Branding with Pinterest

Emineo Media Pinterest

As anyone on this site is probably aware, Pinterest has become a power when it comes to driving traffic to retail sites. In the wake of this explosion, there’s already been a Emineo Media Pinterestfair amount of wriitng on Pinterest as a marketing tool. We haven’t seen much (a little, not much) regarding Pinterest as a branding tool.

Pinterest has some pretty sweet demographics. Everyone knows the ladies love it. It turns out, those ladies tend to make more than $100,000 per year, while 50% of them are in the coveted 25-45 year old cohort. Half of them have kids. So – upper middle class, harried moms. A simple, attractive, social site like Pinterest is like… tailor made for these folks and some retailers (and some other often surprising brands) have taken notice.

Using Pinterest for Branding

  • Make sure Pinterest fits into your brand and social media strategy. No brainer here, but obviously not every social media outlet is appropriate for every brand. Although some entities and organizations that I wouldn’t have expected (looking at you, US Army)have turned up on Pinterest, and are apparently successful there.
  • Focus on lifestyle, not products. Brands like Whole Foods have been successful on Pinterest, not by posting links to their own products (although they do this), but by promoting a lifestyle that supports their brand. Their pins are shots of beautiful people in beautiful kitchens making beautiful food (hey! That’s available at Whole Foods!) Links to their own products are in the mix, but don’t dominate.
  • Make sure your own photos rock. Look at the other photos in your stream if you’re not a photographer and emulate your favorites. Or hire a professional photographer to shoot your merchandise.
  • Build an online catalog – if you’re a fashion designer, for example, create separate pinboards for your collections. Pretend this doesn’t contradict what I wrote before.
  • Optimize your Website for pinning by making sure it includes great images. On the other hand if images are not a strong suit for your brand, or simply inappropriate for your market, Pinterest may not be the most effective space for you to market. Stay away.
  • Place a “Pin It,” button on your Website, especially if you have great photos of your products. This allows users of your site to easily post images of your amazing wares to their pinboards.

Pinterest still has that “new car smell.”
Right now Pinterest is an exciting new toy. Everyone loves it and almost everyone is using it, but we still don’t know if this is a long-term success or a flash in the pan.

Regardless of its staying power, though, the most important keys to effectively using it for branding are not that different from any other branding tool. Know your market. Measure your results. Be consistent and persistent. Don’t contradict your core brand values. Finally, Pinterest’s strengths (simplicity, visual flair) lend themselves to having fun with it. So have fun!

Source Social Media Today


The Pinterest Effect

emineo media pinterest

Facebook challenged us years ago to think of our current surroundings and report back to our networks in short bursts of information. I am feeling ___. I am doing ___. I like ___. These were the posts that defined us minute by minute. Twitter too got us conditioned to report on what we were seeing/hearing/tasting/reading at any given moment. Again text and hyperlinks was the preferred communications currency. emineo media pinterest

The lingua franca has changed dramatically in the past year or so as we now prefer to describe and define our world in images. Tumblr may have initiated some of this, but it’s really taken off with Instagram and now Pinterest. Pinterest and Instagram have a modest 25 million users combined, but their potential impact on social media and social media marketing are profound. Search and discovery on Instagram takes you through a vivid world of lush dishes of food, stunning landscapes, cool fashions and must-see events. Flipping through Instagram, I’ve learned of two new restaurants I’m dying to try out in Rome and I even discovered a photography exhibit that turned out to be brilliant. Pinterest has even greater potential as the scrapbook style layout and stunning snaps create a world where you just want to search and explore and explore some more. Site engagement is through the roof on Pinterest, research shows. It’s becoming clear that “to pin” has become the new “like.” Please let us know your favorite pins and pics.

Source SMI


Pinterest Keep & Engages Members: An Inside Look

emineo media source_domains

Pinterest is the hottest young site on the internet.  In the past six months, the social sharing tool has gone from effectively non-existent to one of the top 100 sites on the web (and is on track to break into Alexa’s Top 50).

Pinterest’s traffic charts aren’t hockey sticks– they’re rocket ships.  In our experience, when traffic is growing that sharply there is often something even more amazing going on under the hood. We wanted to see if the usage and engagement numbers for Pinterest were as remarkable as its traffic and gain insights into exactly what was driving growth. Unfortunately, the company has kept very quiet when it comes to its data.

A full report is below, but here are a few highlights from their findings:

  • Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history.
  • Pins link to a tremendously large universe of sites.  Etsy is the most popular source of pin content, but it only represents about 3% of pins.
  • Over 80% of pins are re-pins, demonstrating the tremendous virality at work in the Pinterest community.  To contrast, a study done at a similar time in Twitter’s history showed that only about 1.4% of tweets were retweets.
  • The quality of the average new user (as defined by their level of engagement and likelihood to remain active) is high but declining.  Users who have joined in recent months are 2-3x less active during their first month than the users that came before them.


How It Was Done

We wrote some simple scripts to identify random users who joined at varying times in the company’s history and download their complete history of pins to conduct cohort analysis.  We also pulled several hundred thousand additional pins from the general user population.  All told, we ended up with a database of nearly one million pins.

Thanks to our old friend the central limit theorem, we’re confident that our sizable random samples are representative of the greater population they were pulled from.  We should caveat, however, that there is always a risk of sampling bias.  Since Pinterest doesn’t use auto-incrementing IDs, we had to get creative about identifying random users and pins.  We identified user names based on common dictionary words and then expanded to general-population pins by guessing at ID numbers in numeric proximity to the pins of those core users.

Content: What’s Being Pinned?

On Pinterest, every pin ties back to an external link.  We used RJMetrics to extract the top-level domain of those links for the pins in our sample.  What we found was a pretty tremendous long-tail effect.  In our sample of about a million pins, over 100,000 distinct source domains existed.  The twenty most prominent are shown below by percent of pins.

emineo media source_domains

The most popular domain was, which powered just over 3% of pins.  Close behind was, although almost all Google links point to Google Image Search, which is technically misattributed content from other 3rd party domains.  Flickr (2.5%), Tumblr (1.1%), and (1.0%) round out the top 5, after which no domain represents more 1% of pins.

Virality: Re-Pins and Tools

We were able to break out the population of pins based on how those pins were posted to Pinterest.  We were expecting a high percentage from pinmarklet, a browser bookmarklet that allows users to pin content from any website with one click.  However, what we found was astonishing.


Remarkably, over 80% of pins are re-pins.  This is evidence of the impressive level of virality at work in the Pinterest community.  Pinterest is truly an ecosystem of sharing.  To contrast, a study done by Hubspot at a similar point in Twitter’s history showed that only about 1.4% of tweets were retweets.

User Engagement: Cohort Analysis

Cohort Analysis is a powerful tool that allows us to study different groups of users at identical points in time in their lifecycles, regardless of when they actually joined the site.  It’s a great way of getting an “apples to apples” look at newer vs. older users to see how their engagement stacks up.

In the chart below, each line represents a cohort and each cohort is a group of customers who made their first pin in a specific month.  For example, the June 2011 cohort consists of users who made their first pin in June 2011.  The line itself shows the “average cumulative pins made per cohort member.” So, the “Month 1” data point for the June 2011 cohort shows us how many items were pinned in June 2011 by users who joined in June 2011.  The “Month 2” data point on that same line shows us how many pins had been made by the average user in that cohort by the end of July 2011, and so on.

monthly cohort

For most companies, even highly successful ones, cohort charts like these show lines that steadily decay toward a more horizontal slope over time.  This happens because there is some natural attrition rate with which users simply stop using the site, causing the incremental engagement of the average user to drop off.

That is definitely not the case with Pinterest.

These lines show little to no decay whatsoever. Their slopes remain consistent, indicating a net attrition rate of close to 0%.  This either means that no one who starts using Pinterest ever stops or– more likely– that users who continue to use Pinterest become so much more engaged over time that their activities fully make up for those of any users who leave.

To explore which of these two scenarios is playing out, we changed a few options in RJMetrics and ran the cohort analysis below:

cohort weekly distinct

This weekly cohort analysis shows the percentage of distinct users from some recent cohorts who come back to pin again in each of the first 8 weeks of their life cycle.  As you can see, between 40% and 60% of users are still actively pinning even as far out as week 8.  This may seem like a steep drop-off, but for a consumer internet business it’s exceptionally good.


Twitter’s decay rate was twice that of Pinterest, with user activity (measured by tweets) rapidly plummeting to around 20% before stabilizing.

Growing Pains: Quality Decay

With every fast-growing consumer startup I’ve profiled, an increase in media coverage inevitably corresponds to a huge spike in the number of registered users and a drop-off in the quality of the average user (as defined by their level of engagement and likelihood to remain active).  Pinterest is no exception.


As shown above, the average new user who has joined Pinterest in the past few months is using the site substantially less than their counterparts from months in the past.  I speculate that this is caused by flocks of curious onlookers who are outside of Pinterest’s core audience registering accounts and failing to get engaged.  In the long-term, this could potentially represent a challenge to the company maintaining the remarkable engagement metrics we’ve seen so far.


Pinterest demonstrates some of the strongest user engagement, retention, and virality metrics I have ever seen in an online business.  The company has found tremendous success among its core demographic, and the potential reach of its appeal will be tested in the coming months as attention from broader audiences continues to increase.

If the company’s performance to date is any indication, however, it will surely be a start-up to watch in 2012 and beyond.

Source RJMectrics