August 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Wayfair and Ballard Designs pique consumers’ interest with Pinterest campaigns

The burgeoning social network has helped boost the brands' exposure.

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Marketers are always looking for the next big thing. And many retailers are finding that what piques consumers' interest is Pinterest, the burgeoning social network where users collect and show off things they've found around the web.

For instance, Wayfair LLC recently boosted conversions from Pinterest 107% and average order size 48% in four weeks thanks to a scavenger hunt the furniture and home goods retailer hosted on Pinterest. The contest asked the retailer's Pinterest followers to find and "pin," that is, post to Pinterest, 10 items of varying descriptions, such as something blue, from its catalog of five million items on Wayfair.com. The consumers' boards had to be labeled "Wayfair Scavenger Hunt." The first 50 consumers who created boards received a $10 gift certificate to Wayfair.com.

The contest, which went live June 11 and is ongoing, has led to a nearly 47% increase in the number of Wayfair followers on Pinterest, says Trisha Mack, Wayfair's senior manager of social marketing. When it began, Wayfair had about 889 Pinterest followers; as of mid-July that number had grown to 1,304.

Moreover, since the contest launched, consumers who click from Pinterest to Wayfair.com have increased the time they spend on site by about a minute per visit, on average. The number of pages they view per visit has also increased, by 46%, though that was expected given the task of hunting for items around the site, Mack says.

"Pinterest has been the most effective channel for us in driving our social followers to experience our site," Mack says. "They are exploring our offerings and creating content with our products. That is powerful content for any brand."

Wayfair isn't alone in finding Pinterest can produce big results. Ballard Designs, an e-retailer of furniture and home goods, early this spring added the ability for consumers to pin products featured in a promotional e-mail message directly to Pinterest.

The e-mail, which featured best-selling items from Ballard's spring collection and used "Our Customer Favorites are Pinteresting" as its subject line, had an open rate 2.8% higher than Ballard's average and within a week helped increase Ballard's following on Pinterest by more than 15%, the e-retailer says.

The e-retailer, a unit of HSN Inc., was able to embed links to Pinterest into the body of the e-mail through functionality developed by its e-mail marketing vendor, Experian CheetahMail. Ballard Designs launched its Pinterest presence last August, and the e-retailer says Experian CheetahMail approached it earlier this year about adding the Pinning capability to e-mail marketing messages.

The "Pin it" functionality was included on six products featured in the e-mail, and Experian CheetahMail's analytics tracked how many consumers pinned those products and how many other consumers pinned them after seeing the initial pins on the social network. Within a week, a wall clock featured in the e-mail saw a 180% lift in pins, for example, and 56% more shoppers pinned a pair of accent pillows. Overall, pinboard activity for Ballard Designs' featured products increased 33%.

amy@verticalwebmedia.com

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