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If you’re an e-commerce marketer and you’re not already on the Pinterest bandwagon, you need to hop on it as soon as you can. Pinterest is the first social network that’s delivering not only lots of traffic but also real revenue and lots of new customers.

I know this because my own company, Convertro, tracks marketing performance for our clients across various channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others, to find out which perform best in terms of driving revenue. Our latest data shows that Pinterest is the fastest growing social media traffic source for e-commerce websites in terms of revenue. (Full disclosure: We have no relationship with Pinterest.)

In Q2 2011 represented 1.2% of social media revenue for e-commerce sites. It now represents 17.4% and is quickly gaining on Facebook. (That shift from 1.2% to 17.4% is based on measurements we made across 40 of our client sites — most of which are top 500 internet retailers.) We project Pinterest will be responsible for 40% of social media e-commerce transactions by end of Q2 2012, reducing Facebook’s share to slightly under 60% from 86% a year ago.

For the three people out there who still don’t know what Pinterest is, it’s an online service that lets you create “pinboards”. You pin links, images, web pages and other items you think are cool to your pinboard, share them, and use them to plan your wedding, organize your recipes, or show off your fashion sense. If you, as a marketer, can get people to “pin” your products and other people click on those pins, then you make money.

New Customers

Pinterest tends to introduce new customers to client websites, making it a “Top of Funnel” marketing source. If you measure the big three social media sites on a “First Touch” revenue per click basis, Pinterest is the clear winner.

Being first is good because it indicates that Pinterest tends to introduce customers to retailers, instead of simply reinforcing users’ previous interest in the site or providing a navigational method of getting to the site.

We measure first touch by tracking referral traffic from these different sources and  looking at what resulted in revenue. We found that Pinterest generates over four times as much revenue per click (attributable to first touch) as Twitter and 27% more revenue per click than Facebook. Pinterest’s success on this front may be due to the fact that it provides a social interest sharing component that presents contextually-relevant content to users and their friends.

If we ignore first touch for the moment and examine all marketing touchpoints users interact with prior to converting and weigh each click evenly (giving credit to every marketing channel regardless of its position in the purchase funnel), we see that Pinterest is still the most productive social media source for e-commerce sites:

So what should e-commerce sites be doing to accelerate Pinterest revenues? Simply add the “Pinit” Button to each Catalog SKU on your website. You can find it right here.

Jeff Zwelling is CEO of cross-channel marketing technology company Convertro. started out in video games and then went to GeoCities where he successfully helped to monetize the first social network. He was a founding partner of Pathway Ventures and started YLighting (sold to Alpine Investors), which developed the key technologies that became the basis for Convertro.

Top image courtesy of Dim Dimich, Shutterstock

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