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Pinterest Conquers Internet, Wedding Planning

Did you know that 95.5% of American women 18-35 are currently engaged and planning a wedding? Ok, that’s not true. But it might seem that way based on the number of “Wedding Boards” currently populating Pinterest.com.

Assuming you haven’t been on the Internet yet this year, Pinterest is a social networking site that enables users to post images to virtual boards as they browse the web. Categorizing the boards allows users to visually display everything they want in life, from wedding plans to cutting edge nail art. The site is very popular with females at the moment.  It also generated more referral traffic than Google+, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and MySpace in January 2012.

The media hype is not unwarranted. Overdrive Interactive recently presented a Pinterest webinar; you can check it out here. Working in display media, my mind jumped to the various ways I could use Pinterest to increase my conversion rates. Nerdy, I know, but stick with me.

Just as ad networks and exchanges capitalize on consumer behavior data, Pinterest adds another dimension of consumer targeting: expressed interest. Much like retargeting and look-a-like modeling, Pinterest can supply actual information and insight based on user action.

My media planning daydreams include building look-alike models based on simple things like types of boards to in-depth metrics like ratio of pins specific to historical home remodeling. Pinterest could make display as effective as search in terms of conversion metrics. As I see it, search marketing works because there is user intent – they’re searching for something. With every pin, Pinterest users are declaring their interest in something, whether it’s home improvement or a wedding dress.

Like MySpace and Facebook before it, the question to ask of Pinterest is how can we use this information? I would say that the main differentiator here is that like search, Pinterest is a real time targeting methodology.

The advertising offer, relative to the pinning would likely result in increased conversion rates. Facebook targeting primarily uses profile information, not user activity, to target ads.  If I’m targeting brides on Facebook based on their Likes (maybe The Knot, Wedding Bee, Vera Wang), I may be using out of date user data. How often do you Unlike pages? My bride to be may be a bride by the time she sees my ad.   A wedding board with at least 10 pins per day is very likely to be actively planning a wedding. And clicking on my banners.

So it’s safe to say I have high hopes for Pinterest as a digital media platform. I do hope that the offerings are a little more robust than other social sites, especially since the site is a giant canvas. It’s not to say that I want to plaster the site with banner ads. Just the opposite, I’d love to see in-stream ads, in similar dimensions to organic pins. I also hope they uphold the site’s aesthetic by employing some kind of rigorous design standard, but that seems like a tricky balance. What kind of advertising units would work best on Pinterest? What kind of targeting would you hope to see from the site?

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