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Number of the Month: November 2012

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Does Pinterest have an effect on purchase decisions?

We have all heard of Pinterest by now. Lots of marketers are wondering if and how to use this new social tool in their advantage. It all seems nice enough and joining will give our brand that modern edge. But in the end: will it really have an effect on purchase decisions and tangible sales?

A new study by Alexandra Samuel, the Director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr gives us a surprising answer.

Here’s what Alex writes on HBR,
Surprisingly, the correlation between pinning and offline purchasing was stronger than the correlation between pinning and online purchasing. While 12% of the Pinterest users we surveyed have pinned something that they later purchased online, 16% of Pinterest users have pinned something that they later purchased via bricks-and-mortar stores.”

Stil, it's hard to assess any causal relationship between pinning and purchasing. Are people buying because they pin, or pinning what they always intended to buy? Still, the implications for marketers are clear: pinning, especially among loyal, active Pinterest users, is intimately intertwined with buying. Pinning is a signal that says, "Hey, I'm considering to buy your product".

Evidently, knowing the relationship between platform and metrics isn't just a matter of proving ROI. It’s also crucial to aligning your strategy for a new social media platform with the strategy for that part of your business you intend to enhance.

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