Who Converts More Online Shoppers—Facebook or Pinterest?

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The buzz in media circles continues on whether rising star Pinterest will challenge Facebook in its ability to convert viewers. Both have coveted demographics in key consumer categories. But who's better at converting eyeballs to sales?


First some demographic and awareness stats. Marketing Land provides some interesting insights. Just over half of all internet users 50 years and up use Facebook, yet only 19 percent of female internet users are on Pinterest, and only five percent of male web users visit this relative newbie. Facebook still dominates Pinterest in reach. September 2012 data revealed that 63 percent of online consumers have a Facebook account, while just 15 percent have a Pinterest account. But awareness stats show Pinterest is on the minds of online consumers—46 percent say they’ve heard of Pinterest—a jump from 39 percent in May and 36 percent in March. And, of course, Nielson reminds us that Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in terms of sheer visitors: 152.2 million unique US visitors vs. 27.2 million for Pinterest. 


Bizrate Insights recently compared and contrasted Facebook and Pinterest in terms of shopping conversions and product inspiration. They found that while both Pinterest and Facebook connect with online shoppers who have similar styles and interests, Pinterest is more often a destination for shopping inspiration, tracking and product discovery. According to Bizrate, just over two-thirds of online consumers who visit Pinterest have located an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase as compared to only 40 percent who visit Facebook. And a preponderance of online consumers noted that Pinterest is the go-to destination to “get inspiration on what to buy,” “help keep track of or collect things I like,” and “to keep up with the latest trends on things that I like.” 
In terms of branding, Pinterest scores higher--with  43  percent vs. just 24 percent for Facebook. Users say they use Pinterest to “associate with retailers or brands with which I identify.”  Slightly over half of Pinterest users have engaged with retailers and brands through Pinterest, while the percentage for Facebook falls below the halfway mark.  That said, how customers participate in each platform differs somewhat. Pinterest users tend to add and share retailer/brand related content, while their Facebook counterparts will interact more with promotions created by retailers and brands.  


So who’s better at loading up the online shopping cart? When you boil down the stats and research, Pinterest is a better driver of direct sales, especially for popular social media products like clothing, accessories and cooking products (think primarily women). The key here is to include product specifics like price. On the other hand, Facebook has the numbers, but very little prospect loyalty, so discounts and deals will help fill shopping carts with these visitors.

Image courtesy of Michal Marco/FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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