Earned Media and the Journey of a Pinner

Pinterest is changing the way that consumers discover, capture, and share their inspirations. The planning process can unfold over many weeks and months, and the planning process is where brands want to be.

In its ads application programming interface release, Pinterest is providing visibility into the purchase path like never before. Brands can now get in touch with consumers on their purchase planning journey with Promoted Pins — and do it at scale.

There are currently over 50 billion pins on 1 billion boards across 70 million users and 2/3 of all the pins on Pinterest come from businesses. Brands have an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the consumer’s behavior at each stage of the purchase funnel including conversions and use the “world’s largest and most actionable focus group,” to interpret signals as users pin their future plans.

A recent study conducted by MillwardBrown Digital that surveyed more than 2,000 Pinterest users found that 93 percent of the Pinners that were active in the last 6 months indicated they use Pinterest to plan purchases.

As one of Pinterest’s first Marketing Developer Partner Ads API partners, Adaptly was able to evaluate brand performance over time and saw tremendous value in the sales conversions that occur days, weeks, and even months after a pin had been promoted – otherwise known as “downstream activity.” We found that repins, Pinterest’s form of earned media, played an essential role in driving those future conversions.

To get the most complete picture of how users move through the purchase funnel on Pinterest, it is important to set longer attribution windows and include both click and engagement conversions. We’re currently able to track page visits, sign ups, checkout conversions and custom events like “add to cart” and “save for later.”

To simplify, let’s consider two pinner’s paths to purchase from Promoted Pins. With the first, we track behavior pinning their favorite swimsuits, hats, clothes, and scenic beauty for the preceding two weeks before their Hawaiian summer vacation. For the second, who’s planning a Hawaiian honeymoon in three months, we know that the purchases will take place at a later date.

In the first, we can track and convert them on a faster timetable because they will be motivated to act on opportunity, wherein the second the timetable is much longer and we can track their accumulation of “repins” and drive downstream conversions.

Adaptly saw our client’s cost-per-acquisition decline as much as 200 percent just one month following the completion of their campaign, largely driven by downstream conversions. Additionally, we observed that earned media increased engagement, repin rate, and closeup rate which is when a user “zooms in” for a deeper level of interaction with a pin.

Considerations for planning promoted pins:

  1. Map out the pinners’ path through the purchase funnel.
  2. Use click and engagement checkouts including closeups on pins and repins.
  3. Synchronize the longevity of the repin to match your attribution window accordingly.
  4. Use an attribution window of 30 to 60 days to capture the full earned media potential.
  5. Monitor and evaluate the decline in CPA to see effective progress.

Pinterest is changing the way that consumers discover, capture, and share their inspirations. The planning process can unfold over many weeks and months, and the planning process is where brands want to be. Earned media on Pinterest greatly extends the window, so smart marketers will plan for this, optimize towards it, and measure the long-term effects of downstream activity.

Danielle Shamos is the vice president of revenue, West at Adaptly.