Today, shoppers turn to digital channels more than ever before. Research shows that 85% of UK luxury consumers regularly use social media, making these platforms an essential part of many brands’ digital marketing tool kits. Earlier this year, British fashion house Burberry became one of the first UK luxury brands to offer its fans a personalised experience on Pinterest, allowing them to create customised boards on make-up as part of the promotion of a new mascara. The company was wise to capitalise on the platform’s significant luxury audience, amidst internal reports that it is already the home to more than 164 million Pins on the topic.
A catalogue of ideas, Pinterest differs significantly from other social platforms as a place where users primarily go to search and gather inspiration - rather than communicate with peers. In fact, according to recent data from Mary Meeker, 55% of people say Pinterest is a place for shopping. Only 12% say that about social networks. Pinterest is where consumers turn to plan for future purchases and events, making the platform a suitable canvas for showcasing upcoming product launches as well as a good indicator of future luxury trends.
According to a recent report from Zenith, digital advertising is by far the biggest contributor to the growth in luxury advertising and is forecasted to increase by $837m globally between 2015 and 2017. And in terms of social media, Pinterest is particularly interesting as users tend to actively seek out content from brands on the platform - in fact, 75% of Pins come from businesses. As the influence of print as an advertising medium diminishes, how can businesses that sell high-end products use Pinterest (and other social platforms) to communicate with their customers in a way that doesn’t compromise their exclusivity and core brand values?
High-quality assets are crucial
In terms of luxury items, users are pinning not only on the basis of what they need but also what they aspire to. Therefore, the more beautiful the imagery, the more successful your campaign.
Use multiple creatives to drive engagement as different images speak to different tastes. Also, by featuring several colours or styles of products you subtly highlight that there is a variety of options available, leading users to further explore your site. Beautiful lifestyle shots where products are shown in use are not only visually appealing but often help in driving clicks. Similarly, subtle branding and text overlays give people a clear reason to take a specific action. Convince close-to-deciding Pinners that your business is a fit by including useful and concise information. A luxury brand’s credibility and reputation can help drive engagement, so find a clear yet tasteful way to incorporate branding into your Pins.
Inspire, then convert
Pinterest is great for inspiring and building awareness, then hitting potential consumers again using well thought-through retargeting tactics. Ultimately, this comes down to reaching the correct audience from the get-go and finding those who are willing (and able) to buy. Tap into user interests relating to high-end home decor, travel and fashion using Pinterest’s sophisticated targeting opportunities, your own CRM data, as well engagement retargeting which allows you to communicate with users who have previously engaged with your organic and paid activity on the platform.
Tie in your targeting efforts with major shopping events such as Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s, Graduation and the start of the wedding season as these are when people who might not normally be interested audiences could be looking for luxury brands. Also, don’t forget to target male consumers with female-focused brands (and vice versa), promoting your products as gifts.
Create value for consumers
While not a must, luxury companies on Pinterest are wise to create a beautiful and exclusive organic content board in order to build a carefully constructed and inspiring story about their brand. This foundation can then be complemented with strategic and accurately targeted paid activity on the platform, further adding value for users and facilitating the consumer experience.
Always aim to tell a story with your ads and create a content calendar around your brand and products to ensure messaging is coherent, inspiring and helpful. For example, a luxury hotel can create additional value for users by sharing content not only about their facilities, but also about exclusive activities in the area. Long-form Pins can tell a full and engaging story while the one-tap ad format is good for driving conversions once a fundamental level of awareness has been reached.
As a platform, Pinterest is all about adding value – this is where people come to learn, dream and elevate their everyday lives. Luxury brands ought to find a balance between inspiring and educating users while maintaining their exclusivity and tone of voice.
Involve other channels
Pinterest is unique in that it borders between a social network and a research and planning tool. While on most other social channel, users are operating in a (more or less) personal environment, Pinterest is a place for businesses and consumers to connect, as people turn to the platform for inspiration on what to buy. Consumers switch mind-sets as they move from one social channel to the next, so advertisers should consider running campaigns on different platforms to reach them most effectively.
For instance, luxury brands can use Pinterest to engage with users early on in the customer journey. Exclusive and higher-priced items often mean that shoppers require longer time for research, comparison and planning, making the platform an excellent tool in creating and underpinning their desire for a luxury brand or product. And by adding Pinterest’s “save” button to their websites, companies can make it even easier for consumers to re-visit items they are interested in at a later stage.
Other visual platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are suitable for further engaging consumers and can be used to complement or regenerate campaigns that have already run on Pinterest. It is important to remember that, if done right, Pinterest can offer advertisers a full-funnel solution, from early phase (consideration) to final (conversion).
As social media becomes an increasingly integrated part of everyday lives, luxury advertisers cannot afford to ignore the opportunity to connect with audiences outside of traditional channels. They should utilise platforms such as Pinterest for building awareness, boosting desire and inspiring consumption of their brands.
By Milana Saric, client strategy director EMEA at Adaptly
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