Friday Jan 17, 2014

Pinterest: The Latest Picture on Big Social Marketing Engagement

social marketing with imageryFirst of all, thanks for reading this.  It would appear we as a people are driving toward eliminating the written word and returning to communicating primarily via pictures. And whether that’s good or bad, visually driven social media networks like Pinterest continue to draw some of the highest engagement in social marketing.


Engagement is what we as brands crave on social. Having somewhere down the line decided impressions are worthless (I totally disagree), we’re using active interacting as our yardstick, and Pinterest makes fine engagement bait.


Our friends in Oracle Social Strategy Consulting tell us from 2012 to 2013, Pinterest sharing went up at least 50%. A ShareThis study underlines that, saying Pinterest is growing faster at sharing than any other social media service and has passed email to become the 3rd most popular way to share.


Pinterest is the leader in eCommerce traffic sources. It’s rapidly gaining share from Facebook in social shopping sessions, and users coming from Pinterest to retail sites are 10% more likely to buy something, part of why they’re regarded as twice as valuable to online retailers on average than Facebook fans. And 8thBridge found that online retailers prefer the ‘Pin It’ button to the Facebook “Like” 62% to 59%.


A recent Pew Project shows Pinterest saw the biggest usage spike in 2013, going from 15 to 21% and surpassing Twitter. It now has over 70 million active users globally. Who are they? You already knew the answer. Mostly women; college-educated women 25-44. Moms in particular are 61% more likely to use Pinterest than the average American.


Ah but it doesn’t stop there. Pinterest is now the 2nd largest social sharing site for news, surpassing Twitter in that as well. Pinterest drives more traffic to online publishers than Twitter, Linkedin and Reddit combined.


Heading into 2014, Pinterest is ready for mobile (2nd most mobile behind Instagram), offers analytics that tell us things like most repinned and most clicked, Rich Pins make pins more informative and interactive, and there’s the new Place Pins for travel lovers.


Most recently we saw Pinterest’s purchase of Visual Graph, which is all about turning the site’s massive content into massive data via image recognition. The tech id’s objects and faces without needing alternate text or tags. Searches for items will be highly accurate and relevant, turning Pinterest into a personalized catalogue on steroids.


Pinterest is not without challenges. It’s not monetizing yet, where the delicate dance of not turning off users enters the picture. The company doesn’t even own the rights to the name “Pinterest” in Europe and Australia. And as young and hot as it is, Pinterest could already be growing “long in the tooth.” 80% of the Pinterest-like We Heart It’s users are under 24, whereas 80% of Pinterest users are over 24.


But for right now, if engagement is going to be our scoreboard, a mighty pretty picture is being painted for Pinterest.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net


Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Social Images: How Are Your Brand Selfies?

babyfaceYou’ve heard it again and again.  Using photos and images in your social posts is the best practice to beat all best practices, increasing the likelihood your post will be seen in the news feed and win some engagement.

And while it’s fine to pragmatically know that, you’ll do much better to internalize just how wild the public has gotten about images, and why. Maintaining a constant awareness of this passion is the only way for your brand to match that passion for imagery, which will then drive the effort and quality of the images you use to show the world your brand’s face (your brand selfie).

While blogs and conferences and webinars and ebooks are advising brands on that elusive issue of “how to increase engagement,” the public is jumping up and down right in front of us, showing us the answer as clearly as they can.

  • 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook daily.
  • An average 7.3 million daily active users on Instagram as of August 2012.
  • Instagram's average daily mobile visitors up 724% leap in 6 months.
  • Total unique visitors to Pinterest up 2,702.2% in one year.
  • Average 257 minutes per user spent using Instagram on mobile in one month.
  • Average 1 hour, 17 minutes spent by Americans on Pinterest.
  • One new user gained per second on Instagram
  • 58 photos uploaded per minute on Instagram


Is there still a doubt that images on social can move the needle and get you the attention and engagement you want?

  • Over 80% of Pinterest pins are repins.
  • 59% of Pinterest users bought an item they saw on the site.
  • 79% of Pinterest users are more likely to buy things they’ve seen on Pinterest.
  • Articles with images get 94% more views than articles without.
  • Pictures on Facebook get over twice the engagement of text posts.
  • Facebook posts with photo albums get 180% more engagement.
  • Tweets with images get twice the engagement of text tweets.
  • After Twitter added built-in photo sharing, photo sharing increased 421%.
  • When searching, 60% are more willing to consider or contact a business if an image shows up in search results.

rosepiano

Your fans are taking photos, uploading photos, liking photos, sharing photos, commenting on photos, and shopping from photos. Which means your social marketing success is quite tied to how well you execute on imagery. Brands are starting to get it. Indeed.com found jobs requesting Instagram skills are up 644% from 2012. 25% of F100 companies have Pinterest accounts. And the number of photos posted by brands is up 20% over last year. But just why is imagery so powerful that it (along with video) is key to social marketing?


Aside from pictures being eye-catching, fast & easy to consume, worth a thousand words, and transcending language, Robin Kelsey, a professor of photography at Harvard says pictures aren’t about capturing and storing memories anymore. They’re becoming the real-time way we communicate. Consider Snapchat at 200 million images per day, none of which are meant to survive. Wireless trade association CTIA sees images replacing texting. Texting was down 5% over the year, but MMS (multimedia messages) soared up 41%.


Still feeling stoked about your 50-page, text heavy white papers?


Brain scans
show us that seeing something attractive triggers the part of the motor cerebellum governing hand movement, causing us to literally want to reach toward what we see. Pretty easy to understand why food is the top content category on Pinterest, huh? 67% of consumers say the quality of a product’s image is very important when decision-making, even more important than product info, long descriptions, and ratings and reviews. They want beauty, they want to feel something, they want to be moved. So, your social publishing tool has to give you a canvas that can present your images in the strongest light.


If brands want fans and followers to “reach out” for their products, those selfies need to look really awesome.

@mikestiles
Photo 1: Benjamin Earwicker, stock.xchng
Photo 2: stock.xchng

Friday Jun 28, 2013

Social Network Updates: While You Were Busy Marketing 2

biz showerSince social moves at the speed of data, it’s already time for another update, as we did back in April, on the changes the various social networks have made or gone through while you were busy marketing.

Facebook

There’s a lot of talk Facebook’s developing a mobile product to act like Flipboard and surface news, from both users and media outlets.

The biggest news was Facebook/Instagram’s introduction of 15-second videos, enhanced with with filters, to take some of Vine’s candy. You can also delete parts of videos and rerecord them, and there’s image stabilization.

Facebook’s ad revenue is coming along just fine, thank you very much. 35% quarter-to-quarter growth in Q2. And it looks like new formats like Mobile App Install Ads and Unpublished Page Posts are adding to the mix.

If you don’t already, you’ll soon see a little camera in comment boxes letting you insert photos right into the comments you make. The drive toward “more visual” continues.

The other big news is Facebook’s adoption of our Twitter friend, the hashtag. Adding # sets apart the post topic so it can be easily found or discovered. It’s also being added to Google Plus, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Twitter

Want to send someone a promoted tweet when they’re in range of your store? That could be happening by the end of this year.

Some users have been seeing automatic in-stream previews of images on Twitter.com. Right now it’s images in your own tweets, but we can assume all tweets are next.

Get your followers organized! Twitter raised the limit on the number of lists you can create from 20 to 1,000. They also raised the number of accounts you can have in a list from 500 to 5,000.

Twitter started notifying you when someone favorites a tweet you’re mentioned in or re-tweets a tweet you re-tweeted. Anyway, it’s the first time Twitter’s notified you about indirect interactions like that.

Who’s afraid of Instagram? A study shows 6-second Vine videos are being posted to Twitter at the rate of 9/second, up from 5/second 2 months ago. Vine has over 13 million users and branded Vines are 4x more likely to be shared than video ads.

Google Plus

Now featuring a 3-column redesigned stream, and images that take up a whole column. And photo filters Auto Highlight and Auto Awesome work to turn your photos into a real show.

Google Hangouts is the workhorse for all Google messaging now, it’s not just an online chat with 9 people anymore.

Google Plus Dashboard improves the connection between your company’s Google Plus business page and your Google Plus Local. Updates go out across all Google properties and you can do your managing from the dashboard.

With Google Plus’ authorship system, you can build “Author Rank” based on what you write and put on the web. If your stuff is +1’ed and shared a lot, you’re the real deal and there are search result benefits.

LinkedIn

"Who's Viewed Your Updates" shows you what you’ve shared recently, who saw it and what they did about it in real-time.

Influencers” is, well, influential. Traffic to all LI news products has gone up 8x since it was introduced. LinkedIn is quickly figuring out how to get users to stick around awhile.

You and your brand can post images and documents in status updates now. In fact, that whole “document posting” thing is making some analysts wonder if LinkedIn will drift on over to the Dropboxes and YouSendIts of the world.

C’mon, admit it. Your favorite part of LinkedIn is being able to see who’s viewed your profile. Now you’ve got even more info and can see what/who you have in common. Premium users get even deeper insights about how people are finding them.

If you’re a big fan of security, you’ll love that LinkedIn started offering two-factor authentication (2FA). It’s optional, but step 2 is a one-time code texted to your registered mobile.

Pinterest

A study showed pins have a looong shelf life compared to other social net posts. “Clicks kept coming for 30 days and beyond.” Most pins are timeless, and the infinite scroll causes people to see older pins.

Is it a keeper? Pinterest jumped 82% to 54 million users in the past year. It’s valued at $2.5 billion and is one of the biggest sources of referral traffic there is. That said, CEO Ben Silbermann adds, "Right now, we don't make money."

A new search feature stops you from having to endlessly scroll through your own pins looking for that waterfall picture you posted. Simply select “just my pins” in the search bar.

New "Rich Pins" lets brands add info like price and availability to pins that can be updated daily via a data feed from your merchant site. Not so fast, you have to apply to Pinterest for it first.

Like other social nets, Pinterest does not allow sexual content, nudity, or even partial nudity. However…some art contains nudity, and Pinterest wants to allow art. What constitutes “art” will be judged by…what we have to assume are Pinterest employees who love their job.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng, Tim Marmon

Friday Oct 26, 2012

Pinterest and the Rising Power of Imagery

eyesIf images keep you glued to a screen, you’re hardly alone. Countless social users are letting their eyes do the walking, waiting for that special photo to grab their attention. And perhaps more than any other social network, Pinterest has been giving those eyes plenty of room to walk.

Pinterest came along in 2010. Its play was that users could simply create topic boards and pin pictures to the appropriate boards for sharing. Yes there are some words, captions mostly, but not many.

The speed of its growth raised eyebrows. Traffic quadrupled in the last quarter of 2011, with 7.51 million unique visitors in December alone. It now gets 1.9 billion monthly page views. And it was sticky. In the US, the average time a user spends strolling through boards and photos on Pinterest is 15 minutes, 50 seconds.

Proving the concept of browsing a catalogue is not dead, it became a top 5 referrer for several apparel retailers like Land’s End, Nordstrom, and Bergdorfs. Now a survey of online shoppers by BizRate Insights says that Pinterest is responsible for more purchases online than Facebook. Over 70% of its users are going there specifically to keep up with trends and get shopping ideas. And when they buy, the average order value is $179.

Pinterest is also scoring better in terms of user engagement. 66% of pinners regularly follow and repin retailers, whereas 17% of Facebook fans turn to that platform for purchase ideas. (Facebook still wins when it comes to reach and driving traffic to 3rd-party sites by the way).

Social posting best practices have consistently shown that posts with photos are rewarded with higher engagement levels. You may be downright Shakespearean in your writing, but what makes images in the digital world so much more powerful than prose?

baby picture1. They transcend language barriers.

2. They’re fun and addictive to look at.

3. They can be consumed in fractions of a second, important considering how fast users move through their social content (admit it, you do too).

4. They’re efficient gateways. A good picture might get them to the headline. A good headline might then get them to the written content.

5. The audience for them surpasses demographic limitations.

6. They can effectively communicate and trigger an emotion.

7. With mobile use soaring, photos are created on those devices and easily consumed and shared on them. Pinterest’s iPad app hit #1 in the Apple store in 1 day. Even as far back as 2009, over 2.5 billion devices with cameras were on the streets generating in just 1 year, 10% of the number of photos taken…ever.

But let’s say you’re not a retailer. What if you’re a B2B whose products or services aren’t visual? Should you worry about your presence on Pinterest?

As with all things, you need a keen awareness of who your audience is, where they reside online, and what they want to do there. If it doesn’t make sense to put a tent stake in Pinterest, fine. But ignore the power of pictures at your own peril. If not visually, how are you going to attention-grab social users scrolling down their News Feeds at top speed? You’re competing with every other cool image out there from countless content sources. Bore us and we’ll fly right past you.

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