Something Like a Pinomenon – How Pinterest Drives Real Business

You’ve probably read just about enough about Pinterest. There are plenty of articles on how it’s the next, big thing for brands and marketers, yadda, yadda. But what does it really mean for businesses? In short, depending on the business, it’s a phenomenon. I have the opportunity to consult on the product and marketing at DesignPublic.com, and my fiancee, Erika, runs social marketing and PR for the company. Design Public sells modern furniture and accessories, and we’ve seen first-hand the power of the Pinterest effect. So let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

Pinterest is Design Public’s No. 1 Referring Site

While it’s not the biggest traffic driver for Design Public (organic search and direct visits are the lead dogs), Pinterest has quickly become the number one referring site for traffic. And it’s charged up the list in a hurry.

In October, Pinterest sent 634 visits, putting it 10x behind the number one referring site that month, uncrate.com.

pinterest traffic in october

In January? It’s was first, and by a long shot. It grew nearly 5x in total traffic to the site. It was 30.4% higher than the number two referrer, ApartmentTherapy.com. And for some background, Apartment Therapy has been our top referrer for a very, very long time.

pinterest traffic in january

Pinterest is No. 3 in Revenue from Referring Sites

For the month of January Pinterest was number three in terms of revenue from referring sites (excluding the weird mail referrer here). So while people are browsing and pinning, they’re definitely buying too. We see bounce rates that are higher than other traffic sources, but 25-40% lower than paid advertising sources. People get sucked in and keep browsing our site – eventually buying.

What’d Design Public Do to Drive Pinterest Traffic?

1) Erika began curating boards. The Design Public Pinterest account has a collection of boards across a wide range of design-minded topics. And it’s not just all products. Erika is actively participating in the community and re-pinning and sharing other finds. While she does pin Design Public items it is just a part of her efforts to build brand awareness for Design Public on Pinterest. Pinterest has been a great outlet for reintroducing the brand.

2) Add the Pin It button early to product pages, which gives us a two-fold benefit. One, it lets people pin products from the site with a good-looking product shot and description that includes the Design Public name/URL. Two, it provides social proof to shoppers, helping them make decisions about items on the site.

3)  The entire team is involved in pinning. Design Public has amazing merchandisers and people who have a great design eye. They’re just as addicted as everyone else, and as a company we all try to pin our favorite stuff as it comes in. Then we share what gets repinned and look for ways to leverage that information for how we can come back and promote those popular items on the site, via email, etc.

4) Run a Pinterest Contest. Erika is currently running a Pinterest contest asking people to create pinboards of their dream home and incude at least a few Design Public products. The winner will pick up a $250 gift card to the site. The contest is a great way to get users discovering the products that are on Design Public and sharing them back with the Pinterest audience. Surfacing this content in ways other than just through the main Design Public Pinterest account is critical to reaching new users and potential customers.

Never Add the ‘no-pin’ Meta Tag

We can’t imagine why any site would not want free traffic and sales from people who love design and beautiful things. This audience is a dream audience – and for all of the traffic that comes through, people actually buy. There’s a very real benefit to letting your content circulate on Pinterest.
Take for example this light up cube. It’s been pinned more than 1,000 times at this point. There hasn’t been a single sale. But we do know that we’ve sold other products to people who have visited Design Public via that pin. It’s definitely validation for the model.

What’s Next for Design Public and Pinterest?

We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve that we’re not quite ready to share; but there are a bunch of really interesting ideas and things that we can do from both a marketing and product perspective to continue to integrate Pinterest into our site. And a lot of it will be driven by the new features, API and other tools that Pinterest releases for brands and stores like Design Public.

Is Pinterest for Everyone?

Doubtful. If you’re pinning auto-insurance policy quotes or mortgage rates, you’re probably not going to have the success we do. But if you make or sell things that are unique, beautiful or inspirational, Pinterest is a no brainer. If you want to keep an eye on Design Public on Pinterest, you can follow Design Public on Pinterest here.

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One thought on “Something Like a Pinomenon – How Pinterest Drives Real Business

  1. Dave Cole says:

    Morgan, great post as usual. Thanks so much for sharing the behind the scenes analytics – definitely makes the case for Pinterest more than almost any other post I’ve read.

    In response to your note on the “no-pin” meta tag, I think the important distinction is that you guys own the rights to distribute those images. In a retail case like you’ve outlined, it’s a no brainer. However, for other sites, the pinning copyright concerns are valid, so adding a no-pin tag might make sense if the user of an image doesn’t own the right to distribute it freely.

    Thanks again for lifting the kimono!

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