Facebook vs. Pinterest: You’re Investing, But What Are Your Goals?

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The rise of social media and feed-based data consumption has created a new channel in which consumers and brands can interact. There are new opportunities for brands to interact with customers to build awareness, cultivate customers, and increase sales. One of the major keys to success is to understand intent and providing consumers with the appropriate information. At BloomReach, we get to see millions of customer interactions per day as consumers land on ecommerce sites from natural search, paid search, affiliate networks, and other websites. By analyzing this data, we gain insight into how consumers express intent, where they are coming from and how they engage with a brand. One of our goals is to take the blindfolds off for our customers.

Facebook vs Pinterest for eCommerce Infographic

For this post, we decided to look at the two preeminent social networks. CMOs report that they are already spending 8.4 percent of their marketing budgets on social media and expect to spend 21.6 percent in the next five years. Our data shows very distinct user behaviors on each network. Recently, we pulled some of that insight for an article and infographic on the popular tech site ReadWrite. I encourage you to read the article, but we thought we’d share a synopsis of the insight on our own social channels.

Our analysis consistently shows that Pinterest has a higher concentration of people who are in a ‘purchase’ state of mind while Facebook users are more interested in interacting with friends and brands.

We analyzed the total traffic – 46,277,543 site visits – for a set of our retail clients during the end of 2012 (Sept. 20 through Dec. 31). Using the last-click method of attribution, we looked at five key metrics from Facebook and Pinterest traffic: total traffic, revenue per visit, conversion rate, bounce rate and average pages viewed. The result – while Facebook delivered more than 7.5 times the traffic, Pinterest handily defeated Facebook in the remaining four areas, even with Pinterest lacking any paid element.

By the numbers:

  • Pinterest traffic spent 60 percent more that coming from Facebook.
  • Pinterest traffic converted to a sale 22 percent more than Facebook.
  • Facebook traffic bounced 90 percent of the time while traffic from Pinterest only bounced 75 percent.
  • Facebook users only viewed on average 1.6 pages whereas traffic from Pinterest viewed an average of 2.9 pages –   representing an 81 percent difference.

The average revenue per visit for Pinterest traffic was north of $1.50, making it a highly lucrative traffic source, and the release of Pinterest’s Analytics Tool for Businesses should help business grow Pinterest traffic in a meaningful way. What is the takeaway for Pinterest? The leads may be better, but the amount of derivative traffic is significantly lower than Facebook.

If a company’s goal is to simply reach a larger audience to create/maintain brand awareness, Facebook probably is your option. The sheer volume of users – estimated to be 1.06 billion active monthly users, 680 million mobile users and 618 million daily users – and the army of people ready to sell impressions make it an easy channel to leverage. However, our data shows you will likely not realize an immediate return on investment.

My advice to those running social media campaigns is to look for ways to optimize Facebook campaign and expand the presence on Pinterest. Facebook and Pinterest should become a larger part of you media mix model as visitor referrals from these sites grow. At the end of 2012, only 2.7 percent of total traffic in our analysis came from either network, demonstrating that social commerce is still in an early stage.

It’s fair to say that Pinterest seems to be a more efficient channel, and the analysis reinforces that key elements of e-commerce are tied to delivering relevant products and overall experience; yet, with billions of ways to express intent, consumers and brands still face a significant discovery divide.

We’re always looking at interesting trends guided by consumer intent and purchasing behavior, but if you have any questions or would like to share our data or infographic for your own purposes, please feel free to reach out to us at media@bloomreach.com.

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