Like A Fine Wine: How Promoted Pins Get Better With Age

Advertising on a new platform can feel a little like a journey into the Twilight Zone: you’re bewildered, you have only the vaguest understanding of how you got there, and that person to your left could very well be an alien.

Okay, so the metaphor’s not perfect. But it’s true that both experiences can feel incredibly isolating. None more so than the challenging yet rewarding world of Promoted Pins.

If you’ve spent any time advertising on Pinterest, then you are well aware of its many idiosyncrasies: labor-intensive user interface, manual approval process, and rudimentary targeting options to name a few.

But perhaps the most fascinating of Pinterest’s unique quirks is the “Aging” or “Baking” effect.

(Like Pinterest, Social Fulcrum is an organization divided against itself when it comes to naming this effect, so we’ll continue with the Aging effect for clarity’s sake.)

So what is the Aging effect?

Simply put, it’s the process by which Promoted Pins garner delayed conversions or checkouts, lowering your cost of acquisition over time without spending additional budget.

Say you’re trying to sell handbags that retail for around $150. A Pinterest user sees your ad and decides it would be the perfect birthday gift for her best friend, so she repins it to her “Chelsea’s Surprise Party” board. At this point, the only action she’s taken is repinning your ad to one of her boards. But when she returns to make that purchase five days later, her checkout will be attributed to the date the ad initially ran.

This is why, depending on how you measure your success on Pinterest, your older data always looks better than your more recent data; those repins have turned into checkouts. Even though the checkouts might have happened recently, the conversions are attributed to whenever the ad was re-pinned or clicked.

Still a little confused? Let’s break it down the best way Social Fulcrum knows how — with graphs.

Driving down cost of customer acquisition from week to week, as evidenced by the graph below, demonstrates optimization over time. (This is the curve we aim to achieve no matter the advertising channel.) By zeroing in on top-performing creative and audiences, your cost per checkout should decrease with each smart decision you make.

Pinterest Aging Effect
But on Pinterest, as you are now well aware, your spend buys you more than just conversions you got during the week the ad initially ran. With each week that passes, assuming you have optimized appropriately, your repins should garner additional checkouts.

So what does it look like all together?

 

Pinterest Aging Effect Animation
The .gif graph above shows our past cost-per-acquisition data improving over time. In week 44, we look back at week 39 and see that our costs have decreased by approximately 10%. In week 45, we observe week 40, which also shows a reduction of approximately 10%. We constantly look back at data at delayed intervals to observe the Aging effect. That’s why in week 48; you see a third line starting at week 39. Another 10% lower!

The Aging effect is perhaps Pinterest’s most compelling feature, or at least, the feature that distinguishes it from all other social media platforms. Built into the platform’s natural user experience is the idea of planning for future events, which naturally lends itself to e-commerce opportunities.

What makes Pinterest truly compelling (especially to us!) is that it’s the Wild West of social media advertising: uncharted, intimidating, and absolutely brimming with opportunity for those with the most accurate and comprehensive data.

Interested in learning more? Check out our SlideShare for more detail. Better yet — let us guide you through a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind…

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