Pinterest is on fire. Read the breathless -- and well-deserved -- coverage of this fast-growing scrapbook/pin board site, and you begin to understand why.
For those not yet in the know, if you’ve ever planned a wedding, a remodel or a reunion of some sort, you may have used some version of a pin board to tack up ideas for whatever it is you’re planning. When planning a remodel, for instance, you might tack-up paint chips, pictures from catalogs of furniture you’re considering, and pages torn from Architectural Digest that represent the look you’re going for.
The team at Pinterest makes this possible on the Web, but with a distinct social overlay.
You can create pin boards on any topic — favorite parks, for instance — and then pin photos you find on the Web or publish on your blog to the board. You can comment on a photo and invite others to re-pin it to their own boards and/or add their own comments. Clicks on the photo take users to the place where the photo originated.
Even though it’s early days for Pinterest, it has grabbed everyone’s attention because (a) it’s growing so darn fast and (b) it’s quickly becoming a top referral source to other Web sites. In fact, in January, Pinterest drove more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, according to data from Shareaholic.
Still, Pinterest and its brethren have a way to go before they dethrone the king of the Web, Google. Lou Kerner, a social Web industry analyst, wrote in his Second Shares blog: "[A]s pervasive as social media sometimes appears to be in terms of driving discovery, it still pales in comparison to the King of Discovery… Google. Google crushes Facebook by more than a 5-1 margin in terms of driving traffic (i.e. being the upstream site) to the Top 25 U.S. e-commerce sites (per Internet Retailer)."
Even with this caveat in mind, however, marketing professionals have the opportunity to begin leveraging Pinterest to drive incremental new traffic and, in the case of e-commerce sites, revenue. A recent Adweek post offers some impressive numbers: "Revenue per click from shoppers arriving via social media links is $5.24, versus the $3.18 per click spent by email shoppers, according to analytics company ClearSaleing."
All of which means you should start thinking about Pinterest as you refine your content marketing and SEO strategies. Optimizing your Web and e-commerce sites for Pinterest could be a very good idea (that’s assuming you’ve already optimized your sites for search, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) And if you don’t already, think about how you can use more photography or infographics on your Web site pages, in blog posts and on your e-commerce pages. Keep in mind what makes good “Pinterest Candy”: in other words, what sorts of photography folks might be moved to Pin to their boards. The more your photos and graphics are exposed on Pinterest, the bigger the opportunity to drive clicks back to your sites.
Search marketing is still the powerhouse, no doubt about it. But the truth is, marketers must now embrace an “all of the above” approach when thinking about adapting traffic acquisition and content marketing models to fully leverage the fast-growing social phenomena. A little Pinterest, a lot of Facebook, a dash of Twitter and a sprinkling of a number of other social players out there, and you start to get very respectable traffic acquired at very little incremental cost.