The facts: More than 11 million Pinterest users have driven more online revenue per click than 900 million Facebook users and 140 million Twitter users combined. What's more impressive is that this visual sharing pinboard social network achieved these numbers in roughly a year.
The demographic: Unlike Facebook's relatively modest five-year journey from the college dorm room to your grandma's desktop, Pinterest gained immediate traction in the Midwest with 35-year-old to 50-year-old female craft enthusiasts. It then quickly made its way east and west to a younger 20-something crowd. The 35-year-old to 50-year-old female audience has remained strong while the younger demographic keeps growing.
The interaction: Pinterest is a social setting built around sharing and discovering information about your interests and passions (not around what you ate for lunch today). Its users spend, on average, more time per visit than other social sites because they reap greater rewards through deeper engagement. Users may need to work a little harder to create a pinboard than to post a Facebook status, but the results are worth the effort.
Pair that with the high average household income and 80 percent U.S. female audience and you see why Pinterest is so naturally beneficial to online retail. Simply put, it's the first social platform that allows retailers to interact with consumers in a way that feels authentic and easy.
How to Best Engage
Brands that are succeeding in driving online sales via Pinterest are solidly executing on the following three main principles:
1. Keep it authentic. Retailers concentrating on acquiring more users aren't necessarily focusing on the right area. When creating boards for your retail brand, it's important to note that Pinterest is less about the direct "in your face" branding and more about the lifestyle it supports and encourages — i.e., telling a story with images. Photos of your products can be mixed with lifestyle images, art and anything else that helps build the narrative around them. Etsy is a good example of a company driving online sales via its brand story.