Is Pinterest the Underrated King of Social Commerce?

Is Pinterest the Underrated King of Social Commerce?


Unlike the more ubiquitous Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, Pinterest often flies under the radar when it comes to social commerce. Yet, this platform, synonymous with creativity and inspiration, may well be playing a pivotal role in reshaping how we shop online. This blog takes a deep dive into Pinterest's unique position within the digital market. We'll explore how its focus on visual discovery and user-friendly design is influencing consumer behaviour and potentially setting new trends in e-commerce. According to a Retail TouchPoints article, the race is on to capture a significant share of the social commerce market, expected to be a $1.2 trillion opportunity by 2025.

Understanding Pinterest's Platform

Pinterest stands apart as a visual discovery engine, contrasting with traditional social media platforms that are centred around social interaction and content sharing. Its combination of inspiration, personalisation, and e-commerce sets it apart:

Pinboards and Pins

Central to the Pinterest experience are pinboards - collections of visual bookmarks, curated by users based on their interests and aspirations. From wedding planning to home renovations, pinboards serve as a visual roadmap for users' projects and dreams. The pins themselves are links to websites, articles, and product pages, opening up a world of information and purchase opportunities.

Visual Search with 'Lens'

The 'Lens' feature is one of the platform’s most innovative. It allows users to search for ideas and products using images rather than words. It makes it unique in social platforms.

A Hub of Trends and Inspiration

Whether it's the latest fashion trends, home decor ideas, or lifestyle inspirations, Pinterest is a treasure trove of evolving trends and creative ideas. It's where new trends emerge and existing ones gain traction, offering a panoramic view of diverse lifestyle sectors.

Demographics and Engagement

Pinterest's user base is a melting pot of demographics, notably skewing towards a female audience but increasingly attracting a diverse range of users. This variety in audience provides a fertile ground for marketers and businesses, offering a spectrum of consumer interests and purchasing patterns.

Marketing and E-Commerce

It’s easy to consider Pinterest as a brand visibility tool and nothing but more, but there’s more to it than that. It's about connecting the dots between inspiration and purchase. Tools like 'Shop the Look' and 'Rich Pins' offer direct pathways from discovery to transaction, turning Pinterest into a key player for brands looking to convert ideas into sales.

Pinterest vs. Other Social Media Giants

Pinterest carves out its own niche when compared to other social media giants:

User Intent-Inspiration over Interaction

Pinterest users typically come with a goal to explore ideas and gather information for future projects, making them more open to brand discoveries and purchase decisions. In contrast, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are more focused on social interaction, and TikTok is predominantly for entertainment, making commercial intent a secondary concern.

Unobtrusive Advertising

Pinterest's advertising approach is integrated seamlessly within the user experience. Sponsored pins and shoppable posts mingle with organic content, offering a less intrusive and more engaging advertising experience. This subtlety contrasts sharply with the more direct and sometimes disruptive advertising seen on Facebook and Instagram. As noted in a Seeking Alpha article, this unique advertising model is one of Pinterest's key competitive advantages in social commerce.

Diverse Audience Demographic

The platform's broad demographic reach, spanning various age groups and interests, opens up opportunities, particularly for products and services in the lifestyle, home, fashion, and wellness sectors. This stands in contrast to Facebook, which has a broader age range but struggles to attract younger audiences, and Instagram and TikTok, which are more popular with millennials and Gen Z.

Content Longevity

Content on Pinterest has a longer shelf life. Pins created years ago can still generate traffic and engagement, offering sustainable value for content creators and businesses. This evergreen nature of content is a stark difference from the ephemeral content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, which requires constant updates to stay relevant.

Pinterest's Impact on the Buyer's Journey

Pinterest streamlines the buyer's journey from discovery to purchase. As detailed in PageFly Academy's comprehensive guide, the platform's pinning feature significantly influences the awareness and consideration stages of shopping, making it a powerful tool for businesses. Pinterest's influence on the consumer buying journey is both unique and significant:

Discovery Phase – A Beacon of Inspiration

Users often turn to Pinterest with a broad idea or need, using the platform to explore and refine their choices. This phase is pivotal as it shapes consumer preferences and guides their subsequent choices. For instance, a user planning a home renovation might begin with general concepts of interior design and gradually narrow down to specific styles, colour schemes, and products.

Consideration Phase - In-depth Engagement

As users dive deeper, Pinterest's rich pins come into play, offering detailed information such as pricing and product specifications. This stage is where engagement transitions into potential sales leads. For example, a rich pin for a piece of furniture not only showcases the item but also provides details like dimensions, material, and price, aiding in comparison and decision-making.

Decision Phase - Seamless Purchase Pathways

Pinterest makes the leap from consideration to purchase effortless. Features like shoppable pins and direct links to e-commerce sites simplify the process, making it convenient for users to transition from finding an item to buying it. This reduces purchase friction significantly compared to other platforms where the path to purchase might be more convoluted.

The Role of Analytics and Personalisation

The platform’s robust analytics tools enable businesses to track consumer behaviour and preferences, offering valuable insights into what drives engagement and sales. By leveraging this data, businesses can tailor their offerings and marketing strategies to align more closely with their target audience's interests, leading to more effective campaigns and higher conversion rates.

Leveraging Pinterest for Business

To maximise the potential of Pinterest for business, consider the following strategies:

Creating Visually Appealing Content

Developing high-quality, visually compelling content is key to capturing attention on Pinterest. Since the platform is visually driven, the aesthetic appeal of your content can significantly increase brand visibility and engagement.

Utilising Rich Pins for Enhanced Information

Rich pins provide additional details about products or services within the pin itself. This feature is invaluable for enhancing user experience and driving traffic to your website, as it offers users a more comprehensive view of what you offer.

Implementing SEO Best Practices

Optimising your Pinterest content for search engines is crucial. Incorporating relevant keywords in your pin descriptions, board titles, and profile information can enhance your visibility both on Pinterest and in external search results, attracting a broader audience.

Engaging with the Pinterest Community

Building a community around your brand on Pinterest involves active engagement. This includes repinning relevant content, commenting on users' pins, and responding to messages. Collaborating with influencers and other brands can also help extend your reach and build trust among your audience.

Using Pinterest Analytics for Data-Driven Strategies

Regular analysis of Pinterest analytics is essential for understanding what resonates with your audience. These insights should inform your content and marketing strategies, ensuring that your efforts are aligned with user interests and trends.

The Future of Pinterest in Social Commerce

Looking ahead, Pinterest's trajectory in social commerce is marked by several key trends:

Advancements in AI and Machine Learning

Pinterest is expected to further enhance its AI and machine learning capabilities, leading to more sophisticated image recognition and personalised content curation. This will make the platform more intuitive and tailored to individual user preferences, increasing engagement and sales potential.

Augmented Reality (AR) Features

Following other tech giants, Pinterest is likely to expand its use of AR technology. Features such as virtual try-on for clothes and makeup, or visualising furniture in a home setting, could revolutionise the online shopping experience on Pinterest.

E-commerce Integration

We can anticipate further integration of e-commerce functionalities within Pinterest, making it even easier for users to make purchases directly through the app. This would streamline the shopping experience, reducing the steps from discovery to purchase and potentially increasing conversion rates for businesses.

Global Expansion

Pinterest's expansion into international markets, with a focus on localising content and features for different cultures and languages, will open up new avenues for global audience engagement and business opportunities.

Collaborations and Influencer Marketing

Collaborations between Pinterest, brands, and influencers are expected to become more prominent. These partnerships can create more authentic and organic marketing opportunities, resonating more deeply with users.


Pinterest's distinct role in social commerce, marked by its focus on inspiration, discovery, and shopping, positions it uniquely among other social media platforms. Its influence on the buyer's journey, combined with evolving features and user engagement strategies, make it an invaluable tool for businesses. As Pinterest continues to innovate and expand, its potential in the digital marketplace becomes increasingly apparent. For businesses looking to enhance their online presence and tap into new consumer segments, integrating Pinterest into their marketing strategy is not just advisable but essential. The platform offers a unique space to inspire, engage, and convert a diverse audience, making it a vital component in the future of online shopping.

Published on 2023-12-14 11:20:34