Instagram and Pinterest are two of the leading visual social platforms where millions of users all over the world share and curate photos, videos and other visual content for personal or professional purposes. In the age of social media, when practically everything is going digital, e-commerce businesses have also resorted to popular social media platforms like the ones just mentioned, to showcase and sell their products.
This is mainly because social media provides a wider market for the brands as compared to selling them through individual websites. Also, because people tend to resonate more with a particular brand through visually appealing images, selling on social media has become a part and parcel of building a better brand image.
Moreover, with the integration of shopping templates and call to action features within these social networks, the audience is navigating Instagram and Pinterest for buying products more than ever. Not only does posting products on social media increase its visibility, but also generates more sales.
In this article, we have curated an exclusive comparison and review of the two most popular social media platforms – Instagram and Pinterest – which can be a potential market for your e-commerce businesses. Here, we compare these networks on the basis of how engaging they are, their usage, lead conversion, audience and selling features among other factors.
Pinterest is a visual sharing social network where users curate and save images and lots of other visual content for a later time. This platform is almost like a digital bulletin board, where people save the images, videos, picture quotes etc.. that they like and ‘pin’ it on their profiles, for viewing them later. Also, Pinterest users can share, like and comment on the posts or pins that they like, or re-pin existing content – simply like sharing posts on Facebook.
What makes Pinterest unique is its exclusive bookmarking feature, which allows users to discover and save their favorite content at one place. This feature can be truly useful for businesses to showcase brand catalogue, develop an engaging feed and see what others in the similar field are doing.
Instagram is perhaps the contemporary cool – almost every Internet user is on Instagram, with a worldwide total of over a billion users, posting millions of photos, videos and other visual content each day. On this social network, popularity is generated by the number of followers on your profile. Users on Instagram can also like, comment and share on the posts that they like, besides uploading their own.
This platform is best known for its range of creative possibilities – amazing filters, live stories, business accounts, integrated shopping features etc.. – and putting forth one’s best visual content for the people to see. These features, when used strategically, can be like a golden axe in the hands of anyone looking to build a brand on social media.
Features and Functions: Pinterest vs. Instagram
While both Instagram and Pinterest are potentially profitable platforms for visual social media marketing, there are certain differences between the two that must be taken into account, in order to tailor the marketing strategies to suit your brand requirements. The following are some of the differentiating factors that one needs to keep in mind while deciding the final verdict of this debate of Pinterest vs. Instagram:
Site Usage and Purpose
One must understand that both Instagram and Pinterest have a purpose that is unique to them. There is also a difference in the way social media users use them. So, before deciding which out of these two social networks would be suitable for your business, you should ask yourself the ‘purpose’ of bringing your business to digital media and the fact of how you want to reach out to your audience.
- Instagram basically allows users to capture or upload photos, post them on Instagram, add meaningful captions and use suitable hashtags to complement the post. This is then, more of a ‘sharing’ social network.
- On Pinterest on the contrary, the users can discover new content through relevant pins or boards, or curate the content posted by other users in one place. Therefore, unlike Instagram, Pinterest is more a social platform for ‘discovering’ content that one likes.
For instance, one is more likely to go to Pinterest for getting new visual ideas on how to decorate one’s room, but more likely to head to Instagram for looking for a particular interior design brand.
The most important aspect of any business is its target audience – because these are the potential customers who will buy your products or follow your brand. So, before going digital with your business, read below to know some of the statistics.
- Instagram has over a billion users on a monthly basis and around 500 million users who use the platform each day. About 50% of these users are based out of the United States and the rest is almost evenly distributed for the rest of the world. The core demographic age bracket is of 18 to 34 years olds, which constitutes about 56% of the total number of users. As compared to Pinterest, the distribution of usage is almost equal with men and women.
- Pinterest also has its fair share of about 250 million monthly users, out of which about 2 million regularly save Shopping Pins. According to another research demographic, 70% of the users on Pinterest are female and this is in fact, the largest gender difference of usage on any of the social media platforms. Also, Pinterest also has a considerable usage ratio from middle-aged adults.
These research statistics are specifically important to decide where you should ideally showcase your brand. For example, if yours is a business that sells women’s handbags and clothing accessories, then although you can showcase them on Instagram, it is more likely that putting them up on Pinterest will convert more leads.
It is essential to determine beforehand that when your followers view your brand’s products on mobile devices or a desktop, how easily can they navigate through it.
- Instagram is available as a mobile app both for Android and iOS. Now while you can view Instagram through a desktop, downloading the mobile app is the only way in which you can upload and share your own content on the social network. The desktop version only allows you to view what others have posted. Therefore, if you are looking to create a business profile, then the Instagram mobile app is the only way through.
- Unlike Instagram, Pinterest gets its majority of traffic through the desktop. Several business reports have claimed that a great number of their eCommerce sales through Pinterest have been generated through users of the network on desktop, as compared to users from the Pinterest mobile app. Download the Pinterest mobile app for Android and iOS.
So, as a business, you need to optimize your social media marketing campaigns for both mobile and desktop users, for ease of access of the users on both Instagram as well as Pinterest.
Hashtags operate differently on Instagram as they do on Pinterest. Read on to know how.
- On Instagram, hashtags help users to discover and get discovered. From the vantage point of a business, by using the right hashtags, you are bringing your target audience more closely towards your brand and letting them discover your brand at the right time. Creative and correct hashtags on Instagram are like the hints on a treasure hunt, only that the destination is your business profile on Instagram.
- Hashtags on Pinterest work differently. Now although Pinterest supports hashtags like Instagram, they are not as useful as they are for the latter. One of the reasons as to why hashtags are used is to help the users find relevant content. However, if you look at how Pinterest works, the pins are already pretty well-labeled and also, neatly organized into categories. This means that hashtags would not play that useful a role when people have to search for specific content.
Directing your social media audience to your website or e-commerce store is a great way to increase sales and website traffic. Both Instagram and Pinterest support posting and sharing of links, but in different ways.
- With Instagram, you can include website links in your Instagram Stories, bio, or Instagram Ads, but that is all. It would not be possible to include the store links directly in your Instagram posts. This can be a drawback because you cannot accurately measure the performance of your Instagram content in terms of traffic. But it certainly does build better engagement and is one of the many ways to grow a brand organically on Instagram.
- Link sharing on Pinterest is a potential asset for businesses, as every post or pin is in fact, itself a direct link to a website or another web page. It not only allows you, as a business, to boost website traffic but also helps you measure and keep track of the effectiveness of your campaign.
Video content forms an essential component of any marketing campaign and especially a campaign catering to social media.
- Instagram has evolved to incorporate various forms of creative video content that can be created or uploaded on the platform. These include boomerang clips, live videos, Story videos, videos that you can upload from your phone gallery or short videos that you can create within Instagram itself. Brands can use this video sharing feature in many creative ways to add a personalized touch to their brand.
- Pinterest, on the other hand, only allows you to pin a video link that takes you to an external video hosted on another site such as YouTube. Although, there is an option to upload video directly to Pinterest, it is meant specifically for promotional purposes and is therefore, paid. So unless you are paying Pinterest for video delivery, you will have to stick to posting links to videos or post GIFs.
Posting personalized stuff shows that you have invested effort and time in creating your content. Moreover, it also creates a unique impression of your product or brand on people’s minds and the tendency is that they will be intrigued to repeatedly check out your page if it strikes them as different.
- With Instagram, users can take advantage of the wide variety of editing and design tools offered right within the app. By applying different filters or doing basic editing such as increasing brightness, improving sharpness or adding more contrast, you can make your visuals stand out from the rest. In this way, you can match the tone of your content with your brand. What’s more, they have even added face filters to live videos. This can be really handy if you are an influencer.
- Pinterest on the other hand, does not consist of any of the image enhancement or editing tools. This means that no editing would be possible from within your Pinterest account. Users will have to do their own editing work using photo editing tools, before posting it on Pinterest.
Every brand has a story to tell. But what’s more important is how you tell it and this is what makes all the difference. When people come to social media, they care for what strikes them as unique and different and that which creates an impression among the oceans of visuals already floating there.
- Instagram is the perfect social media platform to create active audience engagement, and creatively put across your brand image. Instagram users are always looking for a more personal experience when they interact with a brand they follow. They do not want to see the corporate, strictly professional or the faceless version of your company. Rather, they seek a more personal and up close interaction with it. So, by using Instagram for business, you can give your followers an insider and a socially authenticated view of how your brand really operates.
- Like Instagram, Pinterest can be effectively used for brand storytelling and socially connecting with your target audience. By strategically using theme boards on Pinterest, you can not only engage the right users, but also get them to take action. Because visual stories often make a bigger and a more lasting impact, by adding a storytelling element to a Pinterest contest or a promotional campaign, you can increase your chances of getting positive results in terms of leads conversion.
Advertising on social media is no trivial marketing tool. When used strategically, it can be the turning point for business or brand. If your ad manages to reach the right audience at the right time, you have already completed half of your job. Both Instagram and Pinterest provide the option of running ads.
- There are several types of ads that you can run on Instagram. These include Photo ads, Video ads, Carousel ads and Stories ads. With these ads, you can target your audience by using the precise and versatile targeting features that are in-built within Instagram Ads. When you run targeted ads on Instagram, you are basically tapping into its wide user base, which makes it easier for your brand to connect to people anywhere in the world. Also, the fact that as an advertiser you can add a call to action button to your ads, makes it even more appealing and promising.
- On the contrary, Pinterest ads are limited for businesses based in the United States. So, it might limit your reach if you are based anywhere else in the world. Pinterest lets you pay for ads either based on engagement or the number of clicks generated. The different types of Pinterest ad formats include promoted pins, promoted video pins, promoted carousels and promoted app pins.
Followers and Engagement or Website Traffic
If you get your business on social media and want it to stay, then building an engaging follower base is of utmost importance. But before taking your hands on either Pinterest or Instagram marketing, you could ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your primary aim is to build more social engagement for your brand and initiate an interaction, conversation or audience participation on your social media? If you responded in the positive, then the ideal social media network for your business would be Instagram. Instagram is more social, conversational and personalized, where users come for an enhanced social experience.
- Or are you looking to generate more website traffic and increase sales for your e-commerce store? If yes, then you should invest more time and resources in Pinterest marketing, for more users head to Pinterest for discovering new ideas, brands, products etc..
Pinterest vs. Instagram – Where are Social Media Users Hanging Out?
If you have to decide between Pinterest vs. Instagram, specifically for business purposes, then you ought to know which platform or app is more oftenly used by social media users. This is because these users are your potential customers and they are more likely to make a purchase of your brand’s product.
Several research statistics have collectively shown that more than 50% of the total social media users in the age bracket of 18 – 64 use Instagram as compared to those who use Pinterest. One should note that adult users are more likely to spend money and this aforestated statistical detail invariably tells that for grabbing more attention for your brand, you should probably head to Instagram.
The Final Word
Now even though success of any brand or business boils to delivering great content, and good quality products or services, this debate of Pinterest vs. Instagram is like an irresolvable equation, with equal potential on either side. Each of these social media networks have utilitarian features of their own that can come handy for a business; but, all in all it completely depends on your brand’s requirements.
Since both these social networks have a usage and purpose that is unique to them, you can select among the two, based on your target audience, business goals and other marketing campaign requirements. So whether you are using Pinterest or Instagram or both for your marketing campaigns, you should make sure that you use them for what the features that they offer best – social engagement for Instagram and leads conversion for Pinterest among others.