Pinterest Promotion's Puzzle Solved

Finding participants and ensuring eligibility and legality are among some of the time-consuming issues businesses face when running a sweepstakes or contest on Pinterest. The popularity of the giveaways, however, keeps increasing.

Creative freedom is one of the many reasons these Pinterest promotions are so popular. Sharad Verma, CEO of Pinfluencer, a marketing analytics and promotions platform, says Pinterest contests or sweepstakes are not just about winning, but they are also about fun and creativity. Participants don't just hit a "like" button to enter, instead, many contests require them to collect items and put them on their board. 

For example, the popular retailer Express ran a "Win Your Wish List" campaign. Entrants gathered items from Express's Pinterest boards and/or website to their boards for a chance of winning a $500 Express gift card. 

This contest is a strong indicator of Pinterest's ecommerce prowess. Additionally, Pinterest serves as an ecommerce driver because people are collecting products for themselves, and so that lead to low-barrier sharing. Plus, every pin is virtually a hyperlink, which makes Pinterest really a collection of links. Another benefit (in the long line of them) is that people using Pinterest are in a mode to shop, as they are actively planning a party, wedding, trip - you name it. 

"Pinning is an act of getting ownership of the product," said Verma. "Sharing happens as a byproduct of that."

As for SEO value, Pinterest has it - just in a roundabout way. 

"The links on Pinterest are no follow, which means that sites do not get link credit for those," said Verma. "But the boards can be SEO'd, and they can rank when searchers search for that brand's name. Really, Pinterest is a catalog in an interesting, unique board."

For those companies looking to run a Pinterest promotion, and reduce some of the friction associated with them, there are tools can help.

One is the aforementioned Pinfluencer. Launched in Feb. 2012, the platform has hosted and tracked more than 50 holiday promotions for brands, such as Gilt, Jetsetter, WayFair, Martha Stewart, Shape Magazine, and others reaching nearly a half million Pinterest users. 

Brands who ran their contests and sweepstakes on Pinfluencer increased their follower acquisition rate by 156 percet while their Pins/day jumped by 125 percent.

The way it works is Pinfluencer creates a Web-based platform for brands, retailers, publishers and agencies to easily create turn-key contest and sweepstakes marketing campaigns on Pinterest and boost audience engagement, site traffic and virality. The platform allows marketers to deploy custom branded contests and sweepstakes with significantly improved user experiences for the participants, resulting in higher entry rates. The dashboard also provides insights into clicks and revenue and saves marketers hours of manual work by automatically tracking user eligibility and allows them to proactively interact with the ineligible participants to maximize the success of the promotion.

 "With Pinfluencer we were able to easily run a successful scavenger-type contest that generated 7 million impressions of our Jetsetter pins on Pinterest," said Jonathan Goldmann, head of social at said. "Pinfluencer's Promotions dashboard tracked not just participants and pins, but also ROI metrics like revenue and clicks and made the reporting very intuitive."

A scavenger-type contest is one promotion type that can be ran on Pinfluencer's Pinterest promotions platform. Others include create-a-board contests (like Express's), repin to a board and pin to win. 

WayFair, a U.S.-based ecommerce company, leveraged Pinfluencer to create its "Turkey Day Tabletop" challenge. 

"We challenged users to pin items for their ideal Thanksgiving table and spread, dishware, centerpieces, recipes and décor," said WayFair Senior Manager of Social Media Trisha Mack. "We saw a 34 percent lift in eligible entries and a 21 percent growth in pins/day from (compared to the same three-week period previous to the contest). In terms of ROI, we saw about a 27 percent increase in referral traffic and revenue coming from Pinterest during the contest period."

Prior to leveraging Pinfluencer services, WayFair held four contests on Pinterest, on its own. These proved to be clunky, as people were required to email a link of their completed board to WayFair. 

Pinfluencer streamlines the process, as companies can host the promotions on Facebook or on their own websites, easily build a contest with custom rules from a menu of options and use the Pinfluencer tracker and dashboard to determine how a contest is performing, check participants' eligibility and track them.  Finally, the platform makes it easy to judge boards and rank participants.

"Marketers can host their contests and sweepstakes on a Facebook tab powered by Pinfluencer and convert their Facebook fans into avid pinners on Pinterest. Every pin has a traffic and sales driving potential," said Verma.

Curalate, a marketing platform for the visual Web, also offers a Pinterest module - dubbed Promote. This service also reduces some of the challenges marketers face when running a contest on Pinterest by integrating registration, management and tracking into its platform (as opposed to using disparate systems to accomplish the same result).

By making contests easier, Curalate has increased participation and engagement for its clients, which includes Carnival Cruise Lines (see results here). 

And, as Pinterest cruises to be more top of mind with marketers, Web workers should expect more Pinterest platforms to capitalize on the overwhelming amount of social and ecommerce potential it has. 

Pinterest is also recognizing its power. It is offering more and more business-related tools and guidance, including those for promotions. Check out Pinterest's tips on running a promotion, here