Social media marketing is powerful for ecommerce due to the large audience size and potential for engagement, which is what makes the Pinterest vs Instagram debate such a pivotal issue for many online marketers.
Which platform can help you to get more sales, and which one offers more valuable marketing opportunities for your brand or business?
There are many different native shopping integrations that have been developed for all social platforms, both Pinterest and Instagram included. The popularity of using these platforms to drive sales is undebatable.
Consumers are looking for personalized marketing experiences, which also allows businesses to reach new leads in more effective ways that can drive conversion. All of these reasons can explain the boom in social media ecommerce and marketing.
Instagram and Pinterest both have strongholds in this area and have become influential in offering businesses more tools for promotion as well as revenue generation.
So, what platform wins in the Pinterest vs Instagram debate? As an ecommerce marketer, there are a variety of different elements you should consider if you’re trying to find the best fit for your efforts.
In this post, we will examine Pinterest vs Instagram for ecommerce and help you to analyze these factors in the most important categories.
Pinterest vs Instagram: Comparing the Purpose of the Platforms
The first thing that needs to be considered is the basic function and purpose of each of these platforms.
Instagram was developed with the intention of sharing, and has expanded for businesses with the intention of promoting.
Pinterest was developed with the intention of discovering content as well as distributing many different pieces of content from all across the internet.
Both platforms are visuals-based, focusing mainly on images and expanding into video. On Pinterest, this may go even further with the search for information, as users may expect a payoff in the way of a tutorial, resource, or guidelines for their subject.
Examples of this include recipes, photos of hairstyles or inspiration for a new fashion trend, and even DIY guides for home improvement.
Instagram focuses much more on the personality and image of each business, letting users connect to what the brand represents and the place that the brand might hold in the user’s life.
Now that we understand the basic purpose of each platform, let’s examine their audiences.
Pinterest vs Instagram: Comparing the Audience
Both Pinterest and Instagram have achieved popularity among a diverse group of users, but which one suits your brand or business better? Here, we’ll examine the audience of both platforms in terms of active users, age, gender, as well as targeting/demographic features.
Instagram is notably more popular on a global scale than pinterest with over 1 billion monthly active users. This means that their audience is more diverse by nature and can give marketers a larger potential for reaching their target audience.
The active user base of Instagram is about 4 times higher than what Pinterest offers, which means the volume of Instagram users is a clear win in this category.
The main age distribution among both platforms show that the audience is relatively young, with the primary age range of users being between 18-35 years old. This trend can be seen across all different social networks, including TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube.
Pinterest has more users that are of a higher age, though, so if your target audience is in the 55+ range, you may find a winning strategy through Pinterest.
Pinterest users have an average yearly income of $75k compared to the average yearly income of $30k for Instagram users, translating to more purchasing power for Pinterest users.
Even though there isn’t as much reach potential on Pinterest, there is more disposable income to be had by Pinterest users.
It’s important for marketers to consider the price of their products and services when looking for the best ecommerce marketing platform of Pinterest vs Instagram.
Instagram has slightly more male users, with roughly 51.6% of users being male and 48.4% being female.
Pinterest, on the other hand, is almost completely dominated by female users with a whopping 81% being women. That means Pinterest is promising for those who seek to target women, but it doesn’t completely rule out Instagram.
Keep in mind that the 48.4% of women Instagram users is calculated based on the 1 billion monthly active users. This is in comparison with Pineterst’s 250 million active users. Just because pinterest is dominated by women doesn’t mean that it is the right platform for you— you could still reach more via Instagram.
What’s more, if you want to target both men and women, you’ll have a much better chance of success when using Instagram. When targeting men only, Instagram is the clear winner here.
Targeting Options and Demographics
Another distinguishing feature of Instagram is the opportunity for targeting. Instagram and Facebook both live under the parent company Meta, and the advertising options offer you precise targeting specifications that are invaluable to ecommerce marketers.
You can also use Instagram insights, an analytics tool provided by Instagram, to better understand your demographic and see who is checking out your content. This will help you tailor your marketing efforts to your specific user base.
Pinterest vs Instagram: Comparing Shoppable Features
We can see that both platforms have quite a hefty reach when it comes to audience, but what about their shoppable features?
Both Instagram and Pinterest offer a range of shoppable features for marketers that can help you to generate revenue via the platform. This in-app shopping experience has greatly increased businesses’ ability to boost sales and provide a more user-friendly sales flow.
Shopping Features on Instagram
Instagram has thoughtfully developed their shoppable features to help create an organic selling experience on Instagram that flows seamlessly within the user experience. When used to its full potential, this can generate some extremely satisfactory results.
1. Product Tags
Instagram product tags have made shopping on Instagram easier than ever. These tags appear directly within the post and allows users to buy products featured in the content without having to leave the app.
Many ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Squarespace have native integrations with Instagram, which allows businesses to connect their inventory directly to their Instagram profile and offer their products in an organic and unintrusive way.
The only thing you need to do to get your product tags set up is to create a product store on Facebook and link it to your Instagram account. This can be set up in just a few taps. Once you get the hang of it, you can create shoppable posts in seconds.
2. Stories Tags
Instagram stories has over 500 million daily active users, which means it houses incredible potential for reaching your audience. Instagram stories alone have more active users daily than Pinterest does in a month.
Similar to Instagram post shoppable tags, you can also tag your products in Instagram stories, allowing users to shop directly from within the story feature. A third of the most-viewed Instagram stories are posted by businesses, meaning this feature is vital to successful ecommerce marketing on Instagram.
3. Shop Button
You have more possibilities to sell all of your products in one place through your Instagram shop. You can post exceptional photos of all of your products in one place, allowing people to buy right from within Instagram.
This can lead people from your content to your store, ultimately increasing the dollar value that they spend and help them to find other similar products that they might enjoy. This icon will appear at the top of your Instagram feed on your profile with a button that reads View Shop.
Users can browse all of your products in one place, save ones that they like, get more information, view your website directly from the Instagram app, and more.
This is a game changer for in-app shopping and ecommerce on Instagram, giving you a huge opportunity to drive sales without even as much as a website visit.
4. Instagram Live Shopping
Similarly to what you will find on your Instagram shop, you can now tag products you are promoting in your Instagram live so that people can buy it immediately as they are watching.
This feature was lacking from Instagram for quite some time, and after it was launched, it really made a full toolkit for ecommerce on Instagram. Instead of hoping people will go back and check out your products later, they can do it right as you speak.
Videos are becoming increasingly popular across the internet and social media, and connecting with your followers in real time offers you the chance to answer questions about the product and give an almost one-on-one consultation feel, helping to promote purchase even more.
Shopping Features on Pinterest
Now that we’ve seen the powerful features that Instagram offers for shopping experience on the platform, let’s take a look at how Pinterest compares.
1. Product Pins
Pinterest Product Pins are similar in nature to Instagram Shoppable Posts in that they will offer users a snapshot of the product as well as the pricing information. It will show each product individually and you can connect your products to multiple sites.
That means that if you collaborate with other brands or creators, you can create a mutually beneficial pin that helps all products tso be noticed.
One of the main things that differentiates the two features in terms of tagging and shoppable posts is how easy they are to set up. Instagram makes it much more straightforward through the implementation of Facebook shop.
Pinterest requires a bit more of tech-savvy knowledge to get things up and running, giving it more of a learning curve.
2. Pinterest Lens
Pinterest Lens is a unique and desirable feature that helps you to discover new products using your camera lens, something that is very beneficial to ecommerce brands.
Similar to the way the Shazam app listens to music and tells you the artist and all information you’d ever want to know, the Pinterest lens lets you take a photo or upload from your camera roll and receive product suggestions and available pins that fit the item.
When you take a photo, Pinterest will work its magic and show you a compilation of similar items. You can filter it by either Explore to see pins that offer you inspiration, information, and more, or you can click Shop to help you find a product to purchase.
In our tests, when we took photos of particular items, we didn’t always find the exact same product for purchase in the Pinterest Shop option, but there were many very similar options that were almost an exact match to the product we’d taken a picture of.
If your consumer knows what they want to buy but doesn’t know where to find it, you can appear here just in time for them to purchase from you.
3. Visual Search
Although not a direct shopping feature, the Visual Search feature on Pinterest offers ecommerce for brands by allowing users to discover your products and even purchase them.
If a user holds down on a Home or Style pin, the elements of the image will be scanned and products will be suggested for purchase so that users can replicate the style that they enjoy.
The pins that get suggested are ones that have already been created with Product Pins, making it easy for customers to find your product in a natural way.
Pinterest vs Instagram: Which Social Media Ecommerce Platform is Right for You?
After examining the shoppable features for Pinterest vs Instagram, which one do you think takes the win?
On the whole, we find that Instagram has the clear advantage in terms of shoppable posts and can benefit the majority of ecommerce brands.
With a larger demographic and more developed and user-specific shoppable features, it’s much easier to control the sales funnel for your customers on Instagram and create something that drives sales.
Pinterest does offer the chance to sell your products, but it’s not as streamlined as Instagram and it’s more of a hit or miss. You’ll be able to implement more strategies on Instagram.
That’s not to say that Pinterest isn’t valuable— it may be even more valuable for you if you’re an ecommerce brand in a few particular niches, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
There are ultimately two factors you should consider when deciding what’s right for you:
- The type of product you’re selling
- The purchasing habits of your customers
Types of Products to Sell on Pinterest vs Instagram
Here we’ll discuss the different strategy for which products to sell on Pinterest vs Instagram. Pinterest has an older demographic with more disposable income, allowing ecommerce brands to sell bigger items like furniture, art, appliances, etc.
It’s likely that the target audience is on Pinterest to get ideas and view products they love, which means you’ll be in the running for a purchase. Popular Pinterest categories include:
- Event Planning
- Food and Drinks
- Furniture and Home Decor
- Women’s Fashion
For Instagram, you’ll be able to aim your efforts towards more male users as well as the younger generation such as Gen X and Millennials. Companies that sell lower-priced items targeting these demographics are seeing a lot of success.
That’s not to say you can’t sell high-dollar items on Instagram; if you get your targeting right, you’ll be able to get your content seen by the right users and drive sales.
Fashion and apparel brands have especially benefited from Instagrams shoppable features, as well as beauty brands. More and more ecommerce brands are taking to Instagram and creating their shop.
User Purchasing Habits on Pinterest vs Instagram
Pinterest offers a unique method of product discovery through their Pinterest Product Lens and Visual Search features. This isn’t seen on any other platforms and is only available on Pinterest.
In fact, the whole idea behind Pinterest is to inspire people to plan and get ideas for their own personal life, explained this way by the co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, Ben Silberman.
Pinterest users have a very specific desire in mind and are browsing around for something that meets it.
Instagram is more geared towards impulse purchases and recurring purchases due to the fact that users directly follow the brands they love, driving customer loyalty over a variety of purchases.
Over 90% of Instagram users follow at least 1 business, and 2 out of 3 users believe it helps them to connect with brands. You can build not only a strong follower base on Instagram, but also a loyal customer base.
Pinterest vs Instagram Final Thoughts: Which Platform is Better for Ecommerce?
There’s no doubt that both Pinterest and Instagram have developed ecommerce tools for brands and businesses. This is a priority across all social media platforms.
That said, if you’re an ecommerce brand that wants the best results with the opportunity to reach the most people, Instagram is the best social media platform for marketing. Some statistics that support this include:
- Instagram boasts 1 billion monthly active users
- 90% of all users follow at least 1 business
- 72% of users make purchasing decisions based on what they see via Instagram
Thus, Instagram has a huge sway in what consumers ultimately decide to do and the organic nature of ecommerce on the platform has transformed the way that businesses can drive revenue.
Will Instagram even create its own shopping app one day? Only time will tell!