Despite being launched in 2010, Pinterest wasn't made publicly available until August 2012. Today is the one year anniversary of its public launch and we take a look back at how the content sharing network has changed.
Over the past year Pinterest has added a few new features designed to enhance and improve the user experience and attract more businesses. This move that has mostly been successful as many brands continue to have numerous followers, re-pins, likes and shares to what they've posted.
Along with insight from an interview with Danny Maloney, CEO of PinLeague, a Pinterest analytics company, we take a look at what other critics are saying and show how Pinterest has grown into a B2C marketing hub.
A Visual Social Network
When looking at how Pinterest has developed, the first thing that has be explained is what exactly sets Pinterest apart from other sites. Unlike more ‘traditional’ social media that rely on text based connections and communication, Pinterest focuses on content sharing and images. For example, a Twitter user may tweet a comment with a photo attached, but the first thing that draws a viewer to person or business’ page is the text. On Pinterest, the photo the first thing a viewer sees and any added text is considered supplementary.
In doing this Pinterest is able to reach more users and connect to people more easily.
It’s a lot easier for a person to scroll down a page and read a hundred images than it is for them to read a two page article,” said Maloney “As a result, when a user is browsing on Pinterest they won’t just consume a single piece of content and leave, they will see a pin they like and consume all of the pins on that board.”
A Better Look and More Insight
On its surface Pinterest appears to be a consumer network with users posting pictures of crafts they complete or baked goods, but it’s also an ideal network for many businesses as products aren’t hidden behind layers and layers of text.
The social media up and comer [Pinterest] is centered around photo sharing and commenting, which makes it a powerful tool for marketers,” wrote Colter Bowman. “This is especially true for those in the retail and service industries. "
While there were some minor updates throughout the year that can be useful to businesses such as website verification and security features, the first significant, marketing update to Pinterest was its web analytics tool. Before this update businesses had to rely on external analytics tools such as Mahoney’s company PinLeague, HelloInsights or Piqora, but now they don’t have to, if they so choose.
In having access to both external and an internal analytics platform, marketers are able to tell how followers are interacting with their boards, what is being re-pined, a post’s social reach and items that have been clicked most often. This helps businesses improve their social presence by creating and posting content that will receive more engagement, but it also helps other areas of a company as well.
We’re finding that data within Pinterest can be incredibly valuable to organisations in all different ways,” said Maloney. “Everything from employee communication and retention to product development and merchandising strategies.”
Following the launch of its own analytics tool, the network started to redesign its layout; making the site more of a discovery tool with a cleaner and more organized look. This makes it better for marketers because if a user is having a better time on the site, they will stay longer and hopefully engage with more of a brand’s content.
Pinterest’s new look aims to improve the best feature of its site: its images,” wrote Ekaterina Walter. “The maximum image width is being increased from 600 pixels to 735, which means your best photographs can have an even greater impact.”
Other new features include a bookmarking tool, suggested keywords and new pins notifications.
Creating a Pinterest Storefront
Pinterest may now be easier to navigate and content easier to find, but the network has also become a secondary online storefront for many businesses. In the past, in order to find out key information about a brand’s products, board visitors would have to go outside of Pinterest. This has changed. Through the information or rich pins feature users can find out how much an item costs, where to buy it and its availability, while with the price drop feature users will receive email notification when an item they follow changes in price.
While both features give potential customers access to more information, the rich pins feature is especially useful, at least according to Maloney, as it sets Pinterest posts apart from other networks and makes it more viable for e-commerce businesses.
A rich pin is Pinterest’s first real product for organizing the content on their platform and for understanding that content has commercial value,” he says.
There have also been a few updates that are for the everyday user. These include a recent iOS update and the Do Not Track feature.
Despite Pinterest being a newer social network it has found its niche within the social media community early. It continues to be a network that both businesses and consumers can use and engage with through the informative power of the photograph.