What is the ROI of Pinterest?
Sure, it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (or Facebook,
whatever). But the question of ROI must be addressed, lest the Pinterest
bubble burst in a few months.
Well-known social media experts like to slough off tough questions about
return on investment (ROI) with flip phrases like, “What’s the ROI of
your mom?” Now it’s time to turn the tables and ask social media
experts, “What’s the ROI of Pinterest?”
For the past few weeks we have experienced a deluge of Pinterest hype
across the social media sphere, marketing media, and the periodic
mainstream news piece. Pinterest is touted as the next hot thing, and we
see a ton of suggestions from “experts” on how to market using
What is rarely offered is demonstrative evidence of ROI. Shared case
studies are often sandbox level successes that produce light outcomes
like follower counts, but not actual financial results. Here are some
Outside of driving traffic
The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton
now has 350 followers on Pinterest, and has received roughly 100 visits
from its pins. Certainly some early signs of local engagement for a new
social network, but what’s the outcome?
Yogurt company Chobani has 2,000 followers
and is driving user engagement from Pinterest. OK, again, good
top-of-the-funnel activity, not massive, but good for a core loyalist
group. But what are the loyalists doing once they get to the Chobani
Probably the most likely to have real ROI occurring is online retailer Etsy with its 43,000 pinners. But the case study I saw
discusses retail branding and empowering users to build shopping ideas,
not sales, store click throughs, conversions, or any other statistic
close to ROI.
and Pinterest follower counts
most people don’t have any outcomes to offer. Pinterest is a huge
experiment from the marketing perspective. Fewer people have real
answers to the ROI question.
Marketing Profs just published a comprehensive post on Pinterest user engagement
and the site noted how quality was suffering with the recent hype and
onslaught of new users. One has to wonder if all the hype is good or bad
for Pinterest. Almost all of the Pinterest posts and stories discuss
user behavior and marketing ideas, not actual examples of how companies
have made it work.
Pinterest has great potential. And marketers targeting the core
demographics it serves have every reason to experiment and share ideas.
So let’s get real about this conversation. The space desperately needed
something new to talk about. And now everyone has gone gaga touting
Pinterest as the greatest Shiny Object since the iPhone app.
But reality is not meeting the hype, not yet, at least. Experts who tout
Pinterest as the second coming of Facebook need to answer the ROI
question or damper the enthusiasm. Otherwise, we’ll be pinning burst
bubbles in six months.
Geoff Livingston is co-founder of Zoetica. He blogs at GeoffLivingston.com, where a version of this story first appeared.