Is Pinterest Cutting Into Facebook’s Market Share?

While marketers figure out how to convert sales on Facebook, it appears that Pinterest is beating the social network to the punch. New research from RichRelevance shows that Pinterest is starting to take up a bigger slice of the marketing pie among brands seeking conversions.

According to RichRelevance, a company that offers personalized shopping experiences for major brands, Facebook has been losing traffic and sales since the 2012 holidays, while Pinterest has been steadily trending upward.

Facebook’s share of traffic hit 92 percent in mid-December, then plummeted to 69 percent in the week leading up to Easter. Pinterest has grown from 6 percent to 25 percent in that time. Also in mid-December, at the peak of the holiday shopping season, Facebook’s market share of sales hit 89 percent, then fell to 78 percent by Easter. Pinterest grew from 10 percent to 21 percent in that same period.

Not only are more people buying based on what they’ve seen pinned, they’re spending more. RichRelevance found that Pinterest shoppers are spending $140 to $180 per order, compared with $60 to $80 on Facebook. This gap became more vast in the days leading up to Easter, as Pinterest users started spending $194 percent (versus $84 on Facebook and $35 on Twitter).

RichRelevance Chief Marketing Officer Diane Kegley feels that the fundamental differences in how people use Facebook and Pinterest make the latter a better option for commerce. She likened Facebook ads to a marketer pitching wares while users are having conversations with friends, while Pinterest is more like window shopping at a store that the user chooses. If a user pins several photos of home furnishings (which accounts for 60 percent of Pinterest’s referrals), that user would be much more likely to purchase a couch or another piece of furniture for their house.

This is not meant to knock Facebook. The social network is great for building awareness and connecting with customers, Kegley told AllFacebook, and Pinterest is better for conversions, since users already know what they want, but are simply discovering where to buy these items. Smart brands that work across Facebook and Pinterest can both build awareness and get users to buy.

Kegley talked with AllFacebook about the main difference between the two sites, and how companies can decide which to use and when:

When shoppers or consumers are on Pinterest, they’re in that mindset. They can almost meander through merchandise and then find something that they really like and click on it. They’re able to put together more of a complete picture, whereas Facebook is like being out with friends, but all of a sudden, a merchandiser is trying to push a product … I think that it’s about identifying which channel is right for the campaign, and for what they’re trying to accomplish in their marketing. I think it goes back to respecting the channel for what it is. If you’re trying to drive awareness and the point of promotion, I think Facebook is highly valuable. Pinterest offers a very different type of exposure.

Readers: How often do you buy something you’ve seen on Pinterest?

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