Which is the superior picture based promo app? This time on the Helix House blog we’re looking at the head to head battle of photo-based social media: Pinterest vs. Instagram: Who Wins, – Dawn of Just Us Helping You Out. It’s a really catchy title, I know.
At face value, the two platforms might seem similar enough: they’re both photo-sharing platforms, right? Sorta. Instagram has a huge social media component that Pinterest doesn’t even begin to scratch. But that may be a good thing, depending on your business. Before you go out signing up for new business accounts to either site, it’s best to know what benefits each offer and whether those benefits align with the needs of your business.
Founded 10 years ago in 2009, Pinterest is an image sharing site based around the idea of curating content and cataloging ‘ideas,’ finding inspiration from throughout the web. Users scroll through a feed populated with images from their expressed interests and by algorithms that have identified similarities between images (and videos!) previously engaged with. When users find something that interests them, they pin it, which saves the image to a board of the user’s choosing. Maybe it’s collecting examples of art they enjoy, or maybe it’s pinning furniture for a future room redecoration. Whatever the case may be, the user can now go back and view these images any time by heading to their boards.
Instagram is the slightly younger service, debuting in 2010. Originally built around the sharing of single, 1:1 aspect ratio 640 pixel wide photos (meant to match the width of the iPhone of the day) it has since grown massively! Since, Insta has added the ability to share videos, upload and share multiple photos at once, and message other users privately, update your story, and was bought by Facebook. Users will scroll through their feed, like, share, and engage with the content they find there. The Instagram feed is more ephemeral — the pictures and posts live on their individual accounts. While users can bookmark posts, it’s not a primary functionality of the platform.
So, both services have been around for about a decade and have similar features, but you can already see there are some clear differences in the functionality of the platforms. How do you determine which is the better platform for your business to engage with? Consider these three factors:
Pinterest and Instagram cater to different markets and that’s important for you to reckon with. Figuring out how your audience interacts with each platform is the important first step. Choosing the platform that resonates more with your audience will do you more good than using the platform with a wider reach, but doesn’t see much in your market.
Pinterest sees 367 million users globally (with 90 million in the U.S.). Instagram meanwhile has a user base of 120 million, just in the U.S. The next highest country for Insta use is India with 88 million, Brazil at 82 million, and Indonesia at 64 million. Just like that, the user numbers of Instagram in five countries are equal to the global numbers of Pinterest. But that’s not the whole picture!
Anyone worth a lick of salt knows your market isn’t just numbers, it’s demographics. Instagram’s user base skews much younger, with 75% of people aged 18-24 using Instagram in some capacity. That number goes down into the higher age groups, with 57% of 25-30, and so on.
Pinterest meanwhile is used by about 38% of 18-24 year olds, 28% of 25-30 year olds, and then back up to 35% of 30-49 year olds. For 50-64 year olds the numbers are even between the services with 23% of people in that age group still maintaining an Instagram, with 27% pinning away on Pinterest. In the 65+ group, Pinterest doubles Instagram’s numbers with 17% of the demo using Pinterest, as opposed to the 8% using Instagram. Of course there are a lot more variables that go into this data such as gender and behavior that can change the numbers, but right now that’s the breakdown.
So who is your ideal client? What age group do they fall into? Where are they most likely to be engaging? In most cases that’s Instagram, but there are clear demos where Pinterest is their home.
The behavior and expectations of the two user bases are drastically different. On Instagram users are expecting to see more personal content, generic lifeless posts won’t move the needle for them. Meanwhile Pinterest users are looking for inspiration, something to pin, share and come back to. A nice photo of a couch might be just what a user is looking for. Look at how you currently engage in marketing, understand what the platform will need (to work best) and make your move.
What are you setting out to get out of this part of your marketing?
Pinterest is a great platform for SEO work, as every pin is a link, and every link allows someone to navigate away from Pinterest and on to your site, right to the product they have pinned. That audience is more likely to generate a sale when they land on the shop offering the exact thing they liked and pinned.
Instagram doesn’t have as much opportunity for linking off the platform (in fact, just one: the ubiquitous: “link in bio”) but it does offer a place for regular, quick engagement with an audience. If you’re more interested in brand building and generating awareness, Instagram can do that easily. As Instagram is a part of the Facebook network, if you’re running Facebook ads as well you will also gain access to the Instagram user base, allowing you to further leverage both platforms.
In the battle of Pinterest vs. Instagram who wins? So long as you play your cards right, it’s you! Know that just like every tool in the shed, each platform has a clear purpose it’s best suited for and leveraging it for those particular goals will generate the best results. Used intelligently and they can be incredibly powerful arms of your marketing campaign.
Need help getting that set up? Don’t want to dig into the data yourself? Give Helix House a call, we’re here to help get you where you want to be.