Pinterest is one of social media’s Big Data darlings

August 5th, 2014 by - 2,589 views

To understand the objective of social super-company Pinterest is to first know that its prime real estate for harvesting valuable marketing insights is using Big Data. Why? The answer couldn’t be simpler. Pinterest makes its users talk about what interests them feel fun and rewarding, while providing the website a clear view of how to market to them. It’s an ingenious device that is unlike any other social media outlet today, and is a prime example of how cloud computing can be a far better gauge of what matters to consumers than the most well-planned focus group.

To understand the objective of social super-company Pinterest is to know that it's prime real estate for harvesting valuable marketing insights.

To understand the objective of social super-company Pinterest is to know that its prime real estate for harvesting valuable marketing insights is using Big Data.

How does it work?
Pinterest has given its users the option to begin “pinning” their favorite things within a cloud infrastructure in exchange for better related results within the network. When an account-holder posts something like an image or link to an article on his or her pin board, they received related pins that somehow correspond to items they’ve deemed interesting in the past. According to a blog post from one of the company’s Data Engineers, Mohammad Shahangian, allowing information to be shared within the cloud host will yield better suggestions, leading to more activity on the site – a positive feedback loop for both parties.

The post stated that Big Data “enables [Pinterest] to put the most relevant and recent content in front of users through features such as Related Pins, Guided Search, and image processing,” Shahangian wrote. “It also powers thousands of daily metrics and allows us to put every user-facing change through rigorous experimentation and analysis.”

Over time, more and more users have opted to share their information within the cloud to achieve these results, and Venture Beat contributor Jordan Novet noted increased popularity in the trend since the product’s launch in 2012. The tactics have influenced other social media outlets into integrating ads into their websites’ most important sections.

What can be done with this data?
Though Shahangian’s blog post makes no mention of it, using cloud computing to take stock of users’ interests can be a powerful tool for getting advertisers to work with the company. Unlike the ads present on other major social media sites, Pinterest sells “Promoted Pins,” meaning that your account, picture, or other information is more likely to be shared with users than the average result, and that it will find the right consumer.

How does Big Data assist in this effort? The advertiser simply pays and creates its post, and the technology then finds the user who is most likely to purchase the specific good or service based on the person’s activity on the website. By using the specialized information users are voluntarily providing, Pinterest is able to provide its advertisers with a more precise target to pitch their brand to and give consumers the ability to quite literally “pin” an advertisement to their board, which is thereby shared with all their followers. Though Facebook and Twitter also post ads that integrate into a user’s feed, the ability to interact with these postings is limited and these messages have less potential to go viral.

Pinterest’s interesting use of Big Data is just another example of how fluid technology information analysis has proven to be in the past few years. The best marketing analytics are achieved when a service makes it fun and rewarding for its users to provide a company with useful data that can be analyzed to yield a profit for the provider and a positive experience for advertisers. As Pinterest’s new advertising program continues to roll out, it will be interesting to see how brands succeed by making use of this valuable marketing data.

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