Monday, 19 March 2012

Pinterest Analytics - From Strategic Planning to Tactical Measurement Part I

Pinterest is now the star in the tech area, and some startups have already began to explore its potential in analytic field, such as Pinreach and the two-weeks-old Pintics, while the former one aims to recreate a Klout score for Pinterest, and the latter one (hopefully) focuses more in a Facebook Insights style. Regardless their approaches, have or don't have a tool for analytics is just a matter of how to gather the data, particularly the right one. Still, it's never a good idea to engage a platform without a proper measurement plan for business objectives, and of course not to mention the strategy that supports the plan - One could easily name a dozen of KPIs to measure anything, but the importance is the why and how behind. Hence, let's talk about how I would strategize for Pinterest Analytics in this post. :)

[Warning: long post ahead. this is a three-part series so better read this post only when you're in the mood of learning stuff. :)]

The Backbone Strategy

Let's start from something traditional but useful: a simplified sales cycle for online channel.

Old-school but effective. :)

(The model assumes) Every online user begins their journey by discovering certain product or service or just a message (think SEM or display advertisement), followed by a long and complex consideration and engagement process (from search product reviews to Liked your fan page and then keep interacting with your content), and after some time, they have finally decided to purchase the dress on your ecommerce site. Sure in the reality the cycle would not act like an iterative model, particularly after the introduction of social media in the last decade, still such model would be sufficient when we use it to determine the strategy solely for one single channel. In this case, Pinterest.

Before going directly to the strategy, we have to define the scope for this model, particularly, how different stage happen on and outside the platform, and what (key actions) would happen during different moment.  Plus, let's assume that we're dealing with the strategy for an eCommerce site (as this is quite a popular usage for Pinterest right now, especially for Estey users...).

Anyway, here it is. :)

A simplified flow yet should do the work sufficiently. :)

From discovering a Pin, to engage with it by Liking, Commenting and Re-Pinning, followed by a Click-through or leaving to external channels, finally reaching the Conversion node at the end, this flow diagram demonstrates the complete life cycle of how a Pin can contribute to the final business objective. Based on this chart, we could now easily strategize our plan by following the arrows and see how visitors flows from one node to the next one, which, either micro-conversion on the platform, or simply a conversion on our site, and i used to call all of them "checkpoints".

Three checkpoints we have in this case:
  • Like / Comment / Re-Pin - How people engage with your Pin (content).
  • Click on Pin - How effective your Pin (content) is.
  • Converted - How good the Platform actually performs .

Cool. We have identified the checkpoints now, so what's next? The adventure still has a long road ahead, so why not start preparing?

Preparation - Categorizing Content

Preparation is always one of the keys to success. Content Categorization is indeed an very essential step that we, as a Content Manager, must master in. Despite the blooming status of digital marketing in Hong Kong, most marketers here are still focusing too much on the creativity of content rather than treating all contents as a whole of messages delivery strategy. Here's a simplified version that they would usually deliver as the content management strategy: subject of message, target audience, content, and the publishing schedule.

Traditional Strategy, still simple and effective.

In terms of Public Relation, such table does sound enough for a proper strategy. Still, if we want to ensure our analysis could be insightful enough for driving decision, we definitely need more, indeed, a lot more.

Do feel free to extent this table horizontally by adding more groups / tags !

Without side-tracking too much on this area (Content Management is a big topic....), the idea here is to identify all the nature and characteristics of each content and categorize them into proper groups. To put this practice to an extreme, you could even include the design elements (e.g. using ribbon or big price tag, etc.) or other factors (e.g. with or without a model in the image) that you think they would affect the "effectiveness" of the content to the table.

In short, keep tagging each piece of content until you can't. :p

Such planning will come in handy shortly.

Tips: Using the above approach, one could easily know how they should pin their Pins in different Boards (even how they name the Board or tag the pin). Remember, it's always about strategy. 
Side-note: Some of you may already discover this is a trick used in A/B...N testing and targeting. Yes, indeed, who say social content is not a piece of "experience"? Haha. I will talk more about this in later posts. :)

We're finally done with all the strategic preparation. Let's sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee. In the next part, we will talk about how we can leverage the above preparation for a more insightful engagement analysis and talks about how we strategize out measurement along the cycle.

Let the adventure begins.... :)

Continue to Part II >


  1. Very Informative. Thank You. Philip Hoblin

  2. Useful infographic. I just started exploring pinterest lately. This is a little gold mine.