Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Using Search Terms on Pinterest to Find Success

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As customer acquisition costs rise among the digital duopoly, direct-to-consumer brands are looking to any other platform to gain an edge over competitors and scale the business.

For many DTC brands, Pinterest’s become a safe haven to test campaigns, reach different parts of the funnel and receive more customers. Pinterest has scaled up its ad offerings over the years, and with keyword targeting, DTC brands are seeing success with lower costs per acquisition.

“We think Pinterest is such an ideal place for brands that are new and want to get brands discovered,” Katie Dombrowski, U.S. segment lead for disruptor brands on Pinterest, said. “People on Pinterest are really trying to take action—brands are truly additive to the Pinterest experience.”

With keyword targeting, brands can target specific search terms—and the people searching for them—and run ads that further align with it. For instance, Thinx, the direct-to-consumer brand that creates period-proof underwear, runs ads alongside search terms like “period hacks.” Dombrowski said keyword targeting is easier to do on Pinterest since 72% of searches are between one and three words long, as opposed to other platforms where search terms are much longer. On Pinterest, people search for “Easter ideas,” for example, whereas on Google, they may search for “Easter ideas for adults.”

Dombrowski said that in addition to showing which search terms are seeing high volume, Pinterest can also give brands a “search query report” that shows people who are looking at the search term but perhaps haven’t saved a brand’s content to a Pinterest board. Although legacy brands can also use keyword targeting, Dombrowski said, DTC brands benefit more from it since these companies can target actual potential customers instead of paying for direct-response ads and paying five times more.

“It’s especially impactful for brands that are early and don’t have as much brand awareness to start with,” she said.

DTC brands tend to measure three distinct key performance indicators with the keyword targeting tool, Dombrowski said. Some try to get the Pinner to a brand’s website in order to retarget them down the line. Other brands look toward add to cart, and some companies use conversion optimization bidding to keep customer conversion and site traffic equal.

Daniella Amirian, senior manager of performance marketing at Thinx, started using Pinterest in 2017 and, since then, has continuously increased its media spend on the platform, spending 15-20% more year over year. On Pinterest alone, Thinx has seen 28% year-over-year growth from 2018 to 2019, and revenue growth is up 61% year over year as well. (The brand declined to share more specific numbers.)

Part of what’s helped Thinx grow on Pinterest is keyword targeting. The brand has found success with search terms like “period cramp relief,” in addition to “period hacks,” and aligned its creative to match those terms. With a search term around how to have the period talk, Thinx created infographics about the percentage of women who feel they need to hide their period or how girls can talk to their fathers about it.

“People on the Pinterest platform are looking for period solutions,” Amirian said. “The reason why we started to diversify [is because] Pinterest was [one of] the biggest opportunity areas.”

With Pinterest’s audience insights and keyword targeting, Thinx is also trying to reach other types of audiences, such as people who want to manage their periods in a more sustainable manner as well as mothers who recently gave birth. The two tools led to Thinx approaching Pinterest for brand awareness, traffic, conversion and retargeting.

DTC mattress brand Purple Mattress started using Pinterest in mid-2018, when it used the audience insights tool to see which categories aligned with the brand. Now, Purple Mattress uses keyword targeting to reach consumers around the bed category, bedroom remodeling and people looking at the company’s competitors Alisa Gammon, social advertising director at Purple, said. On Pinterest, Purple is measuring return on ad spends and cost per acquisition and found a 22% increase in the last 30 days and a 11% decrease in CPA costs.

“As a digital advertiser, you can’t approach all of these digital platforms with the same weight,” Gammon said. “Over two years ago, we decided we were going to focus on Pinterest and put a full time person making this a successful channel for us. [Pinterest is a] tactical advantage where you can unlock some non saturated ways of reaching people [in an] economical way.”

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