6 April 2016 | Team Tamar

Why aren’t more brands promoting on Pinterest?

Pinterest has recently made promoted pins available beyond the US, including the UK, so this opens the platform up for a share of brand marketing budgets, as they pay for the eyeballs of this very receptive audience – or will they?

With regular and steady growth of over 60% a year, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social platforms. With 100 million users, a diverse age range and a similar active user percentage as Instagram – it’s definitely not going anywhere. (Exemplified by its reported revenue in 2015 of five times more  than 2014).

With most users declaring Pinterest the platform of choice for planning meals, fitness tips and most importantly shopping – why have brands in the US been slow to position themselves where users are shopping anyway?

Most users resent being sold anything in their social feed, with all moves towards making their platforms more commercial met with a lengthy groan. Ironically, with nearly 75% of content originating from some sort of business and users actively seeking inspiration, Pinterest is arguably the platform where users are most receptive to purchasing cues.

But brands have been sticking to their guns and mainly focusing the marketing budget on trying to distract somebody on Twitter who is trying to catch up on the latest news or buy space on Facebook when all users really want to do is find out what their friends are up to.

Instagram is frequently the most compared to Pinterest, as its content is so visual and the majority of users are on mobiles – but their feeds look very different. Brands picked up instantly on Instagram promotion and we frequently see sponsored posts, but Pinterest has been much slower in the uptake, despite Pinterest for Business launching promoted pins in 2014.

This is not new news, Pinterest has been criticised for being cautious when it comes to running with large advertising deals. You can see why, when they launched sponsored ads after four years, compared to rival networks like SnapChat that have jumped on advertising within a couple of years and only just opening up beyond the US. However, Pinterest seem unfazed by this reputation and with their ads generating more social ad traffic than Instagram, Snapchat and Linkedin, their confidence is not unfounded.

Surely Pinterest is an easier selling model for relevant brands, not only is it harder to share content on Instagram, but it also has a much younger demographic. Pinterest is full of financial decision makers, seeking inspiration and in ‘buying’ mode at the end of the buying cycle – and waiting for your product.

“We chose Pinterest as our next marketing platform because it let us hone in on our millennial audience during key decision-making moments, especially when they are planning menus or activities during the football season,” Connie Kwok, Digital Manager at Hershey’s U.S.

So, given the above, why have the US brands not been capitalising on this platform as much as other networks or is the sponsorship model so clever, we don’t even know we’re being sold to?


With Instagram having around 300 million active monthly users, this is obviously well ahead of Pinterest’s 40 million. But when you take into account the older demographic, the users generally being up for shopping and how easy Pinterest makes it for users to link to your site – it could still be a better use of brands’ budgets than all the teens on Instagram with less retail focus.


Hungry Women 

It’s widely reported that around 70% of Pinterest users are female. So it’s understandable that if your marketing focus is on men, you’re unlikely to use Pinterest as a marketing tool. Plus, with 57% of shared pins being food related, it’s fair to say that Pinterest has a ‘type’. However, with 40% of pins relating to the home, 30% fashion and around 25% each being product and holiday focused, these users are looking to buy.

Air Time

Simply put, nobody is talking about Pinterest as much as they talk about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s probably the least controversial of the social platforms with most changes going under the radar. Is it as simple, that sometimes this platform just gets overlooked in marketing brainstorms?


There is less urgency on Pinterest to visit frequently. Obviously, nothing can rival the 70% of Facebook or 59% of Instagram’s daily users, but with 27% of pinners visiting daily and 28% visiting weekly it’s not to be ignored. With incentives such as daily meal inspiration to planning a big life event, as their incentive to visiting regularly. However, it may have less urgency on time, but it delivers pins that last a lifetime and in chronological order – so it’s fairly easy to catch up on pins on a weekly basis.


Re-pins, not comments

There is little conversation generally on Pinterest. The interaction is mainly in pinning and liking with many users barely sharing a comment. As you can’t re-gram photos on Instagram (natively) users are forced to share comments in order to show appreciation, beyond just liking.


With the success of autoplay videos on Facebook, especially recipes (two people in the Tamar office have made the Egg in a Hole recipe ) Pinterest has been crying out for video tutorials. They launched animated ads as you scroll a year ago and are recently reported to be moving into full blown video.

Interestingly, L’Oréal ran a campaign pitching static promoted pins against cinematic pins to promote a new eye highlighter with a short tutorial video. The video pins increased purchase intent by 37%, against 31% for the static pins.

“Our audience is there to shop and discover new beauty products—not just scroll for fun—enabling us to capture them in a consideration mindset when they are further down the marketing funnel,” Kristen Comings, VP and President of Integrated Consumer Communications at L’Oréal Paris.

Go where the shopping is…

Along with the other 96% of Pinterest users, at Tamar we regularly use Pinterest to gather information about a purchase and aren’t surprised that 87% of pinners claim Pinterest has helped them make a purchasing decision. So, we’re surprised that so few retailers in the US have been slow to promote their pins to such a receptive audience and we welcome the launch in the UK to add diversity to our marketing campaigns.

The final most compelling stat is that Pinterest frequently comes out on top as the most relaxing of platforms to browse and can even help relieve stress.

So if you’re a brand that sells holidays, fashion, food and drink, health and beauty, interiors, exteriors, gifts – this could be the most natural and easiest platform to catch someone’s eager eye?

Team Tamar