If you didn't hear about it last year I guarantee the platform Pinterest has cropped up on your radar in these past few weeks of 2012. But does that mean it should feature in your 2012 digital marketing planning?


Why it's too early to use Pinterest for interactive marketing

There’s no denying that Pinterest is fun, looks great, and a lot of people love playing with it. That is also true of kittens but no one’s rushing to include them in their 2012 marketing plans (except for maybe Karl Lagerfeld).

A couple of talking points circulating are getting way out of proportion:

  • Rapid growth: The Hitwise figures released before Christmas show undoubted growth as a social network, but it’s nothing compared to the current growth of Google+. Pinterest is also lauded for making a list of Top 10 Social Networks in November which, while impressive for the little upstart, can’t be that meaningful if marketers aren’t deploying tactics for established Top 10ers like Tagged and Yahoo! Answers
  • Traffic driving potential: While Pinterest is a growing source of traffic for Etsy and others, the data is yet to be analysed for relevancy to the interactive marketer and certainly doesn’t separate relevancy between general online brands vs. online etailers and news publishers. Shareaholic, also responsible for the dramatic headline ‘Pinterest Drives More Referral Traffic Than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined’,  uses data captured from their own plug-in and is not necessarily representative of wider web user behaviour either

At most these early statistics put Pinterest as ‘one to watch’ for 2012 but should be way down the interactive marketers list of trends to consider for 2012 and firmly behind issues of multiscreen marketing, customisation, local-mobile, effective media buying and attribution (the last being where Pinterest will really be weighed and measured).

What we can learn from Pinterest

If there’s one thing interactive marketers should take away from the current Pinterest mania it’s the enduring appeal of beautiful imagery. From design to user-experience to communications, the effective use of imagery is tried and tested.

Over-looked fashion moodboard site Polyvore identified this potential back in 2007 to develop a fashion clip-and-share tool, working in partnership with retailers, to drive sales – and create themselves a smart revenue share model alongside all the pretty.

The trend for moodboarding may splinter into a range of niche content curation networks; home interiors seems an obvious fit, there is already one just for ‘men stuff’ and Good Reads takes care of curating people’s reading habits in a social networking environment.

By all means stay interested in new social networks and experiment to develop great digital marketing strategies but in a time where every marketing dollar has to deliver, Pinterest is too unproven alongside other investments you should be making today.

Also Recommend: Don't Believe The Hype: 5 Trends to Watch (and 5 to Ignore) for On-line Retail in 2012