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Doing Business on Pinterest

What You Need to Know About Pinterest Conversion

When people call me to discuss Doing Business on Pinterest I have discovery meetings and find that some people understand what Pinterest is and how it works but most people don’t. Frequent questions I get from people are…

  • Does Pinterest convert well? 
  • What can I expect it terms of ROI?
  • How much of my traffic will convert to sales? 

My job as a Pinterest manager and helping my clients Doing Business on Pinterest is to make sure I drive as much traffic as humanly possible to my client’s site and/or blog. We are not responsible for converting that traffic into sales. It’s the client’s websites responsibility to do that. Right? Let me explain.

It’s just like buying a radio, TV or newspaper ad for a brick and mortar store.  Once the person walks in whether a sale is made or not depends for the most part on the store; the appearance, merchandise mix, how items are displayed, prices, staff, service levels, ease of shopping, return policies etc.  

The radio, TV or newspaper ad is not the primary determinant of the conversion rates.  That is on store operations.

A radio ad, a Google pay per click ad or traffic I send you from Pinterest will rarely convert if the buyer’s shopping experience once they are in your store or website is a broken brutal experience.  You get that right?

Google ads or I can send you boatloads of traffic but if the shopping experience on your website and in your shopping cart sucks you won’t make very many sales. It’s not Google ads or Pinterest traffic that is broken.  The buying experience on your site is broken and driving your conversion rates down.

As a business owner you are trying to do 2 things:

  1. Get more and higher qualified traffic all the time (marketing)
  2. Increase conversion rates on that traffic (sales and operations)

It’s important you don’t expect marketing to drive traffic and increase your conversion rates if they are only hired to drive traffic.  

So when someone wants to Do Business on Pinterest and asks me what the conversion rate on Pinterest traffic will be, the answer is probably the same as your conversion rate on your website right now. (Outside of Google ads)

What Is the Conversion Rate?

In e-commerce the conversion rate is the percentage of online store visitors who successfully complete cart checkout.

How to Calculate Conversion Rates

To calculate conversion rates, use this formula:

Conversion Rate = Total Number of Sales / Number of Visitors

For example, if you had 50 conversions from 1,000 clicks, your conversion rate would be 5%, since 50 ÷ 1,000 = 5%

What Is a Good Conversion Rate?

This varies from industry to industry. Different products have different conversion rates. Average ecommerce conversion rates are 1% – 2%. However, here are some industry standards. 

  • Agricultural Supplies 0.62%
  • Arts and Crafts 3.84%
  • Baby & Child 0.87%
  • Cars and Motorcycling 1.35%
  • Electrical & Commercial Equipment 2.49%
  • Fashion Clothing & Accessories 1.01%
  • Food & Drink 1.00%
  • Health and Wellbeing 1.87%
  • Home Accessories and Giftware 1.55%
  • Kitchen & Home Appliances 1.72%
  • Pet Care 2.53%
  • Sports and Recreation 1.18%


Pinterest Actionable Tips:

1. It’s best to develop your own key performance indicators (KPIs) by looking at your own data primarily and then bench marking that against the average ecommerce conversion rate in your industry.

2. You should always be careful when making comparisons to competitors. Amazon, for instance, boasts a 13% conversion rate, which is almost 7 times the industry average. (Is it because they have the lowest prices and a great return policy, next day delivery, massive selection… probably) 

Conversion Rates Is The Client’s Responsibility

As a Pinterest expert I could drive the exact same traffic from Pinterest to Amazon and to their competitor and Amazon would convert that traffic at a higher % than their competitor.  I could send the exact same traffic from Pinterest to two different websites and the conversion rates would be different because the businesses operate in different ways and shoppers perceive value differently on the different websites.

Could the Amazon competitor come back to me and say: “my conversion rate on the traffic you send me is not as high as the conversion rate on the traffic you sent to Amazon, you did a bad job for me”.

They could but they would be wrong.  As a marketer I send traffic.  If one business is better at converting that traffic to sales because they have a better sales process, a cleaner web site and shopping cart, a faster site, less friction in the customer’s buying journey, better navigation, a better return policy or better prices; how does that have anything to do with the outside agent who was hired to drive traffic?  I don’t have control over your website, policies, prices or shipping cart experience do I? Right?  

Conversion rates are on the business owners. Doing Business on Pinterest is about driving traffic to your brand so your team and systems can convert that to sales.

If you are not sure what yours is or if you are not happy with the rate then do something about it.  You own that.  I own driving traffic.  What you do with the traffic is your responsibility 100%. 

I’ll give you suggestions to increase your sales and if you don’t take them that is again on you.

Reality check…

Also, understand that there can be reasonable differences between stores in the same industry – a clothes retailer targeting younger people will likely have a sizable difference in its overall website conversion rate when compared to a store catering to the baby boomer market.

RESEARCH: Retail Brands Saw Higher Return on Pinterest Compared to Other Social Networks

New research from Neustar shows just how valuable that mindset is to brands. In the study, participating retail brands saw a

  • 2x higher return on ad spend from Doing Business on Pinterest than from social media
  • 1.3x higher return than from traditional search

The measurement and market intelligence firm’s study looked at digital channel performance for five US retail brands, tracked to their online and in-store sales. They ran a multi-touch attribution study to measure performance for paid search, paid social and display advertising. 

Neustar found that because people come to Pinterest to seek inspiration early in their shopping journey, Pinterest has a lasting impact on their final purchase decision.

This process isn’t always immediate, though. Sometimes, people start looking on Pinterest for an idea, and make their final purchase days later. Within Neustar’s study, people often took a week or longer(months) to make a purchase after seeing a brand’s ads on Pinterest.

This has big implications for measuring Pinterest performance. When Neustar ran a last click model, the model under reported revenue from Pinterest ads by 48%.3 The takeaway? Because people use Pinterest so early in their shopping journey, marketers need to adjust their attribution windows to give people time to make a purchase before declaring a return on ad spend. 

Neustar’s research also showed that Pinterest was the most efficient digital channel for the retail brands in their study. It generated more sales, at less cost. While Pinterest made up only 11% of media spend in the study between the five brands, it generated 18% of their incremental sales and revenue. That made Pinterest…

  • 2.3x more efficient than social platforms
  • 1.5x more efficient than paid search
  • 1.1x more efficient than display

Average B2B Lead Conversion Rates by Industry

The B2B industry is another factor you have to account for when seeking out accurate industry conversion rates. While some industries are completely B2B, other industries like software can be split down the middle as B2B or B2C. Since B2B has an entirely different business model (larger price points, longer sales cycles, many more decision-makers involved, etc.), B2C benchmarks you find can be inaccurate guideposts for B2B conversion rates.

This image below reveals B2B conversion rates by industry based on data by MarketSherpa, an independent marketing research company.

Conversion Rates by Ad Provider

Heap, a data behavioral analytics company, examined conversion rates by ad provider. Google and Bing had the highest conversion rates, at 8%, which is 1.5 times higher than Facebook’s, which you can see from the image below.

Google ads have stood the test of time, while Facebook ads are starting to reach its saturation point. The results make sense because social media advertising is an interruption-based process, whereas search engine advertising meets users based on the intent of the search query. 

Therefore, the prospects you get are usually more qualified and interested right off the bat. That is why you pay such a high price for each click. They are buying now, versus exploring, collecting ideas and buying 3 or 6 months from now. If you want to do Business on Pinterest you must understand that difference and be willing to live with the lag between traffic and the purchase.

  • In summary, if you are going to drive traffic from Pinterest expect your conversion rate to be exactly what it is right now on your site. 
  • In time you’ll see if that is true or not but you have to test it yourself.  NO ONE CAN TELL YOU AHEAD OF TIME WHAT IT MIGHT BE.
  • No one can guarantee what it will be. 

Again if your shopping cart experience is broken and your return policy is weak, your navigation is hard to follow and your site is slow your conversion rate will be low but that has nothing to do with the traffic. That is on you for putting an inferior website out there relative to your competition.

Adding more traffic from Pinterest will not increase your conversion rate per se, it might, it might not.  As a baseline expect it to be the same as it is right now.  After 12 months of Pinterest traffic re-calculate your sales and conversion rate, if it has increased, keep going. If you have not made any more sales and if your conversion rate has dropped, then stop Doing Business on Pinterest & stop your Pinterest advertising.  Why do I say 12 months? That’s because shopping activity isn’t the same throughout the year.

For example, if you only give Pinterest a chance for three months and you started June 1st remember that the summer months are typically slower on Pinterest. In addition, since Pinterest is a search engine you need to give your pins time to bake. What I mean by that is you won’t see the full value of a pin for at least three months. You need to give Pinterest some time to fetch your keywords.

Do a review and maybe you’ll find Pinterest is not right for you.  Take your marketing $ somewhere else and try again to drive more traffic because as a business owner that is what you are doing over and over; trying to get more traffic and forever trying to convert more of it.

If you want to get started Doing Business on Pinterest but don’t know where to start the best place is to sign-up for my FREE Pinterest course!




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