This article was originally published on 12/18/14, and has since been updated. The season of pinning is here! Pinterest is a great resource for finding a DIY ornament project or getting dish ideas to bake that perfect Christmas dinner. What makes Pinterest stand out in the holiday season though is that it is surprisingly very influential as an ecommerce tool. Just last month, Curalate came out with a study that showed the most popular item on Pinterest. Oddly enough, it turns out that of all things on Pinterest, a pair of J. Crew camping socks was the hottest trending item on the site. The study also found that of the top 5 most popular items on the image-based social platform, 3 were no longer available on their brand sites in the color that was uploaded onto Pinterest. Compared to users who spend around $60-$80 in online checkouts via Facebook and Twitter, users who check out on brand sites from Pinterest spend between $140 and $180. Department stores have caught on to this upward trend and nearly 79% of them have made Pinterest accounts with active campaigns in 2014. This past year has been an active one for the Pinterest brand, with the new rollout of Promoted Pins for all businesses and the implementation of an analytics dashboard to assist brands with finding the right content to garner the most engagement. With these tools readily available this holiday season, brands now have another social media platform to effectively market to their target audience. This holiday season has been marked by numerous brands offering Pinterest holiday gift guides that not only help them generate brand awareness and boost online sales, but are beneficial to users too. Based on industry and business, each brand has different ways of marketing themselves on Pinterest, but here are four that have really stood out from the rest and made it on my "Nice" list:


Sometimes, it's just really hard to know what to get for your loved ones during the holiday season. This is where J.Crew's "Gift (Better) Guide" Pinterest strategy comes into play, as they have the best product recommendations based on audience segmentation. J.Crew Pinterest This is extremely helpful for J.Crew's potential customers and simplifies the process of looking for gift ideas. Instead of displaying the most popular products in a general ecommerce filter, J.Crew has segmented the best recommendations based on age and gender on their Pinterest boards. With a layout this intuitive for holiday shoppers, J.Crew has shortened the buyer journey for users even before they get to the actual brand site.


With more than 68 boards with over 21,000 pins, Nordstrom was the most active and engaging brand in Curalate's study, despite the fact that Nordstrom is well-known as an up-scale department store with a specific target demographic. For the holiday season, Nordstrom focused on creating Pinterest boards that were aiming to match personality types and interests with appropriate titles such as "Shoe Lust" and "Winter Fashion." Nordstrom Pinterest Combined with the personality type boards was also the typical, but essential, "Top Pins" and "Our Favorite Things" boards that helped potential Nordstrom customers gauge what items were receiving the most repins and what items Nordstrom itself was recommending. Like J.Crew, Nordstrom was focused on helping users find the right product for the right person, instead of just presenting what they deemed as the best items to purchase for the holiday shopping season.


Touting itself as the "world's most vibrant handmade marketplace" and with more merchant products than they could possibly display, thinking of the proper Pinterest strategy this holiday season was probably overwhelming for Etsy. They started off with typical boards that retailers would implement on Pinterest such as the most popular, their recommendations, and DIY projects. Etsy Pinterest What make them stand out though are the "Etsy City Guides" boards that they uploaded that include brick and mortar merchant stores located in each city. With 39% of users this holiday season looking for a local retailer on their phones and an additional 28% checking product inventory at specific stores, Etsy's Pinterest campaign has addressed the lifestyle of its users who might be holiday shopping while on the go. They are also intuitively integrating and combining the online and offline Etsy shopping experience for users in specific geographical locations.


Target took a unique avenue of marketing on Pinterest with their holiday favorite "Elf on the Shelf" tradition. They provided users tips on how to decorate their elf during this Christmas season with a myriad of funny and cute ideas. Take a look at a couple of Target's Elf on the Shelf ideas below: Target Pinterest Straying away from the typical Pinterest retail tactic of product display first, Target decided to present users with "Elf on the Shelf" content before product display. The focus of Target wasn't to immediately convert users on their Pinterest page into buyers, but instead to build brand loyalty by providing fun content to their potential and existing target audience. Users are not presented with the giant superstore's products until they actually click through to Target's Pinterest page. It's a creative and seasonal campaign that is effective because it doesn't immediately shove products into a users' online browsing experience. With this sort of holiday strategy, Target doesn't have to worry about loyal users who will already visit their Pinterest page, and they will also attract potential customers who are visiting Pinterest just for shopping ideas who are not yet committed to purchasing. With one week until Christmas, all of the marketing cards are being laid out on the table by companies around the world. What is the most interesting Pinterest campaign you've seen?
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