Let's start with this: If you're a marketer and you're not at least experimenting with Pinterest, you're probably making a mistake. It's visual, and people are visual. It's relatively new, and people gravitate toward new. And it's easy. People love easy. And it's the fastest growing social sharing platform there is.
But is Target's recent success with Pinterest all the proof you need that it will do the same for you?
First off, let's look at what marketers are trying to do: in general, they're trying to put their content (ad, image, white paper, video, whatever) on various platforms hoping to optimize this exposure to get to the lowest cost of moving their consumer to some kind of action. Classic content marketing. You can call it advertising. You can call it Social. It doesn't matter what you call it.
And since there's no real cost to move your "content" around from platform to platform, it's almost irrelevant where the content is, as long as it works to get your audience to do whatever it is you want them to do. The trick is to measure how your different content and different platforms are performing against each other. Which ones afford the lowest (or most tolerable) cost to get your action?
That's why the recent article in MediaPost about Target's success with rich pins got me thinking: it would be real easy to say, "Yep, Pinterest is the killer app. Look at Target." But we don't know enough. We don't know how the Pinterest program compares against Target's Search program, or its display program, or its TV campaign.
Certainly, we know the Pinterest program made Target happy – revenue year to year tripled on Cyber Monday, traffic from rich pins is up 70%, but there are two points other marketers need to consider: 1) what success looks like to Target may not be success for you, and 2) Target is in a rare position (that you're probably not in) – they control the entire path to purchase, from exposure all the way down to online sale or POS data at the in-store cash register. With this control, they can optimize message, offer, placement, price – anything – in real time.
The decision to include Pinterest in your mix is a no-brainer. The decision about how much to spend on it, and what kind of content you should deploy, will require a careful examination of how it’s performing against your other ad/content buys. And that will require data.