Pinterest vs. Instagram for Brands

By June 11, 2013 No Comments

In the past couple of years, there’s been a shift in social media – what we call the visual content revolution. Millions of photos are uploaded each day and photo sharing networks like Pinterest and Instagram have become immensely popular.

Both of these networks offer a great way to connect with fans and showcase products in a creative way, turning these fans into potential customers. But as a brand, do you really need to have a strategy and tactical plan to execute on both of these platforms to engage?

Here’s a look at both platforms and what they can do for your brand.


Instagram calls itself a “fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family.” It’s a free phone app where you can take a photo with your phone, choose a filter to change the image and then share with your friends in a feed.

First, let’s talk demographics. Instagram users are way different from Pinterest users. With Instagram, you’ll see:

  • Mostly women
  • Adults in the 18 to 29 year age range
  • African-Americans
  • Latinos
  • Urban residents*
    (*these stats are from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Post Election Survey, November 14- December 9, 2012 and

Instagram draws a younger audience, most likely due to it being strictly a mobile app; there’s no desktop version for older users to access.

Now let’s talk KPIs. Because of the way Instagram is set up, your main KPIs are going to be: brand awareness and fan interaction.

When it comes to traffic back to your site, it’s going to be low – while you can include links with your photos, the links aren’t clickable, making it harder for users to get to your site. Because of this, conversions also are going to be low.

But that doesn’t mean Instagram isn’t right for your brand. According to a report from Simply Measured, some 67% of top brands are now using Instagram, reaching more than 100 million active monthly users on the network—a 500% increase in users since last year. 


Like Instagram, Pinterest is centered on visual content, but this website is a virtual pinboard that allows users to share (or “pin”) and organize images from all over the web. Even though it’s mostly designed for the desktop, it’s available as an app.

When it comes to Pinterest demographics, you’ll see:

  • Mostly Caucasian women under 50
  • With at least some college education
  • With annual income more than $100,000
  • With children*
    (*these stats are from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Post Election Survey, November 14- December 9, 2012 and

Pinterest has more than 11 million registered users, 9 million of which are monthly active Facebook-connected users. With more than 100 million unique monthly visits (as of February 2012), Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites on the web.

As for KPIs, you can track conversions and traffic back to your site. Matter of fact, Pinterest drives a lot of traffic. According to a 2012 study from Shareaholic, “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.”

Pinterest also drives retail sales. PriceGrabber reports 21% of respondents have purchased items found on Pinterest boards, and a Bizrate Insights survey, based on 3,741 online shoppers in March 2012, reported over 1 in 4 shoppers purchased an item directly from image-sharing sites such as Pinterest by clicking an image viewed.

And of course, there’s brand awareness. If you’re in the food, fashion, home decor or wedding industry, you should definitely have a strategy to execute on Pinterest, as those are the most popular categories based on engagement.

So, Which One Do You Choose?

Both Instagram and Pinterest are great for brands to utilize but when deciding which to choose, (if you  don’t have the resources to execute on both) you need to focus on where your audience is and your KPIs.

Targeting your audience demographics is crucial when considering any new social media network. You can’t just start an account with the newest social platform because it’s cool. You’d be wasting money.

You also have to think hard about your goals and which platform can meet those goals. Ultimately, Pinterest is going to allow you more flexibility when it comes to this but Instagram is becoming very popular with top companies when it comes to brand awareness.

Need more information on this topic? Want to know how we are using social media to increase our client brand engagement and impact downstream demand? Want to discuss your options and challenges? Contact USDM today.  We’re easy to talk to and happy to help.

More Helpful Blogs on Social Media Management: 

5 Things NOT to Do on Your Brand’s Facebook Page

10 Questions to Ask Social Media Manager Candidates

Your Quick Guide to Facebook Ads

Top Social Media Mistakes Not to Make