.
  • Delayed results. Pinterest is slow to record repins, likes, and comments. This inhibits optimization programs and may create the wrong signals from your most recent actions.
  • No easy way to see who repinned each image. The pin only shows a few (not all) of the people who took action to share your image, which creates a manual burden to track repins from the emails Pinterest sends out. There is a lot of inefficient Excel jockeying when working with a Pinterest promo!
  • Pinterest is still a new site and has a very small support team. The team isn't quick to respond to email and the site still has a lot of kinks.
  • There's no easy way to message people who have participated in a Pinterest promo. There are no emails attached to Pinterest profiles so if you have a winner you have to message them through Facebook and hope for the best. Make sure you account for that in your rules.

Yet, Pinterest Is Still Worth the Aggravation

  • Pinterest is a huge traffic driver. People who like your pin are also likely to click through to the website.
  • Pins are more likely to be shared.
  • Pinterest has very strong discovery mechanisms in place. This includes robust search functionality, keywords, and more. And people use Pinterest exactly in that way - to find and share new, interesting images, products, and places.
  • When people are on Facebook, they like to stay there and aren't as likely to click external links. Pinterest, on the other hand, encourages people to click away and go to the pin's origin. One solution for social promos that might incorporate the best of two social worlds is to create a tab on Facebook, and have users enter their email address and a link to their repin on Facebook to be qualified to win.

Hopefully someone will step in soon with a more elegant solution to make Pinterest ready for marketing. Maybe it will be Pinterest's internal development team or perhaps Pinterest will be acquired and integrated with tools that already exist. It could be a partner company with deep insights that will define the pain points and therefore the solutions sets required for marketers to fully leverage all that Pinterest has to offer. Or it could be a couple of guys or gals in a garage somewhere ready to explode on the scene with the definitive administrative and analytics tool set for Pinterest. The opportunity is just too sweet to let these pain points tarnish the potential impact that Pinterest might have for marketers.

Have you found a streamlined way to use Pinterest as a promotion vehicle?

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Robin Neifield

Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.

Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.

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