In an effort to create a more enriched social experience for Pinners and brands online, Pinterest recently launched “Rich Pins.” Pins now include automatically updated details like pricing, availability, movie reviews and ingredients to help users not only find what they like, but also take action.
This is a direct effort on behalf of Pinterest to more clearly articulate its identity and position itself less as a social platform, and more as a tool for indexing the visual web and helping people search for and buy the things they love. It’s a smart move and the stats are definitely supporting the trend.
In fact, people are 60 per cent more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results. Add to that the fact that 67 per cent of Instagram’s over 100-million users are active daily, it seems visual content is fast becoming a primary driver of online engagement.
So why aren’t more businesses embracing the visual web?
A recent study by Digitas and Curalate revealed that approximately 70 per cent of brand engagement on Pinterest is user-generated. Marketers are lagging and potentially missing a huge opportunity. Here are a few reasons why:
It’s sharable. Visually appealing material drives engagement and is more shareable than text. Facebook offered proof of this when, just one month after unveiling ‘timeline’ for brands, visual content had a 65 per cent increase in engagement on the site.
Images dominate content being shared and exchanged by consumers online. The most popular social networking tools like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are designed to let people easily and quickly share and post photos. Because showing people our life experiences brings them into our digital lives in a more intimate and engaging way.
The same should be true for brands. Inspire customers with great visuals of your products and services, don’t just tell them about it. Visual storytelling is way more effective and sharable across all mediums.
It’s discoverable. With the rise of Social Aggregation Optimization (SAO) – doing everything you can to help content perform better around the social web -- visual content is more important than ever before to your social media strategy and must not only be compelling content, but also optimized for search and sales. In this sense, the visual web is less about engagement through profile-based social platforms, and more about a powerful, visually-enabled search experience.
It drives consumption. It’s simple, really: visuals are easier to consume than text. That might sound like a lazy statement, but in reality visual make us feel more connected to the content. According to a study conducted by Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8-million words. Just look at Dropbox, a cloud-based storage service that lets users upload photos, documents, and videos that can be accessed and shared from anywhere.
Dropbox developed an “explainer video” in an attempt to cut costs associated with Google AdWords, while still reaching consumers and potential clients. They combined their video efforts with a referral campaign that encouraged users to share the service on social media channels. When consumers visited the website based on these referrals they were greeted with the explainer video and nothing else.
The simplicity of their homepage meant users only had one option to choose from. There were no other links or text to distract from the video which included all necessary information.
Consumers got it. This video, combined with their referral campaign, helped the company grow from zero to 100-million users in just five years.
So Pinterest is a great place to get started. Take a lesson from consumers, and start engaging your customers with highly sharable visual content. Stop telling customers what you want them to know, and start showing them what you’re made of.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.