Pinterest’s true power for driving e-commerce sales

Pinterest is commonly considered to be the social network that brings in the most online sales. A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that Pinterest is 126% more successful at driving e-commerce sales than Facebook, since Pinterest users’ average order value is $123.50, while Facebook users’ average order value is $54.64. Not bad for a platform with a “share of voice” that’s under 1%.

pinterest takes the cake

Pinterest takes the cake – photo by Flickr user Roxanne Ready

One of the biggest reasons for this is that Pinterest has a whole lot of sharing going on – an average of 10 “repins” per image.

Once a post is pinned on Pinterest, it doesn’t disappear from a feed after a day or two. Instead, it stays current, because of the social network’s organization of pins into categories and popular sections. And every time a post is repinned, it goes back to the top of the relevant category feeds, where more users can discover it and repin it again.

No wonder a recent Shopify study found that half of all e-commerce sessions referred by Pinterest take place over three months after the pin was originally posted. Visuals are a great for inspiring people to enter the sales funnel, since most of us want to see what something looks like before we buy it – even it it’s a totally functional product.

Although it’s problematic to stereotype women as shopping more than men, there is evidence that in this case, the generalization is no myth. And marketers love that Pinterest’s user base is highly feminine.

Pinterest is an addictive site. Users often “complain” that once they log in they can’t seem to get back out. SimilarWeb’s data supports this, showing that the average time spent on the site is a little over eight minutes, and the average number of pages per visit is six, which are amazingly high figures compared to other sites. The Pinterest bounce rate is also extremely low, at only 37%.

pinterest session duration etc

Pinterest is one of the stickiest sites on the web

In fact, SimilarWeb PRO shows that 13% of all outgoing traffic from Pinterest leads to shopping websites such as Etsy and Amazon. That’s 13 million referrals from desktop users in the last year!


pinterest's outgoing e-commerce targets

The shopping sites that get the most referrals from Pinterest


About 5.5% of the traffic is going to Etsy, far ahead of the 0.5% going to Amazon. After Facebook, Pinterest is the top referring social network for Etsy.

etsy's social traffic

Which social networks send the most traffic to Etsy

These stats support marketers’ claims that Pinterest is most popular with housewives, DIY enthusiasts and craft lovers. The sellers on Etsy clearly understand the power that Pinterest has, since the top source of pins is the Etsy website, according to SimilarWeb’s data.


pinterest_com_audience interests

The top interests of Pinterest’s visitors from the past year, based on the categories of other sites they visit

After humor, the most popular category browsing pages on Pinterest are DIY crafts, women’s fashion, food and drink and hair and beauty.

pinterest's content tags

The most popular tags on pins

Top searches in Pinterest include DIY, wedding, nails and hair. These types of pages are easily funneled into purchases, with images that entice users to acquire said products.

And Pinterest users are natural shoppers – SimilarWeb’s crawlers indicate that acter Social Networks, the category of sites people visit the most upon leaving Pinterest is Shopping, with a whopping 8%. This is a powerful e-commerce sales driver indeed.

About the Author -

Ben Jacobson is a freelancer specializing in digital marketing, content and community management for startups, small businesses, travel publications and entertainment brands.

Discover the secrets of online success