Social media can be a bit of a minefield for online retailers. There is a huge number of social networks, and more are sprouting seemingly by the day. With so many options, it’s difficult to know where to target a limited social marketing budget to get the best ROI. The big guys are a no-brainer, every e-commerce operation should have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, and ideally on Google+. In addition to these mainstays, retailers should definitely be considering Pinterest.
For those of you who are not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a social sharing site with an emphasis on images and videos that is particularly friendly to e-commerce. It allows users to find items on e-commerce sites, and “pin” and categorize them. Pinned items can display videos or images, as well as prices and links back to the product page.
What’s most interesting about Pinterest is the speed at which it has grown. It’s currently the third largest social network in the US, behind Facebook and Twitter, but ahead of Google+ and Youtube. Of specific interest to retailers is the rapid increase in Pinterest referral rates to retail sites over the last year. According to a study from Monetate, in the first quarter of 2011, Pinterest accounted for 1 percent of referral traffic to retail sites, by the same period of this year, it was 26 percent. Over the same time period referral traffic from Facebook dropped from 88 percent to 60 percent. Both of these took place against an overall referral rate increase of 77 percent. The take-home message here is clear: social media is a necessity for e-commerce, and with a year-on-year increase in referral rates of 2,535 percent by the second quarter of this year, Pinterest should be a focus of retailers’ social media strategy.
Sweeter still, figures from Shopify show that referrals from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to result in a conversion than those from other social networks, and that the average spend of Pinterest referrals is double that of Facebook. These figures are likely due to the result of Pinterest generating much more targeted referrals than other social networks. Pinterest generates an interest graph of interconnected individuals of shared interests, rather than a social graph of individuals related by friendships and other social connections, making shares much more likely to find someone of similar interests and tastes.
If all this whets your appetite for a bit of pinning, there is a Magento extension that will put a “Pin It” button on your store’s product page.
If you’ve had any experiences with Pinterest and your Magento store or WordPress site, let us know in the comments or on Twitter.