Friday, June 22, 2012

Want to Reach Women Purchasers? Think Pinterest

Businesses need to take heed of Pinterest (, a social media newcomer, but apparently one that is already beating Twitter and Facebook when it comes to trust among women in the U.S. At Creative Vision, we have been adding Pinterest into the marketing programs for some of our clients who have products or services that fit into many of the top Pinterest categories such as food, lifestyle, weddings and travel, among others.

Consider this: According to BlogHer’s annual study on women and social media, when asked whether they trusted different social media sources, 81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest, while 67 percent said they trusted Facebook and 73 percent said they trusted Twitter. (The questions were asked of those who indicated that they used each of the social media services.)

The study also found that when asked if they’d ever made a purchase based on a recommendation from one of the various sources, 61 percent said they’d acted on a blog recommendation and 47 percent said they’d acted on one from Pinterest. Just 33 percent said the same about Facebook and 31 percent said that about Twitter.

For the fifth year, BlogHer polled women across its own network of 3,000 blogs and a sample of the online U.S. population to explore trends in how women are using and engaging with social media. For BlogHer, the study shows that “there’s no one a woman trusts more for advice, recommendations and guidance than another woman in her circle,” Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

According to the study, while women indicate that they use Facebook for fun and connecting with family and friends, they turn to blogs to learn about new products, to read product recommendations and make purchase decisions.

Among the sample representative of the U.S. population, 77 percent said they use Facebook purely for fun and 87 percent use it to stay updated on family. Just 17 percent said they use it for purchase decisions—compared to 36 percent who turn to blogs for that reason—and 24 percent said they use Facebook to get product recommendations, as opposed to 41 percent who read blogs.

The study also compared Twitter and Pinterest, revealing that the newest tech darling already rivals (if not exceeds) the social media giant when it comes to relevance. When asked about the social media service most appropriate for making purchase decisions, 21 percent said Twitter, versus 18 percent who said Pinterest. But Pinterest topped Twitter for getting product information (26 percent vs. 18 percent), finding out about new products (39 percent vs. 24 percent) and seeking advice and recommendations (30 percent vs. 29 percent).

Despite the numbers showing the power of Pinterest and blogs, the study also shows that social media in general is still an emerging source of trusted of consumer information. When asked about the point at which they turn to an online or social media site when they are on the verge of making a purchase, 41 percent of the general population sample said they don’t “go online or to social media for a shopping decision.”

While Pinterest is trusted and growing quickly, the study highlighted that general adoption is still relatively low. Just 19 percent of the general population sample indicated they use it at least weekly.

However, the size of the Pinterest community could be a factor in the high level of trust women associate with it. With more than 11 million unique visitors a month, it’s an impressively fast-growing and vibrant site. But its traction was helped by interest from the design community. As the company scales up and attracts new users who find new uses for the pin boards it will be interesting to see how its culture and relationship with users evolves.