Meet Pinterest: Your Next Scalable Customer Acquisition Platform

by Andrew Krebs-Smith | February 17

Facebook is—without question— the platform digital advertisers should try first for customer acquisition campaigns.  For some, Facebook will be all they ever need to reach their goals. But other advertisers have to hit ever more ambitious targets in order to keep on growing, and in that case, Facebook alone is not enough. Here’s why.

We see companies that spend anywhere from thousands, to tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars on Facebook per day. They can do this and still get good, cost-effective results because the data Facebook has on its user base makes segmenting and scaling audiences very precise. But wherever a business finds itself on that spectrum of daily spend, there will eventually come a day when it sees a diminishing marginal return—the point at which, for every additional dollar spent, the resulting conversion is either of no value or even negative value. We’ve discussed “saturation” in several prior posts. Saturation can happen at the audience level, and it can happen at the platform level. It’s critical to know when you’re reaching a point of platform saturation, so that you can transition to another platform as your ROI just begins to taper.

We believe that Pinterest should be that next channel.

Pinterest as a platform is a similar to, but distinct from Facebook. First, it’s smaller. Compared to Facebook, Pinterest has fewer users who spend less time on the platform. As a result, there are fewer impressions for advertisers to bid on, but at the same time there are fewer advertisers competing for those impressions. So, if you have had success on Facebook to the point that you can no longer scale it, don’t expect Pinterest to replicate that same outcome in sheer volume. However, that does not mean that you cannot hit your performance metrics, and it does not mean you cannot scale it to a very valuable point. It is possible to spend tens of thousands per day on Pinterest, and spend it well. True, the monthly user base is smaller than Facebook’s — but then again so is the population of China. In this case, smaller is still pretty darn big—Pinterest hit 110 million monthly users in 2016.

So, who is the archetypal Pinterest user? In general, she is young woman of relative means, and she buys things because of Pinterest. The user base is more than 70 percent female. About a third of their users are between 18 and 30, and nearly another third is under 50. More than 80 percent of its traffic is via mobile—which is interesting from an app-install perspective and more than 90 percent have used it to plan for a purchase.

Thematically, Pinterest is about pursuing interest or planning for future actions. Pinners coming to the platform with the intent to plan something, perhaps a simple as a meal, or a health and beauty product purchase, and sometimes as grand as a makeover for a home or office. Often, they are exploring for ideas and inspiration. In this respect, they might be considered a more open-minded audience than Facebook’s. They are there to be influenced—and they use search terms to declare their intent. Unlike Facebook, Pinterest advertisers can bid on search terms, similar to Google AdWords.

One more thing: on Pinterest, you can advertise in Canada and the UK, as well the US—granted the user population is small (at present) but there’s very little competition for this population on Pinterest in both countries.

If you’re thinking that you’ll be experiencing a bit of platform saturation on Facebook in the near future, let’s connect now and get you prepared to hit the customer acquisition ground running on Pinterest.

Andrew Krebs-Smith
About the author

Andrew Krebs-Smith

Andrew sings our praises to anyone that will listen. Before founding Social Fulcrum, he developed and managed social media strategy for accounts including Pfizer, Ocean City MD, The National Aquarium, and Strayer University. Andrew loves food, travel, music, exercise, and tea. Connect with Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn.