How marketers can leverage Pinterest APIs

Target Awesome

The Target Awesome Shop site

Since November, some 20 brand and retail partners with access to new Pinterest APIs have been repinning trending content onto their own Web sites, looking to capitalize on consumers strong interest in accessing social content from their mobile devices.

Now boasting 70 million users, marketers are just beginning to recognize Pinterest as a highly influential social site for commerce, which the new APIs could further cultivate. Sixty-nine percent of Pinterest visitors have purchased or wanted to purchase an item versus 40 percent on Facebook, according to Hello Society, a Santa Monica, CA-based analytics and creative agency specializing in Pinterest.

We have gotten a lot of questions and a lot of interest from our clients around the APIs, said Kyla Brennan, founder and CEO of Hello Society, Santa Monica, CA.’Should we get that? `What should we do with it?

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The early examples
Walmart, Target, AllRecipes, NBC and BuzzFeed are among the early Pinterest partners with access to its APIs.

Target wasted no time in spinning its Pinterest material into a Web site called the Awesome Shop, featuring a curated assortment of the top Target products pinned. It only shows products with four-star or better reviews (see story).

Walmart has incorporated top pinned items under the `Trending Now banner located on the upper left hand corner of its homepage. Meanwhile AllRecipes has created a shaded box near the middle of its homepage containing three trending recipes, under the heading: Todays Most Popular Pins on AllRecipes.

Mobile is already the sweet access spot of Pinterest users, representing the majority of traffic to the site. And nearly half of all iPad social sharing activity is from Pinterest, according to Hello Society.

The new APIs present opportunities for marketers on homepages, but it can also be easily segmented and shared via mobile. Isolating pinned content into a compact section as exhibited by AllRecipes is one ideal approach.

Getting started
The first step to integrate Pinterest material in other marketing tools is simply to make room for it, advised Ms. Brennan.

Even if you dont want to do this on your main site, it can be tailored and shared with specific audiences, she said.

For example, a retailer with shoes trending on Pinterest could pull this information into their newsletter and apps.

Most importantly, marketers need to make a strong presence on Pinterest itself so that their products stand out and get re-pinned, stressed Ms. Brennan.

Her tips include using photos that are attractive and sized correctly for Pinterest which restricts column width. Industry best practices recommend a high quality image in the ballpark of 736 pixels wide x 1128 pixels high. Ms. Brennan also advised not to use too many straight product photos, at most only one in five.

Pinterest is a different animal. It is about the image itself, reminded Ms. Brennan. You have to have a mix of editorial images and product shots. A photo of pants on a model is more likely to be re-pinned than just a photo of the pants.

To fully leverage the benefits of Pinterest, top pins should be shared via Facebook and Twitter, noted Ms. Brennan. And to get the most visibility on Pinterest, ideal pinning times are between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Danny Maloney, CEO of Tailwind, a social media analytics company, said the new APIs will enable marketers to more fully take advantage of their positive Pinterest feedback and also fine tune it.

Companies can build galleries of their most pinned products, said Mr. Maloney. For example, they can organize by color.

Furthermore, retailers including Target and Nordstrom are starting to take their Pinterest data into their stores using signs near products.

They are finding that what happens on social networks ultimately impacts willingness to purchase, said Mr. Maloney. If you know what is most popular, it creates peer approval. It is being certified.

Pinterests founder has publicly stressed the sites mission is to encourage action. Its intent is not to keep people online, but should inspire them to go out and do the things they love. This could be booking a trip, making a recipe or shopping, pointed out Mr. Maloney.

To promote that pinning activity will mean more links back to their site and downstream it will mean more in revenues, he said.

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