Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pinterest Ramps Up E-Commerce Features

outdoorThe image-based discovery platform is rolling out pins for specific interests, another feature that will benefit online businesses. So how can marketers best use Pinterest for e-commerce?
Pinterest continues to boost its e-commerce services in order to help brands further engage with consumers. Shortly after it designed a new Follow button for brands, the platform has unveiled another new feature to make brands' pins more discoverable.
Now, when users search for their favorite categories, they can now follow a range of related interests. For example, if a user searches for "outdoors," related topics like "camping" and "hiking" will appear at the top of the page.

And if the user follows one of those categories, pins from other pinners who share the same interest will show up in their home feed.
"Following and sharing 'interests' on Pinterest [presents] a huge opportunity for brands," says Andy Stevens, vice president of strategy and research at ShareThis, whose Q2 2014 report reveals that Pinterest and Twitter lead mobile sharing growth.
"[And this feature] will lead to more brand engagement and exposure to new pinners, as well as their followers, for the brands who use Pinterest effectively," he notes.
Roger Katz, chief executive (CEO) of Friend2Friend, a social media technology and solutions company, thinks that pins for specific interests will allow for "more targeted advertising, potential ads, and sponsorships of various interest areas for time-based campaign commitments."
With the launch of these new features, it seems Pinterest is becoming more merchant-friendly. So how can brands use this visual discovery tool for e-commerce?

Optimize Content

Given that Pinterest is an image-based social media platform, Krista Neher, CEO of training company Boot Camp Digital, stresses that brands need to make sure their images are "pinnable."
How can they do that? According to Neher, a pinnable image is one that tells the story of the underlying content. "The image should be clearly viewable in the smaller thumbnail-type size that shows up in the Newsfeed view of your pin," she explains. "It doesn't have to be completely readable, but even in the smaller view, someone should be able to understand what the image is about."
Meanwhile, an accurate description and a correct image size are essential as well. "The description is very important for SEO purposes," says Diana Kelter, social strategist at socialdeviant, a Chicago-based social media agency. "When you are pinning or repinning, you always need to look at what the current description is, and make sure it accurately describes the image."
As for the image size, the optimal width for a pin is 736 pixels, according to Kelter. And while there's no height limit, the image shouldn't be too tall.

Utilize Promotional Pins

Pinterest offers different types of promotional pins, including Promoted Pins and Rich Pins. It also allows hashtags for business promotion.
"Promoted Pins allow brands to reach highly engaged audiences and enable [business] partners to pay Pinterest only if users click through and view content," says Amir Zonozi, chief strategy officer at influencer engagement platform Zoomph.
Rich Pins contain extra information housed right on the pin itself. Currently, there are five types of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product, and place. Since Pinterest is still testing Promoted Pins, as of now Rich Pins present more opportunities for e-commerce brands.
"Rich Pins are a great opportunity [for businesses] to stand out," Zonozi notes. "They receive more engagement than regular pictures, so the effort is validated."
Compared to Promoted Pins and Rich Pins, hashtags aren't as important on Pinterest, as they function differently than they do on Twitter. For example, hashtags on Pinterest are not yet clickable on mobile apps.
"Hashtags don't bring anything to the user experience, because they don't create conversation threads like they do on Twitter," Kelter explains, adding that strong keywords in the description should be emphasized over hashtags.

Manage Pinterest Boards

Finally, to develop a meaningful presence on Pinterest, brands must to do more than just pin their own content.
"[Even] if you focus on selling a product, don't just pin your own products," Kelter notes. "Create boards that tell the story of your brands, because that is what will keep consumers coming back."

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