ISSUE NO. 65 06/06/12

Pinterest exploded onto the social media scene in the last year and is garnering a great deal of attention from marketers everywhere. Brands and retailers alike have been eager to capitalize on the site's phenomenal growth but have yet to settle on the best way to do so. New research from Harvard MBA candidate Josh Yang and an analytics firm called Pinreach offers insight into one aspect of how pinning images to their customized image collections can make an impact. Specifically, the research looked at the likelihood of products being pinned or repinned when their images carried price tags versus without price tags.

The study found that images of products with price tags were shared by Pinterest users about as often as products that did not have price tags. On average they were "repinned" between 5.4 and 5.5 times. However, the research did uncover a difference in terms of the number of "likes" that the two types of images received. Pins with price tags were "liked" an average of 1.4 times per pin while pins without price tags were only liked an average of 1.1 times. Interestingly, the results were much different if the brand put the price tags on the images rather than the Pinterest users themselves. Pinned products sold through one of three major ecommerce sites were tracked and those with price tags were far less likely to be repinned than those without. As reported by, one ecommerce site saw far fewer than its average of 135.6 repins per pin for those with price tags, which saw only 54.6 repins.
The study concluded, "When Pinterest users see $-pins from brands, it feels very much like an advertisement to click-through and buy, and they are less likely to share (i.e., repin) advertisements, as it degrades their own social proof with their followers."

When a consumer "pins" a picture of a brand's product or service to Pinterest for their friends to see, it is an unbiased endorsement for the brand that can have incredible impact among other consumers. This research uncovers some of the subtleties associated with having price tags embedded by the brand and suggests that marketers should be very cautious about anything that even hints of brand-driven commerce. Bottom line, if you want your shoppers to share your products with their friends, don't put a price tag on your images.

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"Brands on Pinterest: To $ or Not to $? [STUDY]," Mashable, 4/15/12

Pinterest, shopper research, social media

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