Facebook vs. Pinterest from a visual content marketers perspective

Someone has correctly said “A picture is worth a thousand words”. So true in case of social media marketing. A visual content is very easy to consume and is an effective medium to broadcast a message in the shortest period of time possible. However in the era of cut-throat competition, it’s just not enough to create an appealing, creative, engaging visual content, internet marketers have to find the most effective medium to promote such content for the best possible ROI.

Every other social network today provides some medium to post and share visual content. Even the 140 character social network now allows sharing visual content on it’s stream. But that really doesn’t mean that a particular network is ideal for sharing visual content. In today’s world where time is the most expensive element, brand managers have to find the most appropriate content and the most effective social media platform to optimize their investment in terms of time and money.

Facebook being the largest social network with over one billion users is by far the most effective medium for promotion but after it’s IPO and pressure from stake holders to monetize the audience, Facebook has become really stringent in terms of viral promotion. Go are the days when a funny picture on Facebook would be gather thousand of likes and comments and spread like a wildfire on the network. Now updates on Facebook are just visible to 10% of your audience and it’s algorithms make it sure that posts from people whom you interact on a regular basis show up on the top of your wall.

Come 2012, the world has been taken by a storm by a social network which was arguably till recently termed as more of a pastime for home making ladies and teenage girls. Yes, I am talking about Pinterest, the online pinboard. Pinterest is the fastest network to get 10m active users among social networks at it’s this stage. Comscore and Shareaholic reports have reported that Pinterest has already become the third largest social network and the fourth largest source of referral traffic. Moreover studies have shown that users on Pinterest are more likely to buy only as compared to even Facebook. All these thanks to it’s awesome user interface and the frictionless mode of sharing and curation. Another paradigm shift that Pinterest has brought on to the table is it’s feature of redirecting the user to the actual source of the content upon click. All other social networks till date did not let the user move away from their portal on click of an image. All these have made Pinterest the most effective medium of visual content promotion.


Image Courtesy: http://www.businessoffashion.com

But as we have witnessed over the past decade or so, Facebook is never too late in cloning a feature which works for others, so no surprises this time as well as Facebook launches a new feature called collections, which is a Pinterest-style feature allowing users to add product images into a wishlist or curate them into a particular list. And this makes us think once again, which is a better network for promoting visual content?

At the end of the day, every marketer’s sole motive from a social network is to promote their products, engage their audience and generate traffic to their website. The visual content is a medium of educate their audience about their products so that they might take some transactional action in near future.

While Pinterest directs traffic to product landing pages and thereby drives sales, the new feature of collections on Facebook is more like a bucket where one can collect all products they like on a Facebook business page into a wishlist they want to purchase. It’s essentially like a shopping cart, one that Pinterest doesnot have already. The question now is will the ability to ‘collect’ products into a wishlist prove a better way to purchase than clicking on an image and being sent directly to the site for purchase? Until we have enough data to valiadet, Pinterest clearly is the winner with the impressive stat on correlation to sales. Only time can say whether Facebook Collections can change this in future or not.

A report from zapisco has revealed that 40% of people respond better to visual content as compared to text. When users browse through Pinterest, they already know they are looking at visual content and they are there to look for inspiration for probably their next party dress, or wedding day preparation of interior decoration. On Facebook, visual content comes amidst the huge ocean of textual content and user have no way to search for what actually they are looking for. Another thumbs-up for Pinterest here.

It is a known phenomenon that viewers are more likely to buy a product after they have seen a video. No points for guessing here, a promoting a product video is a no-brainer for better ROI. Both Pinterest and Facebook allow users to upload, share and view videos directly on it’s network. On facebook, you could open a video, play it and browse through the other wall posts on the business page while the video keeps on playing. However on Pinterest, when you play a video, it pops up and you have no way to navigate to other pages without closing the video. It is a difficult pick here to decide the winner for video content. While one may argue Facebook is frictionless, some might also say what’s the point of letting you play a video, if you are not even watching it, unnecessary wastage of bandwidth isn’t it?

If you have read so far, you must have by now made up your mind on the best network to promote your visual content. Let us know what your thoughts are about the same.

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