Pinterest vs. Instagram: Which Site Offers The Best Social Commerce Features?

Selling on social media? Learn which image-sharing site is best in this Pinterest vs. Instagram comparison.

When social networks debuted in the early 2000s, they were often brushed aside as status and image-sharing websites with no value beyond the capacity to give friends, family and followers real-time updates into users’ daily lives. Now, though, the largest social sites are massive entities that have changed the way people live and shop.

Social commerce is growing as fast as the platforms themselves. Consumers are spending almost $2,000 annually via social media sites, and the platforms rake in billions in advertising revenue each year.

It’s not hard to see why.

Social media has allowed shoppers to experience brands in a more holistic way. Unlike traditional advertising that typically shows product and lifestyle shots, social media is about connection, community and conversation. Brands can create and curate content, and they build trust with consumers simply by acting more human. In turn, increased trust boosts sales, loyalty and long-term retention.

Image-based sites like Instagram and Pinterest are especially lucrative. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visually based. By crafting memorable imagery, a brand can cement itself into the front of any consumer’s mind.

When it comes to using image-sharing sites to expand brand reach, which one should you focus on for your online store? Let’s break down the two most popular image-sharing sites’ social commerce functions so you can understand that it’s not as simple as just picking one.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to Instagram vs. Pinterest.

The Scoop on Pinterest

After its launch in 2010, Pinterest evolved from an image-sharing site into a creative search engine of ideas accompanied by beautiful imagery. Users visit the site for information and curate Pins (images that link to an external site) into collections that other users can follow.

However, Pinterest is not a social network, according to CEO Ben Silbermann. Instead, it is an ecommerce powerhouse with 250 million monthly users, 2 million of whom save shopping pins on a daily basis.

Not many businesses take advantage of Pinterest, but these statistics prove its worth as part of your marketing and online selling strategies:

Pros & Cons of Using Shoppable Pins

If you didn’t know before, creating a Pinterest for Business account is totally free. The dashboard features powerful analytics that can help you make the most out of Pinterest as an ecommerce tool, and the shoppable pins can upgrade your profile from a photo gallery to a visual shop that will skyrocket your sales. A major pro for Shopify sellers is that Rich Pins, which have more details like pricing and seller information, are automatically enabled.

The only downside to Buy Pins are that Pinterest users typically log on to gather inspiration rather than shopping directly through the site. Both options allow sellers to target to their audience in a variety of ways with an integrated dashboard, though.

Instagram’s Fast-Growing Market

Instagram also launched in 2010, but its focus was a mobile app experience that showed square images in chronological order. Now one of the biggest players in the social media game, the network reached a milestone 1 billion users worldwide this year, a 200 million user increase from last September (2017).

Of those users, approximately 8 million of them are business profiles. An estimated 71% of businesses use Instagram, a number that’s more than doubled between 2015 and 2017.

As you can see, the potential is huge for ecommerce businesses. The audience is vast and engaged, and there are relatively few businesses using the platform. This means each post has high-impact potential.

Pros & Cons of Using “Shop Now”

Over the course of 2018, Instagram introduced a line of tools geared toward ecommerce merchants to showcase and sell products directly through the app.

The initial launch came with shoppable posts, which e-tailers can use to “tag” their products, so users can tap to view and then purchase products without ever leaving the app. The popular “Shop Now” feature in Instagram is similar to to Pinterest in this way, but it catalogs the item and view of it differently, making it more appealing to users.

On the flipside, the ability to create “Shop Now” posts is not available to every online seller. The current regulations require sellers to be located in certain countries, have their catalogs uploaded into Facebook and operate using Shopify or BigCommerce.

Selling on Instagram won’t be a reality for every e-tailer. But at the very least, it’s a way for most to reach millions of people for free or via paid advertising options.

Market Share Comparison

When it comes to sheer reach, Instagram takes the cake. The social network boasts more than 1 billion monthly users, dwarfing Pinterest’s 250 million monthly users. Instagram also reaches a more diverse audience due to its size, too.

According to AdEspresso, Pinterest has 17% of all online men on its platform and 45% of women. What’s more, Pinterest is the clear winner for marketers who want to reach high-income households. The most popular income bracket for Pinterest users is more than $75,000 a year, while the most popular income bracket on Instagram is less than $30,000 a year.

Average Conversion Value vs. Cost-Per-Click

Advertising on Instagram and Pinterest is just part of your game plan for your social commerce strategy, but where will your dollar stretch farthest?

According to analytics hub Heap, Instagram and Pinterest are nearly tied when it comes to conversion rates, with Instagram taking a slight lead.

The cost-per-click on these sites varies, though. Pinterest CPC starts at $0.10 and lets you set a maximum bid, but Instagram’s remains in the $0.70 range, making it clear that budget-minded retailers should stick to the friendly Pinterest CPC model.

Why You Should Use Both

Though Pinterest and Instagram look similar to the untrained eye, the two platforms have different features that you can use to your advantage.

Pinterest users are visiting the site to search for ideas and inspiration, so they’re already in discovery mode. On the other hand, Instagram users visit your profile for a more authentic look at your brand. Therefore, you should be using both platforms to maximize your social commerce efforts.

Need even more info? We’ve got you covered with this awesome infographic that gives you even more details on how you can tap into the power of these two proven branding and marketing tools to create more awareness and generate more sales for your online store, courtesy of Piqoura.

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