As we head into the busiest retail season of the year, it’s an excellent time to take a look at the impact social media platforms have on the millions of consumers who shop online.
For example, new research by Bizrate Insights compared and contrasted Facebook and Pinterest with respect to shopping conversions and product inspiration. In an earlier study, upstart Pinterest held an advantage in this area when compared to the more established Facebook and Twitter. Now, these latest findings seem to confirm those results, showing that the David of social media platforms continues to hold its own against the Goliaths—at least where consumer engagement is concerned.
Interestingly enough, in some areas, Pinterest is absolutely dominating Facebook in the online shopping arena. In its week-long survey of nearly 7,500 Americans and Canadians who bought something online, Bizrate Insights discovered that:
- 70 percent of respondents said they visit Pinterest in order to get inspiration regarding what to buy, while only 17 percent use Facebook to do so.
- When trying to keep up with the latest trends in consumer goods such as apparel and home décor, people favored Pinterest over Facebook by 67 to 22 percent.
- Nearly identical percentages of those surveyed (67 to 21 percent) prefer Pinterest over Facebook when it comes to keeping track of or collecting brands they like.
- Over half (55 percent) said they shared—or repinned—an item they like on Pinterest, while only 37 percent said they posted or shared something they like on Facebook.
- Shoppers were nearly twice as likely (43 to 24 percent) to associate with their favorite brands on Pinterest than on Facebook.
Of course, in some ways, comparing Facebook to Pinterest is like comparing apples to oranges— the different mechanics of these two platforms factor heavily into how people use them. Pinterest’s emphasis on the visual makes it the ideal platform for people to look for and collect images of the places, things and hobbies they love. Facebook, on the other hand, is an excellent platform for shoppers to find updates on their preferred brands, as well as coupons from their favorite retailers.
Plus, the two sites are quite dissimilar in terms of one crucial metric: reach. As we all know, Facebook just recently crossed the one billion users threshold; the number of Pinterest users is far less. Nonetheless, Pinterest’s user base continues to grow by leaps and bounds (according to Bizrate, awareness of the site increased from 36 percent to 46 percent between March and August 2012), so I’m sure it will continue to challenge Facebook for some time to come.