A lot of big news has been coming from the popular social bookmarking site Pinterest recently, including their updated “guided search” feature and their venture into advertising with Promoted Pins.
Plagued by the stereotype that Pinterest is only for women, many men have been “afraid” to join the site, causing the site’s visitors to skew 80% female since its inception four years ago.
The San Francisco-based company is looking to change that.
In an effort to attract males to the prominently female-driven site, Pinterest is trying to make the site more gender neutral. The pinning powerhouse has been making changes in an attempt to attract the opposite sex, and their first step was to add more categories that men would be interested in. Since then, male-focused content has increased, specifically in the following categories: “Geek” increased by 175%, “Cars and Motorcycles” by 134% and “Men’s Fashion” by 122%.
Pinterest is also targeting search queries based on gender. Before this change, if you typed in “Shoes,” a variety of shoe images would appear, mostly female with some male shoes tossed in. Now, if a man searches for “Shoes” men’s shoes will appear, and if a female searches for “Shoes,” women’s shoes will appear.
Pinterest has also modified the site sign-up process. On sign-up, a list of “suggested interests” recommended by the site is now generated based on gender.
Further, Pinterest has been pushing gender neutral content when introducing the site to new markets, including Japan, Korea and India, and they have seen a sign-up ratio of 1-1, men and women. In the U.S., however, the sign-up ratio remains at 3-1.
comScore estimates that 71% of the 72.5 million visitors the site saw in December were women, making it the most female-skewed social network, while most social networking sites are closer to a 50/50 split on gender. However, with the recent changes, those numbers are beginning to change. According to a recent Pew survey, 13% of online men in the U.S. use Pinterest, up from 8% last year.
With the fastest growth rate of any social networking site, there is no doubt that Pinterest is successful. The executives at Pinterest state that they want to do for discovery what Google did for search, and that is in part why they are reaching out to new target markets. If you have an interest, Pinterest has something for you to discover. So far, there have been 30 billion unique entries pinned to the site. Not only does this speak for the growth of the website, but it also provides marketers with valuable information about what users may be interested in. With all of these changes still in their infancy, our attention will be pinned to Pinterest to see how the site evolves over the next year.
Back in May, Pinterest announced the release of their first advertising unit—Promoted Pins—for select brands. The first rollout was not geared toward small- or medium-sized businesses. According to AdAge, Pinterest was seeking a sizable commitment of over $1 million from participating advertisers. Promoted Pins are a form of native advertising within the site for tasteful, transparent and relevant ads.
But, after a successful beta launch, the popular image-bookmarking website announced its decision to give all users ability to use the Promoted Pins ad unit. Access to the ads opened up on January 1, 2015, and they are on a “reservation-based” availability.
Since the full rollout happened so recently, it is presently unknown what the current rates are and if “all users” truly means all users or if there are certain business stipulations that apply. We do know that the ads are based on CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions/views) and some of the benefits discovered during the eight months of beta testing are as follows:
- Promoted Pins perform as good or better than organic/unpromoted pins.
- Brand advertisers achieved an approximate 30% bump in earned media from people who saw a Promoted Pin and saved it to one of their boards.
- Promoted Pins are repinned an average of 11 times or more versus unpromoted pins.
- Promoted Pins continue to draw engagement from users even after a campaign has ended.
- Businesses outside of Pinterest’s core categories, which are Food and Drink, Crafts, Home Décor and Women’s Fashion, were successful with Promoted Pins.
For the first few years, Pinterest was focused on building a user base—or audience—rather than on earning revenue, but it has become obvious in several ways that their focus has evolved with businesses and advertising in mind. For one, in addition to the new advertising units, Pinterest has introduced a useful marketing tool for businesses—Pinstitute. With Pinstitute, businesses can learn how to connect with users and see an even greater return on investment. Only certain businesses will be invited to Pinstitute workshops, but webinars and other online learning tools will be available to smaller businesses. Currently there are roughly 500,000 business accounts on Pinterest, but with these new marketing opportunities, we could see this number increase over the next few years, especially if the price of ads drops and the ad options increase.
Pinterest was the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10-million visitor mark, ever. Now with 70 million users, the site is a powerhouse at driving referral traffic and ecommerce sales. In fact, Pinterest referrals spend 70% more money than visitors referred from non-social channels. Pinterest now joins Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on the list of popular social media sites to rollout advertising opportunities. It’s been apparent that having active accounts on social media is an important marketing tactic, but now advertising on these media platforms is the easiest way to cut through the noise.
Are you interested in putting your business on social media or revamping your current social strategy? Robertson & Markowitz Advertising and Public Relations can help you by creating and implementing a plan that is tailored to your business. Call R&M today, 912-921-1040.
Facebook is known for always being in beta, meaning they are frequently and continually making changes and adjustments to the site. In addition to recent algorithm changes, here are some other recent updates Facebook has introduced.
Searching for posts:
Functionality launched just this past week, you are now able to search and sift through past posts when using Facebook Graph Search. Facebook states that after receiving feedback on the Graph Search feature, which launched in 2012, they narrowed down what is important to the user—post search-ability. With a quick search, you can get back to that fun video from college, a news article you’ve been meaning to read or photos from your friend’s wedding.
This happens all the time—you stumble across an article on Facebook you would like to read but don’t quite have the time to read it at that moment. Well, now you can save posts! Similar to bookmarking sites such as Evernote, Facebook will let you easily save and recall content. If you find a post you would like to save for later, just click the drop-down menu and select “Save.” Once you have saved the post, a saved file will appear on the left-hand side of your newsfeed, allowing you to access all of your saved posts.
Rooms for interest:
Channeling back to the chat room days of the Internet, Facebook has introduced a product called Rooms. Rooms lets users create a place for things that they are into and invite other people with the same interests. The room is essentially a feed of text, photos and videos—whatever users in the room post—pertaining to a topic determined by the room creator. It’s a customizable app that allows you to use “nicknames” instead of real names, which is very unlike Facebook.
When you join Rooms, other rooms will be recommended to you. It is assumed that the Room recommendations are based off of the interests you have shown on Facebook; however, there is currently no way to search for a room. You can get into a room by snapping a photo of the Room’s QR code.
Though this is the most intriguing addition to Facebook, there are a lot of factors that may cause this to be a short-lived feature. It seems to be a mix of Facebook Groups and Facebook Messenger, with a twist of ambiguity.
Facebook Groups app:
If you’re not a fan of the anonymity of the Rooms feature, the Facebook Groups app could be the thing for you. Facebook Groups are a great way to stay in touch with people with shared interests (sounds familiar). Within the groups, you can post updates, links, photos, start new discussions, find new groups to join and even create a new group through the app. The app will show all of your groups in one location, and the groups you use most frequently will be at the top.
The Buy button:
The Buy button has been a talked-about feature for a while now, but finally started testing back in July and is starting to roll out in select areas. The Buy button allows users to purchase items from ads or posts—without leaving Facebook. If rolled out widely, this could change social e-commerce and really help businesses drive sales through Facebook.
Since Facebook makes frequent changes, we can look forward to more features and apps from the powerhouse social site in a short matter of time. With rapid changes, it’s hard to stay on top of it all and that is why you can call us. Robertson & Markowitz Advertising & PR’s Web department, Robmark Web, specializes in social media—along with SEO and website development.
The term “hashtag” has been around for several years now, but it just recently began gaining popularity. It was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June of 2014. Essentially, a hashtag is the use of the number symbol or pound sign before a word or phrase to form a label or metadata tag. It allows an electronic search to return all messages that contain that term. The first use of a hashtag was in a blog post in 2007, “Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings.”
Twitter was the first social media site to use hashtags, as well as the first site to show trending topics. Twitter sifts through the “twitterverse” looking for the most-used hashtags or keywords and compiles a trending list. The list changes as the conversation changes. Many social sites have since started using hashtags, as well as the trending topics.
For business and brands, hashtags can be very useful. They can categorize what people are saying about your brand, product or even certain advertising efforts, making is easier to manage, communicate and share. It also lets you join other conversations and helps extend the reach of your message to a new audience. One of the best, most recent examples of this happened during the American Music Awards on Sunday night. Jerry Riekert went from a simple man from New York who makes lamps to an Internet celebrity, solely by using one hashtag.
During the AMAs, Jerry tweeted about the teenage boy band One Direction while using the #amas hashtag, and Twitter exploded. If you have seen anything about One Direction, you may have noticed that they have extremely loyal fans. Well, One Direction fans saw Jerry’s tweet while they were reading the #amas feed, and now Jerry is no longer just a simple man from New York.
Like any smart businessman, Jerry utilizes his increased audience by showing off his products. He even started crowd sourcing his followers for ideas for a One Direction-themed lamp.
Though Jerry’s story is rare, it still shows the power of using hashtags. Using popular hashtags properly can extend your message and help you gain new followers and potentially new business. Still have questions on hashtag usage or social media in general? Call Robmark Web. We can extend a helpful hand or handle the creation and management of your social media sites.
The big search engines Google, Bing, and Yahoo continually fine-tune their algorithms in order to provide better lists of websites to their users. In fact, Google has fundamentally reworked its entire search engine system with its Hummingbird update in recent months by introducing semantic search and synonym capabilities. With these semantic search capabilities, Google uses its data collection and tracking of other users who have searched for the same or similar keyword phrases to get a clearer idea of what you are searching for when you enter a particular search query. It’s pretty amazing.
Nevertheless, these search engines will forever be limited by the keyword. Put another way, no matter how much Google improves its algorithm, the effectiveness of Google delivering you to the content you are searching for will forever be limited to the quality and clarity of the words you type into it.
So when you’re only partially sure what you’re looking for, or when you’re just shopping around the Web, how likely is it that Google can get you to the information you need?
Put simply by the old programming adage — garbage in, garbage out.
Pinterest, the picture-oriented social networking website, is looking to move search a bit beyond the limitations of the keyword. What began as a scrapbooking website now encompasses an image network of over 30 billion “pins” that grows 25% every year. And from that wealth of content derives a seemingly endless source of information and idea generation.
Pinterest envisions that it can help users figure out what it is they really want by allowing them to start with a vague notion and use its vast library of images to help them gather information and narrow their focus. In other words, as an alternative to keyword search engines, Pinterest can use pictures to help users flesh out their ideas when the keywords they would try to search wouldn’t help them get what they want through Google.
The benefits of this sort of image-centric search method, for some types of information, are quite apparent. If I saw something and wanted to find it online but only had vague descriptors at my disposal, browsing images on Pinterest would be a great starting point. Pinterest also has strengths in browsing, perusing, and narrowing down a focus when you aren’t entirely sure what you’re looking for.
This particular type of search process is basically a virtual form of “window shopping” and therefore provides great value to online retailers, who should definitely be investing in their Pinterest presence.
Being that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” I would concur with Pinterest that sometimes a picture search is worth several keyword searches. To be sure, only some types of information can be located on the Web through the medium of pictures. But for the information that is image-based, Pinterest will continue to flex its muscles as a valuable search tool.
This afternoon I had the opportunity to give a talk on “Optimizing Your Web Presence” at the Coastal Museum Association’s monthly luncheon. I opened by highlighting the fact that Web presence encompasses any and all online avenues by which tourists may find “things to do in Savannah” through the Web, which includes the website as well as Google’s new informational features, blogs, social media platforms, and TripAdvisor. I touched on the importance of responsive websites and the fact that over half of all Internet traffic takes place on mobile devices, which is even more important for the tourism industry. I then gave advice on optimizing a historical site’s presence on Google search results, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and TripAdvisor, and I emphasized the benefits of keeping a regularly updated blog.
As a fellow lover of history, I would like to thank the Coastal Museum Association for the opportunity to share some insights into making the most of the Web. And I would like to thank Mandy for lending her expertise in social media marketing during the Q&A.
Please feel free to view my presentation: “Optimizing Your Web Presence”