Pinterest’s Marketing Platform Could Turn Targeted ‘Pins’ To In-Store Sales

Program partner Ahalogy builds a case for the platform as a valuable online-to-offline marketing tool.

For retailers and brands, Pinterest’s Marketing Developer Program could serve as the ultimate visual shopping list, as well as showing users what and where to buy items they and their followers have “pinned.”

Pinterest has already listed the inaugural MDP programmers that will be testing the API to create, schedule, and publish “pins.” The companies include social media management, analytics, and content marketing platforms such as Ahalogy, Buffer, Curalate, Expion, Newscred, Percolate, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr, and Tailwind.

“People use Pinterest to plan their future, which is why content from businesses is essential. [It helps] helping people discover the creative things they want to do next,” Pinterest wrote on its blog Monday. The lesson is that what customers want to do next often translates into what they want to buy next.

In other words, through the new partnerships, businesses are aiming to inspire Pinterest users not just to “pin” their content, but to actually make an in-store purchase based on their boards.

Pinterest: In-Store Shopping App?

Ahalogy’s Bob Gilbreath

“The biggest opportunity we see with Pinterest is that it essentially functions as a universal shopping list app — our research shows that about half of all daily users pull up their Pinterest accounts in-store to make purchases, whether that’s in a grocery store or in a mall,” says Bob Gilbreath, President and co-founder at Ahalogy. “They pull up a recipe to see the ingredients, a clothing item to find it in the store, etc.”

Call it reverse showrooming — instead of finding an item in-store and then purchasing it later online, Pinterest users tend to discover “inspiration” online and then track down items later, often in physical stores.

The goal then, for Ahalogy, is to combine Pinterest’s Content Publishing API with its own publisher network in order to give marketers the best insights into how to target content on Pinterest so that it leads to these in-store sales. With the new expansion of data, Ahalogy feels confident that it can find the right users at the right time, and subsequently inspire them to make purchases based on the content they’re viewing and pinning on the platform.

Brands have been pinning content on Pinterest for years, of course. But while the brand affinity aspects of the platform have been well explored, what’s interesting about the new partnerships is the potential for tracking online to interaction to physical sales. Gilbreath posits that Pinterest’s value as an online-to-offline marketing platform could be primed to increase.

“Now, we can see what’s happening on Pinterest through their API, and then we can see what happens after the click through our publisher network,” Gilbreath says. “We’re seeing the pathway, from discovery on Pinterest to purchase.”

Thinking Search, Not Social

Going forward, Gilbreath feels that the space is ripe with opportunities — but he cautions marketers not to treat Pinterest as a sibling of Instagram or Facebook.

“This is really a completely new thing,” he adds. “Pinterest is really not social media, and it shouldn’t be lumped together with that. It’s search and discovery. We need to start with the consumer: With Pinterest, they’re trying to plan something, find in depth content, and we need to tap into that.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.