A common question I get asked is what is the difference between Pinterest and Instagram (*or any other social media platform*). Another one is why should I be using Pinterest marketing over any other platform?
To answer these questions, I am going to outline how Pinterest compares to some of the platforms that you might already be more familiar with. It is likely that most people reading this blog would already use at least one of the following platforms -Instagram, YouTube, Facebook - whether it be for business or for personal.
So the question I propose to you is
"When you think about these three platforms (Facebook, Instagram and YouTube) - which one do you think is most similar to Pinterest?"
The next 3 blog posts will be a mini-series covering this exact question.
And we'll start off by looking at Instagram and Pinterest.
Pinterest vs Instagram
Obviously they are both image based platforms (or visual platforms). Because of this, a lot of people tend to group them together and think that they are very similar platforms. In actual fact, that's pretty much where their similarities end, and they are really are quite different.
Firstly, Instagram is a social media platform.
Pinterest is a visual search engine ( not social media)
This means that they have different purposes, different uses and different audiences.
Brand Awareness vs Website Traffic
For example, Instagram, is often used for building brand awareness. It's a platform where businesses/users go to share their own photos, videos and stories. It's often about sharing the face behind your business and the 'behind the scenes'.
When using Pinterest for Business, the core strategy is usually generating website traffic in order to grow your email list or increase sales. There are of course other strategies, but that's usually the main one.
On Instagram, your followers will see your posts in their feed. After a certain period of time, these posts will disappear from the main feed and the only way to see them again is to scroll back through your profile.
Being a search engine, most of the activity that happens on Pinterest is search. Pinterest users won't always necessarily visit your profile or follow your account. They will most likely find your pins via search (thus why keywords are important)! What this means is that pins don't 'disappear in a feed' - they can be found over and over again, given the right search terms.
Followers aren't as important on Pinterest as they are on Instagram
On Instagram, having followers is quite important. Instagram, is often known as an "influencers' platform, and Instagram users tend to follow brands, people and influencers.
The number of Pinterest followers you have is less important because of that fact that most pins are found via search (or the Pinterest recommended for you function).
When pinners search on Pinterest, 98% of the searches are unbranded.
With most searched being unbranded, this means that whilst pinners may be looking for something in particular (ie they have intention), they are still open minded. As an example, if someone was searching for organic makeup, they might search "vegan makeup" or "cruelty free makeup" - but they won't necessarily search for a specific brand. This is powerful as it levels they playing field for small businesses - they have an equal chance of being found because it comes down to your keywords and SEO strategy.
Every pin on Pinterest has a link to an external website
On Instagram you generally just have one link in the bio, but you can't have links on each individual post. Ultimately, Instagram would prefer for users to stay on the platform.
On Pinterest, every pin image that you create can can have a link to your website or online store. Pinterest want their users to click on pin images.... and your account will be rewarded if your pins generate a high click through rate (high engagement = high SEO). They want pinners to find whatever they were looking for - that way they are more likely to come back again next time they are searching for something.
Other key differences to note are that whilst hashtags are really important on Instagram, they are less important on Pinterest. Hashtags are and can still be used, however keywords are currently still more important.
When it comes to size, obviously Instagram is a much larger platform with 1 billion monthly active users. Pinterest may have a smaller audience (currently 335 million monthly users), but it has been experiencing rapid growth in the last few years. In the last 12 months alone, the monthly users have increased by 70 million, from 265 million in December 2018.
Here is a summary comparison of Instagram and Pinterest.
In the next post we will look at Pinterest vs You Tube.