Pinterest’s popularity is growing faster than any other major social network, especially with women. According to a new report from Pew Research, the social bookmarking service is now used by more than one-fifth of American adults, up from 15% a year earlier. That puts Pinterest slightly ahead of Twitter and Instagram, though all three are well behind Facebook.

Pinterest is also growing faster than the other social networks, meaning every day there are new potential customers for retailers to target. Women, who are now the driving force behind buying decisions and the main money spenders in today’s economy, are signing up faster than any other group. One-third of U.S. women now use Pinterest, up from 25% as reported in a similar study in February.

Why women are key

For businesses, women are the target audience of almost every marketing and advertising campaign because they make the buying decisions in households and spend more than men on average. On average, women account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the United States, and some predict that in the next 10 years they will control two-thirds of consumer wealth. Women make or influence 85% of all buying decisions, and even cross over demographics to buy more than half of traditional male products, including automobiles, home improvement products and consumer electronics. Online they are an important group to target as well because they account for 58% of all total spending and 22% shop online at least once a day.

Power of Pinterest: How brands can target women

According to one study, customers referred from Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy compared to customers referred from other social networking sites. Yet another study, this one by Shopify, found that orders driven by Pinterest are substantially larger than those produced by Facebook or Twitter. In fact, at $80 per order, Pinterest even tops Google and Amazon.

For any business, the question is how to best take advantage of the Pinterest platform. First, recognize that the average user of Pinterest is a 25-to-34 year old woman, and post products that will appeal specifically to that demographic.

Four best practices for retailers targeting women are:

  • Use high-quality photos to encourage repins and visually minded women
  • Write descriptive titles to optimize Pinterest search visibility
  • Include the price of the product to encourage purchasing
  • Link directly to the product’s page instead of the business’ home page

One example of putting these best practices together would be instead of pinning a picture of a dress, a retailer wanting to target women on Pinterest should use a high-resolution picture of a woman wearing the dress, have a highly descriptive title, include the price of the dress, and link directly to where women can purchase it.

Where your boards are on your page can also affect their popularity. A social eye study from Mashable found that those in the top two rows – and specifically toward the center of the page – receive the most views. This infographic by Curalate further explains the science behind images posted on Pinterest and factors such as color, size and lightness that lead to repins.

Retailers want to get the attention of women and women are present on Pinterest. According to research, Pinterest users also use the site to make purchasing decisions more often than any other social networking site. Therefore, as Pinterest continues to grow its market share, it is the logical place for retailers to target women both now and in the future.

Heather Smith is director of social media at ZOG Digital, a leading independent search and social marketing company. ZOG’s discovery marketing solutions include search engine optimization, social media marketing, paid advertising, and design and development. For more information, please visit ZOGDigital.com or follow us on Twitter @ZOGDigital.

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