According to Ad Age, brands are really getting excited about some of the things they are learning about consumers through the use of Pinterest. Pinterest is a social network that nobody really expected to be useful in the marketing world, but then people began using it. When the site’s traffic rose to a significant number, which as of now seems to be somewhere around 27 million monthly active users, marketers and brands started to show interest. However, there really is not much marketers can do with the site, being that it’s functionality is much different from any other social network we see on the web today. An Ad Age article though, tells us that brands have found a successful way to use Pinterest’s countless images to their advantage, with the help of a few companies that put in a lot of time studying said images.

Since Pinterest has not released a public API, nor will it any time soon, brands and marketers have trouble finding useable information that will help them in their Pinterest marketing efforts. Therefore, as of now most brands simply act on the social network as any other user would, using Pinterest in the limited ways it can. This method is worth the effort since there is a considerably large user base on Pinterest, but it does not allow much room for effective marketing techniques. So, what brands and marketers needed was a way to get data from and about Pinterest users, without having any way to do it.

Even though the task seems like it would be impossible, or at least very difficult and time consuming, a few companies on the web have taken the time to help brands and businesses out with their Pinterest marketing, or at least gain some data from the things users are doing on the network. According to Ad Age, there is one company in particular, Curalate, that is helping brands out quite a bit with Pinterest image data. Apparently, to remedy the situation of no API from the social media site, Curalate goes through millions upon millions of images each day to gain information from it. Here is a better description of what they do, from Ad Age.

Curalate processes tens of millions of images each day, examining the pixels in each one to match it against images in its database to determine what the image is. Unlike tracking keyword-heavy text-based platforms, image laden sites such as Pinterest do not have many product SKUs or meta data associated with them, making for a daunting measurement task. Though people typically pin product images directly from e-commerce sites that do include such data, the information is lost and taken out of context once images of cableknit sweaters and gruyere-laced casseroles are added to their Pinterest pages.

From this process, brands receive some very useful information that Curalate finds. For example, many brands from things like energy, retail, and luxury have seen very exciting information, and are thrilled with the possibilities that information from Pinterest can create for them. “For instance, although many of the largest CPG brands don’t have much representation on Pinterest — think toothpaste and soap makers — food brands are big.”

What can be done with this data? Well, the CEO of Curalate, Apu Gupta, had a few suggestions. For example, companies can use analytics tools with the data and information they gain from companies like Curalate, and compare it to that of competitors. The example given is if information shows people love to post pictures of desserts or dessert recipes, then a food company may want to start developing dessert images and recipes for their website.

So, next time you hear that Pinterest is a useless social network for marketing purposes, think again. A lot can be gained from the way consumers behave on the social media site, and a lot of brands, businesses, and marketers are missing out.

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