What is the ROI of Pinterest?

Sure, it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread (or Facebook, whatever). But the question of ROI must be addressed, lest the Pinterest bubble burst in a few months.

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For the past few weeks we have experienced a deluge of Pinterest hype across the social media sphere, marketing media, and the periodic mainstream news piece. Pinterest is touted as the next hot thing, and we see a ton of suggestions from “experts” on how to market using Pinterest.

What is rarely offered is demonstrative evidence of ROI. Shared case studies are often sandbox level successes that produce light outcomes like follower counts, but not actual financial results. Here are some examples:

The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton now has 350 followers on Pinterest, and has received roughly 100 visits from its pins. Certainly some early signs of local engagement for a new social network, but what’s the outcome?
• Yogurt company Chobani has 2,000 followers and is driving user engagement from Pinterest. OK, again, good top-of-the-funnel activity, not massive, but good for a core loyalist group. But what are the loyalists doing once they get to the Chobani site?
• Probably the most likely to have real ROI occurring is online retailer Etsy with its 43,000 pinners. But the case study I saw discusses retail branding and empowering users to build shopping ideas, not sales, store click throughs, conversions, or any other statistic close to ROI.

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