Ever wondered which is better for business, Pinterest or Instagram?
The short answer to that question is that they both have their place as marketing tools and once you understand their differences, you’ll be equipped to design a marketing plan that uses both platforms to accomplish the business goals you’ve set.
Where Pinterest and Instagram are similar is that they are visual platforms.
They rely on strong imagery to communicate what content is about but that’s where it ends – the platforms help you accomplish marketing goals in very unique ways so let’s dive in and take a look at those now.
Pinterest vs. Instagram For Business
Above, I included a visual so that you can start to learn some of the differences between Pinterest and Instagram.
(Disclaimer: These differences do not mean that one platform is better than the other).
The goal here is to discover the things that make the platforms different and then to think about how to use each to market your business.
If you’re wondering where you should focus your marketing efforts this year, it’s going to come down to the goals you set for your business.
Instead of saying which is better, Pinterest or Instagram – think about it as which platform will move me closer to achieving my goals.
Why are you going to use Pinterest?
Why are you going to use Instagram?
Answer that questions and then decide which will help move your business forward.
Another thing I want to mention is something I don’t think enough online marketing experts talk about – no matter how you choose to market your business, it’s going to be a long-term strategy.
Marketing your business takes time! Some marketing platforms take longer than others but I’m a firm believer that most take a time investment to start seeing the results.
Pinterest As A Marketing Tool
Pinterest is a visual search and discovery platform that helps its users explore new ideas.
New ideas could be a moment they’re planning for such as a baby shower, it can also mean connecting the user to content that helps solve a problem.
No matter why users are on Pinterest, the traffic is cold and needs to be warmed up.
And, that warm-up starts right at discovery.
Since Pinterest users are looking to accomplish or solve something, the pin image needs to not only attract them but also offer enough value to get the click. Once the user has left Pinterest and landed on the destination website, the content needs to deliver almost immediately.
The Pinterest user needs to confirm they’re in the right place and your content needs to guide them to the next phase of the customer/sales journey.
That’s why it’s so important to have a strong content marketing plan for your website. The goal should be to create content for every phase of the customer journey. Sprinkled throughout, are your call to actions so that all the effort you’re making has a reward for you the business owner.
Before you discount the top-of-funnel traffic, remember that it means you can nurture your new visitors and lead them to the action you want them to take. It’ll also help ensure you have the content pieces in place to make more conversions once you receive the traffic. That’s a win-win in my books.
Related Read: Pinterest Marketing for Beginners
Instagram As A Marketing Tool
Instagram is also a visual platform that uses pictures and video to communicate its content.
However, instead of clicking away from the platform right away, Instagram users engage by reading the caption, liking, commenting, and sharing.
Users follow others they’re interested in knowing more about or go along on the daily journey or get a sneak peek “behind the scenes”.
Instagram is powerful at making your business “human” and for showing the more personal side.
People head to Instagram to research businesses and brands they’re interested in.
They’re there to see how the business or brand can enrich their lives.
They’re there to see if they align with their values and beliefs.
Instagram users are also discovering new businesses on the platform but that process looks a whole lot different than discovery on Pinterest.
On Instagram, discovery can be seeing that a friend follows a business or brand and that they recommend them or talk about an experience they had and so then that sparks curiosity.
The user can then go check out their feed or stories and, if it aligns with them, they’ll follow along.
Instagram is very powerful at building a community which then starts growing the know, like, and trust factor that’s so important to business growth.
As a business owner, you use Instagram to draw the curtains back and show your expertise through sharing educational, promotional, and community-building posts about your business.
The difference over Pinterest is that Instagram users do all of these actions right on the platform instead of leaving.
When do Instagram users leave the platform to visit your website? After they’ve checked you out for long enough and have become interested in your offers.
When they leave, they’re more primed to purchase the thing you’ve been telling them about.
So, think of it this way – Pinterest users leave to your website to discover more about what you’re offering them so longer-form content is important.
Instagram users have been watching and warming up (they likely already knew you before) so when your marketing content aligns with what they need, they purchase or take the action right there are on the platform or on a single page you built to receive the traffic interested in the offer.
Pinterest vs. Instagram Users
The biggest differentiator is that Pinterest users are looking to discover and get inspired and Instagram users are looking to follow along, be influenced, and connect.
Instagram users are open to discovering new brands, it’s the process of discovery that is different. (see above)
Here’s a closer look at the differences between Pinterest and Instagram users.
- There are 431 million active users on Pinterest – so much smaller than Instagram.
- 97% of searches are unbranded which means users are open to discovering new brands and businesses.
- 60% of users are women.
- 85% of users use Pinterest to plan new projects.
- Pinterest users are planners.
- Pinterest users come to the platform at the beginning stages of the purchase process.
- Pinterest seasonal trends start early.
- 8 out of 10 users say the platform makes them feel positive.
- 1.22 billion users are on Instagram every month.
- 18-34-year-olds are the largest user age demographic.
- Instagram has an almost 50/50 split between women and men users.
- Users are on the app for 30 minutes a day on average.
- 58% of users say they are more interested in a brand after seeing it appear somewhere in stories.
- 1 in 2 users has used Instagram to discover a new brand.
(Pinterest statistics pulled from the HootSuite blog here, Instagram statistics pulled from the HootSuite blog here).
Is Pinterest or Instagram Better For Business?
So, which marketing tool is better to use: Instagram or Pinterest?
In short, one is not better than the other.
Both Pinterest and Instagram are powerful for marketing your business.
It’s not a question of which is better but more about understanding each platform and its user base.
It is also more about knowing and understanding how your audience uses the platforms.
I think where business owners miss the mark is creating so much content for platforms and then not doing the same for their own websites.
(Btw, Pinterest would help you around that issue but I’m biased and this post isn’t about that!).
Your website is your online real estate. No algorithm changes are going to affect creating the best content on YOUR website.
After executing a solid content marketing strategy, turn to these powerful marketing tools with a strategic plan in place to grow your audience.
To recap, both Instagram and Pinterest are marketing tools that are powerful at helping business owners market their businesses.
Instagram users are typically warmer than Pinterest users.
Pinterest forces you to ensure that your business has a content marketing strategy in place so that your conversion rate is good when you receive the traffic.
Your content marketing strategy on Instagram looks a lot different – you break up those customer journey pieces into educational, promotional, and community-building pieces that are consumed right on Instagram.
Pinterest is where people go to be inspired to do something in their offline life.
Instagram is where people go to hang out and learn more about you the business owner.
Both platforms are great for connecting the user to shopping experiences and I will be doing a post on that in the future so make sure to sign up for my updates.
What are YOUR thoughts? Do you think Instagram is better than Pinterest or vice versa? Let me know in the comments!