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How eBay Uses Pinterest to Get Traffic

eBay is pinning its hopes on social networking site Pinterest, which is one of the strongest channels for eBay in terms of driving traffic and sales, an eBay executive told attendees of a conference last week, and he used a specific example to make his point.

Brad Matthews, Senior Director of Social Commerce & CRM at eBay, was speaking at a panel at Ad:tech NYC on Wednesday. The Street quoted Matthews calling social a huge opportunity.

“There are no other marketing channels where you can simultaneously inspire potential new customers to engage with your existing user base at a point in time where they’re almost certainly not thinking about your brand and when you do it right you can actually drive meaningful conversations, meaningful sales, and do it at a very ROI positive rate.”

eBay has had little choice in turning to social for traffic after Google penalized the company in its search last year.

eBay is mining user-generated content called “collections” to look for pin-worthy posts. Matthews pointed to one such collection post called 8 WAYS TO FILL YOUR HOME WITH POSITIVE ENERGY, written by Justina Blakeney.

She pinned a link to her eBay post on Pinterest, and eBay also pinned it to its Pinterest page and promoted it (Pinterest charges brands to promote Pins).

The pin generating 70,000 re-pins on Pinterest and over 300,000 clicks to eBay to read the post.

TheStreet.com wrote, “To replicate that success, eBay comes up with 50 hand-curated pins like Blakeney’s every week, and tests them to better home in on the right Pinterest tone.” It said Blakeney has been working with eBay for a couple of years, but didn’t report on how exactly eBay compensated her for her efforts.

In July, eBay CEO Devin Wenig revealed the company was the top advertiser on Pinterest, and said eBay was an early adopter of Facebok’s dynamic product ads, and was focused on growing newer channels including Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchang, and Periscope.

“While still small relative to our more established channels, traffic from social channels is growing over 100% year-on-year in the U.S.,” he said.

As for Pinterest, it has ecommerce aspirations, having launched “buyable pins” in June for Apple devices and now launching buyable pins for Android devices this month.

And on Sunday Pinterest announced new technology that will roll out this week that uses visual search. “When you spot something in a Pin that you want to learn more about, tap the search tool in the corner. Then select the part of the Pin you’re interested in, and we’ll show you Pins just like it. You can even filter your visual search results by topic so you find exactly what you’re looking for.”

It used an example of a lamp shown in a pin – “if you zoom in on that lamp, you can discover what it’s called (“Antiqued Metal Funnel Pendant”), and where you can find it (Restoration Hardware)” – clearly an enticement to online buyers and sellers.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.