Over the past year or so, images have become social marketing’s breakout currency. Pinterest played a heavy role in that shift, as did Instagram’s surging popularity and its acquisition by Facebook. The ascendance of images has increased the need for marketers to be able to measure their impact, leading to the rise of companies like Curalate, Pinfluencer, Simply Measured and Nitrogram, all of which either specialize in Pinterest or Instagram analytics.
Now Pinterest analytics firm Curalate is adding Instagram to its tools, claiming to be the first analytics firm to combine Pinterest and Instagram in one dashboard. “What [Salesforce-owned social analytics firm] Radian6 did for text-based conversations, we’re going to be doing for visual,” said Curalate CEO and co-founder Apu Gupta.
Curalate clients like HGTV, Nine West and Michael Kors can now use its platform to check out which of their photos are most popular on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site and how they compare with their content on Pinterest, all within the same analytics dashboard (brands can also separate the channels). Curalate pulls Instagram photos based on the hashtags users append, and if a user shared their Instagram photo to Pinterest, Curalate’s image-recognition technology can match the images for clearer comparisons, Gupta said.
Brands can take advantage of the Instagram/Pinterest analytics combo to cross-post popular Instagram images to Pinterest and from there to Facebook, as fashion brand Oscar de la Renta is currently doing for its My Something Blue promotion. In the case of promotions, which urges users to affix a branded hashtag to their Instagram posts that can then be shared by the brand to Pinterest and Facebook, Gupta recommends the brand following Oscar de la Renta’s example by being upfront with consumers.
Promotions are one thing, but the real meat of the platform lies in the insights it can surface. Curalate is able to track a Instagram post’s like and comments so that a brand can see how that popularity translates into added followers, but also capitalize on the popularity. Denim brand 7 for All Mankind used the platform to identify that an image was resonating on Instagram. It then pushed that out as a Facebook ad, resulting in the brand’s most engaged ad on that platform to date, Gupta said, though 7 for All Mankind wouldn’t share specific performance metrics.
Brands can also separate engagement metrics on fan-posted images from brand-posted ones to get a better idea of what content takes hold with users without a brand’s involvement. “Sometimes there can be an enormous disconnect between what fans like versus what [a brand thinks] they like,” Gupta said. HGTV, for example, is taking those fan-only insights in consideration for content programming decisions, he said.