It’s long been accepted that social media is a valuable destination for consumers when they are on the path to purchase. Although there are strong social signals across networks, we have found that Pinterest signals are very strong indications of a potential purchase.

Pinterest has established itself as a top visual bookmarking site with some 70 million unique users per month, according to comScore, and a recent valuation at $11 billion – triple its valuation from a year and a half ago. According to the company, people visit Pinterest to “find new things to discover, save and do”, which is “unlike Facebook, which has been used to connect with friends, or even Twitter, which is often about public discourse and news” (Aiming to Ease App Discovery, Apple Pairs With Pinterest). With the power of our social data and purchase data provided by a third-party, we set out to determine the real value of a pin.

Pinners are predominantly female and highly engaged on mobile

According to our most recent analysis of the Pinterest landscape, women make up the majority (80%) of active users, or Pinners, on Pinterest. The tactile characteristic of smartphones and tablets is conducive to the experience of swiping through highly visual pins and has resulted in a highly mobile audience – 72% of pins come from smartphones, which is five times greater than the ShareThis network average.

Pinterest influences more content categories than other major social channels

As we’ve said before, each channel provides an outlet for a different type of conversation. Facebook serves as a central platform for connections and lacks dominance in any particular category, while Twitter’s real-time feed makes it the ideal place for up-to-date sports content. Meanwhile, Pinterest has an edge in four content categories: Home & Garden, Beauty & Fitness, Food & Drink, and Shopping.

*The index represents the relative difference between sharing activity on a specific social channel and overall sharing activity, within a specific content category. For example, Pinterest generates 190% more Beauty & Fitness sharing activity than other channels.

*’Shopping’ includes general shopping, as well as sub categories like apparel, antiques & collectibles, gift & special event items, luxury goods, mass merchants & department stores and toys.

Compared to other social channels, Pinners are more likely to purchase products from categories they’ve shared to

  • The yellow bars represent the baseline purchase rate, including sharers and non-sharers.
  • The blue bars represent the social purchase rate. These people shared to a social network and purchased a product from within that same category.
  • The red bars represent the Pinterest purchase rate. This group is made up of Pinners who purchased from the same category they’ve pinned to.

Pinterest has especially high purchase rates in the Face & Body Care, Fashion & Style, Fitness & Health, and Home & Garden categories and a pin to these categories is more likely to convert to a category purchase than an endorsement to any other social channel (represented by the ‘Pinners’ lift vs. Social Users’ arrows). In Pinterest’s top converting category, Face & Body Care, Pinners are 33% more likely than other social users to make a category purchase. This is all possible without an easy path to purchase products from within Pinterest. If Pinterest adds a ‘Buy’ button, as is rumored, we can only expect these conversion rates to increase.

Publishers and advertisers, especially those in Pinterest’s leading content categories, should leverage the social platform to present rich content geared toward the network’s core audience of women, who are responsible for “85% of all consumer purchases” (Marketing To Women: 30 Stats To Know). Targeting these highly influential users should improve in time as Pinterest rolls out new services, like Promoted Pins, that allow for more precise audience targeting.

We’ve said before that sharing is and always will be a powerful indicator of interest and intent; here’s further proof! See the below infographic for more detailed findings.

Download a full PDF copy of the study here, or email


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