InsightsCustomer behaviourPin down your holiday season strategy like a boss

Pin down your holiday season strategy like a boss

Jenna Landi, Head of Brand Insights at Pinterest unpacks consumer insights, trends, and the marketing essentials

30-second summary:

  • Besides being one of the internet’s kindest corners, Pinterest is a community to 459 million people globally
  • Eight out of 10 of Pinterest’s predictions for 2020 and 2021 came true, proving that it is a reliable window into the future of consumer behavior
  • Here’s a closer look at the new age consumer’s discovery mindset and tips on how marketers can create possibly one of their most successful holiday campaigns this year

Our team at Pinterest analyzes millions of data points to identify emerging consumer behaviors across industries ranging from retail and fashion to food & beverage, automotive, finance, and more. Our annual ‘Pinterest Predicts‘ report serves as a strong avenue for advertisers in one of history’s most uncertain times. With more than 459 million people using Pinterest to find tomorrow’s ideas it is no longer just a place where trends are foreseen but also a trusted corner of the internet where these trends are created and consumed the most. Therefore, it’s no surprise that eight out of 10 of our predictions for 2020 and our predictions for 2021 came true. Pinterest is a window into the future because it’s the place where people go to plan it.

Our CMO Andrea Mallard shared a personal example of how the platform is a planner’s paradise for every consumer.

Pinterest CMO on trends for the holiday season

With an intention to help fellow marketers create possibly one of their most successful holiday campaigns this year, here are some of my thoughts on consumer behaviors, discovery, and strategy that will inform brands for the upcoming holiday season and 2022.

Understanding the new age consumer’s discovery mindset

After 18 grueling months of challenging our routines, norms, spaces, and ourselves, we’re seeing that the discovery mindset has never been more ever-present — or urgently needed. It is a key element in our lives today that keeps us going and adapting to new situations in a world that throws new curveballs every day. These are a few signals that we see within the consumer’s discovery mindset today:

It is forward-looking and aspirational

Our lives have changed in fundamental ways, and it’s no surprise that the consumer mindset is all about flexibility and about dreaming what could be. They’re imagining themselves in different careers, in different cities, in different relationships, and are actively manifesting these ambitions.

People have reclaimed the future in a new way this year, after making so many bold moves. What comes next is full of opportunity and possibility! One of my favorite Pinterest Predicts trends is called ‘Bet On Yourself’, where CEO is the new DIY. People are coming to Pinterest to plan bold new chapters for their work lives, dreaming of what could be in a realm where they re-think their day-to-day gig. Amidst millions of searches, we saw searches like “business branding”, “podcast designs”, and “accounting basics” and more coming to life on Pinterest.

It is thirsty for inspiration and unafraid of failure

I bet many people surprised themselves this past year and a half – they tried something new and it stuck. Bravo! This is a widely adopted behavior that we’re seeing on Pinterest; people don’t always know their hobbies, inclinations, and passions.  So it makes sense that it’s about getting lots of inspiration, about hearing from lots of perspectives, about trying (and failing!) at new things.

We saw searches “for beginners” explode last year. One of my favorites was the 155 percent YoY growth for ‘skateboard for beginners’ searches. This also made it into Pinterest Predicts in one of my other favorite themes, ‘Progress Not Perfect’, where Pinners really proved to us that no skill is the new masterclass. People bringing this open and active mindset, be it to pick up a new skill, a new recipe, or a new look, is one of the things that’s so special about the experience and community on Pinterest.

It is personalized

The digital revolution has created an era of personalization, but did you know that tailored experiences and content are the largest driver for inspiration? As people learn new things, they are actively translating them into their lives. This manifests on Pinterest as we see trends transcending traditional categories.

Let’s take a food trend that was massive last year, all around charcuterie boards. It was a new format for dining that absolutely exploded on Pinterest. But did you know that every holiday moment in 2021 also had a paired charcuterie board moment? People personalized their meat-and-cheese platters for each and every one of their celebrations.

We shared this with the world in our ‘Epic Charcuterie’ theme in Pinterest Predicts this year, where we saw a 5X increase in searches for breakfast charcuterie boards and a 3X increase in searches for dessert charcuterie boards.

How trends can boost brands’ marketing and advertising strategy for 2021 Q3 and Q4

Trends are a brand’s key to relevance and stand as great opportunities to build a direct bridge into a consumer’s life. It’s a brand’s chance to play a role in something that’s timely and important to consumers. It’s also worth noting that not all trends are created equal. There are fast-moving trends that pass in the blink of an eye, and then there are trends – and spaces – where trends live longer and delve deeper.

The shelf life of a trend on Pinterest is 21 percent longer

While activating against a trend is about being agile and responsive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the window is as short as you think. We learned this year that trends live, on average, 21 percent longer on Pinterest. This window is key for an Advertiser or a Creator that’s hustling to get meaningful and quality content produced and shipped to market. Every minute counts. But, on Pinterest, a trend isn’t just one and done. It’s something that we see people return to repeatedly, as they bring it to life in new ways. This means more opportunity for a brand to play a role.

Here are some examples:

Buick created a campaign around the ‘Little moments of big love’ trend, based on research that people on Pinterest are celebrating even the smallest occasions. And although this trend was born from the parties and events category, that didn’t stop the Auto brand from taking advantage, tapping into the insight that people were hosting movie nights under the stars. The campaign performance exceeded benchmarks with 74 percent higher Video Completion Rate (VCR) compared to auto benchmarks. (Pinterest, internal analysis, August 2021)

Dawn took advantage of the rising food trend ‘Bland is banned’ and launched a trend package based on the spiced-up recipe spike. The result? 24 percent more efficient CPMs than Pinterest’s benchmark for household goods ads. (Pinterest, internal analysis, August 2021)

Brands need to integrate trendspotting practices for real-time relevance

We can’t slow down time but brands can ensure they are agile and equipped to bank on relevant consumer trends. The answer lies with committing to a trendspotting practice.

Right now, for many brands, this function lives in a 20 percent capacity at a junior executive’s desk. Brands need to intentionally shorten the distance between spotting and activating which is why at Pinterest, this function is integrated into our marketing insights. It’s also about organizing your sources. We share a curated insights report with our advertisers every week. It’s important to be thoughtful about where you are spotting your trends. Niche is important, but too niche might not be the right space for your brand.

Marketing leaders need to ask themselves and their teams, “how can we develop and rely on partnerships for trends, in addition to what you’ve built in-house? How can we help contextualize what we’re seeing as a potential opportunity for our brand?”

Top consumer trends in retail, ecommerce, and technology

Today, retail and ecommerce are one. Omni-channel and on-demand thrive. But we’re also increasingly observing that integrity and sustainability are important for consumers.

We see this in a growing appetite and eagerness to rediscover a love of shopping, and mindfully. Consumers want to know from who they are buying and the backgrounds of the materials items are made of, instead of just mindless buying.

In the realm of technology, people are also getting increasingly intentional about where and how they spend their time. Doom scrolling is ever-present, and consumers are combatting it by bringing more mindfulness into their digital commitments.

Additionally, content fragmentation is real. This revising of their time spent reflects where consumers seek content. They are pursuing content that’s relevant to their life, that gives them something back. Brands need to commit to a practice and to platforms that give back to their consumer’s life in productive and fulfilling ways.

The recipe for crafting a successful Pinterest campaign

The pillars for a great marketing campaign on Pinterest would be on two I’s – Insight and Inspiration.

As a researcher I’m biased, but every great campaign has to start with great insight. What’s the truth of what’s happening, and why is that important for your brand (and the goal of the campaign)?

According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95 percent of purchases are emotional. While inspiration is an integral sentiment forming buying decisions it’s also tricky and understudied with huge potential to drive brand differentiation and connection. We’re doing a number of explorations and experiments all into the role, and potential, that inspiration holds as an opportunity for brands.

The four data-backed dimensions of inspiration

This year, through a combination of extensive qualitative research, samples of 15,000 Pins, and a semiotics AI analysis, we uncovered a universal definition of inspiration.

“Inspiration is compromised for four key dimensions.”

These dimensions are tools that brands can use to help create successful and inspiring content and Pinterest campaigns.

1. Visually captivating

Does the image pop from the page or catch your eye? Does it look authentic, genuine, real?

2. Fresh perspectives

Is the content unexpected? Does it make you curious? Does it give you a new idea or a fresh take? A fresh perspective can act as the seed for inspiration.

3. Tailored

How does this idea speak to its audience? Tailored is truly personal, and we found it to be the biggest driver of overall inspiration.

4. Motivating

Does the image make you want to get up and take action – to make, bake, build, grow? Motivating content is aspirational but attainable, is simple and inviting, and is often instructional.

I hope this gives you something new to consider as you integrate trends into your holiday marketing strategy this year. And stay tuned for more inspirational trends coming from Pinterest this December with the launch of our 2022 Pinterest Predicts report.


Jenna Landi leads the Brand Insights team at Pinterest, conducting global research around what inspires Pinners today. Having first started her research career at Nielsen as an Emerging Leader, Jenna went on to become Research Director in both London and New York, where she focused on global digital analytics. Following her time at Nielsen, Jenna led bespoke client consults at Google on their Human Truths team. Jenna now resides in Brooklyn with her husband Patrick, daughter Natalie, and pup Bridget.

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