Does Pinterest work for business? Do 1 in 4 people really buy? Really?

Apr 19, 2012 Comments Off by

Can Pinterest work for business? I’ve been wondering about this. Then I came across a report on Bizrate Insights about Pinterest and other image sharing sites, saying 1 in 4 online buyers buy after seeing an image on these sites.  I found it astonishing. And unbelievable. There has to be more to it…

smarter strategies with pinterest

Here’s a quote from the report:

“Of those who have visited at least one of the most popular social image sharing sites, over 1 in 4 have made a purchase based off of images found on the site.  An additional 37% have found items they have wanted to purchase but did not at that time.”

The survey shows not only have 32% of all buyers bought a product after seeing the image, but 26% of all buyers say they have clicked the image to go straight to the retailer and purchased the product.

Of course the survey result does not mean these people buy every product or click on every image. But it does claim they have done it.

I have concerns about the selection of the survey sample and other aspects of it, but let’s put those points to one side for the moment. Let’s look at Pinterest.  Yes, it’s an image sharing site.  More importantly, it’s a social network.

Visitors to Pinterest are often not just viewing an image. These images are often added to Pinterest (aka ‘pinned’) so they can then be viewed between trusted friends. Such peer-group recommendations carry a lot of weight, especially amongst within a  fashion-conscious peer-group.  And Pinterest seems to be attracting a predominantly female user base. wrote a blog post recently called So Pinterest Is A Woman’s World. Does That Matter?   Here’s an extract from the post:

“Beyond its visual appeal, another thing quickly stands out on a first visit to Pinterest: a somewhat feminine orientation. The opening page is wallpapered with images of women’s outfits, DIY craft projects, recipes and wedding dresses. According to various reports, 58 percent to 97 percent of Pinterest users are female.”

Social media goddess Laurel Papworth wrote about social media ROI the other day, explaining that smarter social media strategies are not just about attracting people and gaining “Likes”.   Laurel said “INFLUENCERS with networks that respond to call to action are heaps more effective than a dead Twitter and Facebook page with heaps of Followers but not Activity.”   (Read Laurel’s full post here.)

If  Pinterest can attract and harness the strong female Influencers, then it is not surprising that others  in their peer groups and related  communities will buy products after seeing beautifully-crafted images on Pinterest and similar sites.

And I guess I probably now have to believe the stats in the survey.  

Social networking is NOT a fad, but personally, I still think Pinterest could be a fad social network.  I guess time will tell.  

But what would I know anyway?  I’m not being sexist, but obviously I’m a bloke  (aka an Aussie male), and we all know “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”.  Perhaps Pinterest is from Venus too…

As a footnote,  a Sydney-based digital design agency called Holler has moved its entire website onto Pinterest as an experiment.  When I first saw it ( just yesterday)  I thought Holler was nuts.  But I know Mike Hill, the CEO and Founder.  He is a smart guy, and Holler is different and cool.   Then I figured  maybe Mike and his team also know the key influencers in their clients’ businesses are probably female.  

For Holler, this could be a smart move…  They are getting heaps of publicity from this move, and they will learn from it – plus Mike and the Holler team can always crank out  a new website when they want one. 

Protecting your business name and brand online is important.  Leaving your online business operations totally in the hands of Pinterest or Facebook or any other 3rd party platform makes little sense to me – and I would not recommend other businesses to do the same as Holler.  (Unless the business wants to show pretty pictures to women  who then go on to buy things…   Hmmm. More food for thought.    :)  

What do you think?  Is Pinterest here to stay?  And does it work for your business?


Extra Update: Added 19 April 

A few weeks ago Pinterest was exposed to have been using a 3rd party affiliate network Skimlinks to change many of the links on images on Pinterest to those that have Skimlinks affiliate links – with Pinterest receiving 75% of the affiliate sales commission when a product is purchased and Skimlinks taking 25%.

There is a lot on this story here.  ( )

Pinterest were not declaring that these link changes were happening.  (Not good or smart on their part.) They have since ceased this mildly dodgy practice and have apparently ceased using Skimlinks.

I tweeted about this a while back and wondered whether to include this info in my post on Pinterest. (above). I did not want to confuse the issues, so decided not to.

I also learnt today that Pinterest is starting to block affiliate links to Amazon. There is more on this here at

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