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BlackSmith Communications attends "Bringing it Back: CES and SXSW" panel, Part II



Part II: Pinterest. There, we said it.

The 2012 SXSW Interactive Award for best breakout digital trend goes to, surprise surprise, Pinterest. Just a few weeks ago, Pinterest (104 million total visits in March) was ranked as the third most popular social network in the United States, placing only behind Facebook (7 billion) and Twitter (182 million), and beating out LinkedIn (86 million), Tagged (72 million), and Google+ (61 million). Why the sudden and seemingly nonstop surge in popularity? As one of our "Bringing it Back" panelists so eloquently described, the pinboard-style photo-sharing social website "turns everyone into a creative ninja."

At first glance, Pinterest appeals mostly to middle-aged women interested in fashion, design, interior decor, recipes, crafts, and the like. These women are already surfing the web for inspiration to fulfill personal aspirations: what kind of person do I want to be?  They may organize their findings on pinboards created around specific ideas and hobbies, allowing users to keep track of favorite recipes, inspirational images, and anything else that strikes their fancy. Pinterest grants users a space in the digital realm in which to construct a visual identity.

According to Google's DoubleClick Ad Planner data, Pinterest is female-dominated, with approximately an 80/20 skew as of March 2012. The most common age groups are 35-44 (29%), 45-54 (26%), and 25-34 (24%). Of the site's users, 61% have "some college" education and the majority (38%) have an annual household income of $25,000-$49,999.

Named breakout social network of the year in 2011, Pinterest is not slowing down any time soon. Pinterest continues to grow at lightning speed in the early months of 2012. At the SXSW Interactive conference in March, co-founder Ben Silbermann announced that an iPad app is currently in the works. Tablet users, be forewarned.

Companies are flocking to Pinterest and curating pinboards to represent their brands' best interests in the digital, social sphere. Our "Bringing it Back" panelists especially cited the Chobani Greek Yogurt Company's effective use of pinboards. Chobani's profile boasts breakfast foods, dietary inspiration, fitness tips, and even artistic spoons, with which to eat "America's #1 Greek yogurt" of course.

The direct value, in terms of generating ROI, of integrating Pinterest into a company's social media marketing strategy has yet to be determined. But our panelists are confident that Pinterest is here to stay. Its niche-to-mainstream model has moved beyond the target demographic of young to middle-aged women and expanded to the commercial market. The Pinterest website now boasts a highly diversified portfolio of brands, including Kate Spade New York fashion company, Whole Foods Market, West Elm furniture company, and Mashable social media news blog.

Whether it is defining a personal identity or sculpting a brand identity, Pinterest has empowered consumers to unleash the creative ninja within!

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