Instagram vs Pinterest: Which is Best for Your Business?

Instagram vs Pinterest: Which is Best for Your Business?

With the number of visuals being shared and consumed around the web, it’s safe to say that visual content is here to stay. Which is why using images and videos for marketing has become one of the most popular digital marketing trends.

People today are more inclined towards consuming information by viewing rather than reading. And it is due to this heavy demand for visual content that social media giants like Instagram and Pinterest have become popular.

Now when it comes to the debate of Instagram vs Pinterest, and which site can work best to help your business grow, the answer isn’t that straightforward.

Why? Because both of these platforms serve a unique purpose and have their own place in the social media arena. They’re not only visual-centric but also huge in size due to their own unique selling points.

So whether you choose to leverage one of them or both of them, it ultimately depends on your social media marketing goals. And yes, regardless of the social network you choose, success boils down to sharing great content that can help you build a loyal following.

Even though both of these platforms look similar on the surface, they’re actually very different in many ways. Instagram vs Pinterest users has different goals that they seek to achieve through each of them, which affects the type and nature of visuals they share.

Instagram vs Pinterest: What is Instagram?

In the Instagram vs Pinterest argument, Instagram emerges as a simple yet powerful social media app that lets you upload/share photos/videos through a smartphone.

Any visual that you upload can be seen on your Instagram profile. Plus, people who are following you can see each of your posts in their newsfeed (just like Facebook). The focus on this network is on sharing content via mobile while you interact with other users by following them, commenting on their visuals, like them, etc.

The best part about Instagram is it can be used by any social media savvy brand to build brand awareness by sharing creative, fun visuals.

Instagram vs Pinterest: What is Pinterest?

Pinterest, often seen by users as a visual bookmarking tool, can be rightly called a web-based bulletin board. What makes Pinterest stand out is the way it lets you organize your content.

The visual sharing app (available for both web and mobile) is used by people to curate and save images and videos for later. Many people use it for future event planning, such as a wedding or even a baby shower.

The activity of saving visuals on Pinterest is called “pinning”. Users usually “pin” visuals they find across the Internet to relevant “boards”, which are nothing but a collection of pins. Upon clicking a visual, the user is taken to the original page where it was found.

Like Instagram, even Pinterest is a social network where people can connect to others through commenting, liking and repinning existing content shared by each other. Which means you can effectively use Pinterest for business growth by sharing and promoting your visual content on it.

Instagram vs Pinterest: Where Do the Adults Hang Out?

Adult users matter a great deal because they are more likely to spend money and invest in your products/services. Here’s what the stats say about adult usage on these two social media platforms.

  • 53% of adults on the web, in the age group of 18 to 29, use Instagram. And only 34% of them use Pinterest.
  • 25% of adults on the web, in the age group of 30 to 49, use Instagram. While 28% of them use Pinterest.
  • 11% of adults on the web, in the age group of 50 to 64, use Instagram. While 27% of them use Pinterest.

Instagram vs Pinterest: How they Differ & Which One Should You Choose?

While there is no denying that Instagram and Pinterest both are powerful visual platforms, you do need to know what makes them unique. And how and why you as a business should choose one or both of them to get a higher social media ROI.

Here are some of the differentiating factors that you need to keep in mind when deciding on Instagram vs Pinterest, and which of the networks is more suitable for your business.

Factor 1: Site Usage

When it comes down to the Instagram vs Pinterest debate, a lot of people forget that both of these platforms have a purpose, which is unique to them. And the way users use them is very different.
Instagram basically lets its users…

  • Capture pictures/videos from their mobile device
  • Enhance them with the help of filters
  • Add relevant and meaningful captions
  • Share them with others

Instagram is where people not only follow other people but also brands that post visuals that their audience can connect with. It’s actually a great tool for effective social media branding.

Brands using Instagram, need to understand that its users are a different breed. They don’t want to see the corporate, faceless version of your company. Rather, they seek more personal and up-close interactions with each brand they follow.

Which means, as a business, Instagram is a place where you need to be transparent with your followers. And give them an authentic view of how you operate, and what your brand stands for.

Pinterest on the other hand mainly is starkly different than the Instagram model. It lets users…

  • Discover visual content that they find interesting
  • Curate content the content they find from other users

Many Pinterest users log on to the site to search for relevant visuals that can help them discover a certain type of content or maybe even products that can help them. Which is why 80% of pins happen to be repinned, allowing more users to discover new content.

In a way, Pinterest does work as a visual search engine for a large number of users. Because just like Google, it directs people to external websites and helps them discover new content. Does this mean Pinterest marketing can help you generate more traffic that converts into sales? The answer is a resounding yes.

There’s a difference between sharing and discovering. Instagram as a platform is focused on helping users enhance and share the best visual content. And Pinterest lets its users discover new and interesting content.

Factor 2: Audience

When it comes to audience, let’s first look at who is using Instagram and how the data compares to Pinterest…

Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly and 500 million daily active users.
50% of the users are based out of the United States of America.

  • On average, users upload & share 95 million visuals per day.
  • The social network collectively rakes in 3.5 billion likes every single day.

When compared to Pinterest, Instagram has almost an equal number of men and women users, with more than 60% of them falling into the younger age bracket.

So for example, if you are a company selling sneakers that wants to connect to the younger generation, Instagram marketing may be the right choice for you.

Now let’s look at some user data from Pinterest, which happens to be one of the fastest growing social media platforms we have today.

Pinterest has more than 250 million monthly active users.
50% of the users are based out of the United States of America.
Over 175 billion Pinterest Pins have been shared t0 date and 3 billion Boards created.
A whopping 2 million users save “Shopping Pins” on Boards regularly.

Unlike Instagram, the majority of Pinterest users (over 70%) happen to be women. According to a Pew research report, Pinterest has the biggest gender difference in comparison to every other social network out there. Although the site has young users, it also has a fair share of older people using it.

So for example, if your firm deals in premium handbags for women and wants more business, selling on Pinterest makes more sense for you.

Factor 3: Desktop vs Mobile on Instagram vs Pinterest

Even though this may seem like a trivial difference, it can make a big difference in the kind of results you see.

Let’s first talk about Instagram that works great as a mobile app, but not so much on the desktop. Why? Because you can only upload and share new content via mobile, whether it is regular posts or Instagram Stories. You can, however, view visuals and comment on posts via the desktop version.

So if you want to take advantage of Instagram for marketing and brand building, your focus should be mobile. Keep in mind that mobile is one of the biggest reasons why a large number of people open Instagram every day.

Pinterest started as a desktop app, but over the years its mobile app has taken over. This could be because of additional features that users find in the mobile version such as buyable pins. And also due to the fact, Pinterest’s infinite scrolling newsfeed is best suited for mobile.

But still, a considerable amount of Pinterest’s traffic comes from desktop users and e-commerce sites have seen higher conversions from them. Which means you may end up getting better results from Pinterest if you are optimizing your campaign for both mobile users and as well as desktop users.

Factor 4: Hashtag Usage

Every Instagram user knows the importance of hashtags on Instagram. They are a key function and help users in more than one way. The best thing about hashtags here is they let users innovate.

People using Instagram not only use hashtags to discover, but also to help others find content with the help of new and creative hashtags. They can also follow hashtags of their choice.

From a business point of view, using hashtags on Instagram makes it easy for you to create a stronger connection with your target audience and let them find your content at the right time. For instance, if you are a local photographer based in New York City, you can reach out to your target audience with hashtags such as #newyorkcityphotographers or #newyorkcityphotography.

Does Pinterest support hashtags? Yes, it does. But they aren’t as useful as they are on Instagram. One of the reasons hashtags are used is to help users find relevant content, like a filing system. However, if you look at how Pinterest works, the pins are already well-labeled. And then there are categories that neatly organize these pins. Which means hashtags don’t play a role when people search for content.

It’s also important to note that only hashtags that you add to the pin’s description are clickable. Which means adding them to your board descriptions, account descriptions, etc won’t serve any real purpose.

Instagram vs Pinterest: The Verdict

After going through the differentiating factors that we discussed above, you should try to determine which one of them is right (Instagram vs Pinterest) for your brand by taking the following factors into consideration…

  • Your target audience & marketing strategy.
  • Your business goals & availability of time & resources.

The idea is to focus on your ideal prospect or customer, and then take it from there. You can also analyze your competition and the approach they are taking towards social media marketing. See which of them is giving them the best results as it may bring down your own chances of failure.

If you are having a hard time choosing the best one for growing your business. Then you may want to try using both of them. But do it only if you can create quality content for both the platforms because that’s something you do not want to compromise on.

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