Pinterest

Less Than 1% of Online Purchases Influenced by Social Media

You can’t read business or tech blogs these days without being deluged with seemingly contradictory information about what works and what doesn’t when selling products and marketing your business online. Last week, we wrote about how nearly 20% of women in the US are using Pinterest and made a solid case for adding the growing social network to your marketing mix. Then, this week a new study emerges that seems to disprove the value of social media.

As reported by Mashable, Forrester has released a study that says that less than 1% of online purchases resulted from the use of social media. They examined 77,000 transactions between April 1st and April 14th and found that only a minute percentage could be traced back to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep in mind that determining how a user’s web activity influences purchasing decisions is not an exact science. Usually, the last touchpoint before a sale is the one credited, but that wouldn’t be true as an ePN Publisher. For example, let’s say a user sees an item on your Pinterest page, clicks through to your site and proceeds to eBay to buy the item. eBay would credit (and compensate) the publisher and not know Pinterest had anything to do with influencing that purchase. Sure, it's a one-off theoretical example, but you get the idea.

Forrester says that following direct traffic, organic and paid search are the next two biggest drivers of purchases for first-time users – accounting for 39% of new customer transactions. Forrester calls these users “spear fishers” – those buyers that know exactly what they want and find it through search.

Keep in mind that this is just one study. I don’t think the takeaway here should be that social media isn’t important. In fact, the Forrester research specifically says that small businesses – which were not included in the study – can greatly benefit from utilizing social media. Obviously, a well-rounded marketing mix is the key to a successful strategy. By utilizing search, email, social and other means you’ll cover your bases and make sure your message gets in front of the right people.

I’m sure there are plenty of opinions on this topic – if you’ve got one, we’d love to hear it. Please feel free to comment below.

Nearly 20% of U.S. Women Use Pinterest

As internet marketers we’re always looking for ways to identify new customers and grow awareness around our brands. And while the continued ascent of Pinterest hasn’t necessarily shocked anyone (we’ve written about them HERE and HERE), a recent Pew study does up the ante – especially if your business is targeting a female audience. Last week’s findings showed that 19% of all women in the United States on the internet are using Pinterest. The percentage was much smaller for men with only 5% using the social pinning platform. In total, 12% of all American internet use Pinterest.

The survey was conducted by phone between August 2-5 and also found:

  • 66% of online adults use Facebook
  • 20% use LinkedIn
  • 16% use Twitter

Obviously the importance of these findings will vary by publisher depending on what type of demographic your site targets. For example, if you’re a sports memorabilia blog or a NASCAR site, you may want to focus your social media efforts elsewhere. But, if your target consumer is female, then Pinterest may be worth your time and effort.

You can read the full study at the Pew site.

As always, we love hearing your thoughts about how you’re using social networks like Pinterest to build your business. Please leave your comments below.

NOTE: Please remember that it is against our terms of service to drive traffic directly to eBay from any social media account. Instead, the desired lead path is to migrate users from your social media channels to your website and complete the click to eBay from your domain. This approach not only keeps things within our TOS, it also has a better chance of building a long-term supporter of your brand.

 

Best Practices for Using Pinterest

We wrote about Pinterest earlier this year and had a great discussion with Publishers about how they’re using it to grow their business. Today, I thought it would be a great time to continue that discussion by referencing Open Forum’s article about best practices when using Pinterest.

Target Your Ideal Audience

When pinning are you thinking like a user? Is your content useful or entertaining to your potential customers? Putting yourself in the mindset of your audience can help you more accurately target the right people for your business.

Avoid Looking Like a Sales Catalog

If you’re an ePN publisher try to avoid using stock images in you pins. Instead, try to find a way to tie a product into the personality of your brand. Not only will you be doing something unique within your vertical, but you could generate a sale simply by standing out.

Encourage People to Take Action

Putting time and effort into your content will make your community want to engage and share it. Compelling, useful content is a goldmine on social networks and gives your audience something to rally around.

Spotlight the Way Customers Use Products

Customers often want to imagine their purchases in real life scenarios. Highlight the ways that your readers could be utilizing their purchases. For example, if you’re a sneaker website, try to include photos of people wearing them in different social situations.

In Summary

Pinterest can be a huge source of new traffic for your business. With some effort and a little creativity, you could be harnessing the power of this growing social network. The article on Open Forum says it best: "When it comes to online marketing, your goals are simple: drive traffic back to your website, add people to your mailing list, and turn those visitors into buyers."

You can read the entire article over at Open Forum.

What do you think about Pinterest? Is it actually a source of traffic for you or just another social network that doesn’t add much value to your business? We’d love to get your feedback in the comments below.

NOTE: Please remember that it is against our terms of service to drive traffic directly to eBay from any social media account. Instead, the desired lead path is to migrate users from your social media channels to your website and complete the click to eBay from your domain. This approach not only keeps things within our TOS, it also has a better chance of building a long-term supporter of your brand.

ePN TV: Adam and Saquib Answer More Publisher Questions

This week Global Initiatives Manager, Adam Anderson, and Marketplace Liaison, Saquib Pasha, are back to answer more of your questions on ePN TV. On tap are questions from Tommyknuckles and Jules about affiliate links in Pinterest and monetizing from within mobile apps, respectively.

Did you find Adam and Saquib’s answers helpful? Do you need more clarification? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below.

Don’t forget, the ePN Blog can now be delivered right to your inbox. Simply enter your email address in the right-hand sidebar in the section titled “Subscribe by email” and follow the instructions.

The Rise of Pinterest

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last six months you’ve probably heard of Pinterest, the newest darling of the social media world. The service allows users to “pin” photos and other forms of web content to virtual boards as a sort of online scrapbook or web collage. In addition to being the third largest social network behind Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is also prompting action from online retailers. Recently eBay and Amazon both added Pinterest buttons to product pages as an additional option for social sharing.

Why does this matter to me?

One of the things that I’m passionate about in my role at ePN is exploring the impact that new technology will have on the way we do business. We may not need to jump on every new trend, but it is important to understand how emerging technology will change the way our consumers behave. With Pinterest making such a large landgrab of consumer mindshare in such a short time, I thought it would be helpful to look at some of the data behind its growth.

In March, Pinterest had 104 million visitors from the U.S. – up 50% from January and February. And although these metrics do not include mobile traffic, Pinterest has announced that an iPad app is in the works. We can only imagine how much traffic will jump once they start catering to mobile users.

Pinterest is popular with women – about 60% of the site's users are female. They tend to live in the middle of the country with popularity spiking in states like Missouri, Utah, Alabama, Oklahoma and Kansas.

You can read more about Pinterest from CS News.

Do you use Pinterest?

Personally, I’m curious to find out what our partners think of Pinterest. Do you use it on a personal level? What about for business? Have you found a way to integrate it into your revenue stream? Please leave your insights in the comments below.

Don’t forget, the ePN Blog can now be delivered right to your inbox. Simply enter your email address in the right-hand sidebar in the section titled “Subscribe by email” and follow the instructions.