What Pinterest’s new API Means for Brands

Pinterest API mock-upMany have speculated for months about when Pinterest would launch its first API.  That day finally arrived this week, when the company announced its first set of APIs geared toward consumer brands and media companies, enabling them to “showcase their most popular Pins right on their own websites and mobile apps.”  Rolling out to partners over the coming weeks, Pinterest also revealed additional APIs that will include most recent Pins, related Pins, and search-specific Pins.

While Thursday’s news finally brought an end to the speculation, the question now becomes, what does this mean for brands? Here are my top three takeaways for how brands can benefit from Pinterest’s new integration:

 

1.    Content Curation Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Do I even need to say it—content is king.  As social marketers, we also know the demand to provide timely, relevant, and intriguing content to a multitude of niche audience segments across many social networks is only increasing.  Where is all this compelling content going to come from, and who’s going to create it?  The good news for brands is that they don’t have to do it alone, nor should they.  The power and beauty of social media is that it’s a two-way communication channel, built for people to share experiences and build relationships with, not only the people who have similar interests, but also the brands who are helping to fuel those experiences. Those experiences are becoming increasingly visual (hello Twitter’s new image feed and the explosion of Vine), and Pinterest’s API just gave you an amazing new resource of user-generated content that you can curate and embed directly on your own websites and mobile apps.  Doing so, further drives word-of-mouth and awareness around the products, topics or ideas that are resonating the most with your social community.

 

2.    More Time on Your Website = More Opportunities to Convert

According to Bain and Company, socially engaged customers spend 20-40% more than your other customers.  As such, why not integrate social into the place where conversion happens (usually a company’s website)?  Pinterest is helping brands do exactly that with their new APIs and it’s a win-win experience for both brands and the consumer.  Just as brands post ratings and reviews on their websites to help influence the purchase behavior of other customers and prospects, Pinterest’s new API provides the ability for brands to curate “visual reviews” on their site so visitors can more easily discover what’s most popular among the brand’s Pinterest community.  At the same time, consumers “can now pin directly from these sites, ‘so there’s no need to interrupt your shopping, reading, or browsing.’”

 

3.    More Social Data at your Fingertips

Does the thought of trying to sort through and analyze even more social data sound overwhelming?  In this case, most of the work is already done for you.  Through Pinterest’s API, brands now have the ability to pull in content such as the Top Pins to their website that automatically curates the products or topics that are being re-pinned or clicked on the most.  A visual crowdsourcing of what’s most popular if you will, the new API allows you to quickly keep an eye on what’s resonating most with your Pinterest community.  This can help inform future content strategy across your marketing efforts – for example, what should be re-purposed on other channels or what type of content to produce more or less of.

 

The list of early brand partners includes top retail brands such as Target, Nestle and Whole Foods Market, as well as media companies like Mashable, Elle Magazine, and NBC News Digital’s iVillage.com. This week’s API unveiling brings exciting new opportunities for big brands and I’m eager to see how they further incorporate Pinterest into their ongoing social strategy.  Have thoughts of your own?  Tweet them to me at @btodd12.

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