In terms of social media outlets, Pinterest is a relative newcomer, and one that is growing fast. Reaching ten million users faster than any other social network, it revolves around the metaphor of a pin board; users “pin” photos they find and organize them into topical collections. Users can also follow one another a re-pin, like, and comment on other pins.
Eric Gilbert, a professor at the School of Interactive Computer at Georgia Tech, has done a first-of-its-kind study concerning Pinterest. Using statistical data, the study sought to examine the driving forces behind the activity on Pinterest. His study finds that female users have more re-pins, regardless of geographical locations, men typically have more followers than women, and that four verbs set Pinterest apart from Twitter: “use,” “look,” “want,” and “need.”
According to Gilbert, these verbs uniquely describe Pinterest, and say a lot about the intent of people and the motivation for their actions. These verbs illustrate the consumption that lies at the heart of the site, and many press articles focusing on the potential for commercial applications for Pinterest back this.
One of the factors for looking into Pinterest, according to Loren Terveen, a co-author of the study, is the difference of Pinterest compared with other social media. Pinterest focuses on pictures, products, and boasts a large proportion of women users. Examining the statistics of the pins allow Gilbert and his team to provide a basis for understanding the motivation for people on the site.
How will this impact your business? A recent market survey showed that a higher proportion of Pinterest users click through to e-commerce sites. Not only that, but when they do they are more likely to spend significantly more money than users who come through Facebook or Twitter. “There are several social networking sites that marketers and advertisers can take advantage of these days,” said Gilbert. “After conducting this research, if I had to choose where to put my money and marketing, Pinterest would probably be my first choice.”