“Time on site” is one of the most valuable metrics for social networks, publishers and online marketers. More than mere follower counts or even pageviews, the amount of time users spend with your content is always top priority in the quest for user engagement.
Social network superstar Pinterest has enjoyed hockey stick growth in recent months, but it’s also worth noting that the time visitors spend browsing and pinning has also increased sharply.
Independent film and entertainment studio Lionsgate holds the majority (30%) of the market share of fitness DVDs. Naturally, the company decided to create a YouTube channel comprised of athletic content. What it didn’t anticipate is how effectively Pinterest could promote its YouTube presence.
Launched Jan. 3, 2012 as part of YouTube’s Original Content initiative, Lionsgate BeFit features dozens of workout videos from celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels and Jane Fonda. The channel posts to YouTube once a day, with the goal to generate as many viewers as possible to each video within 48 hours.
And what has been BeFit’s most successful traffic generator? Pinterest.
Digital brand and content manager of Lionsgate, Tahndi Campbell, says that within five days of Feb. 1, when Lionsgate introduced video content to its Pinterest profile, Lionsgate BeFit’s YouTube activity doubled, from 200,000 to 400,000 views. “I think we are reaching our audience in such a way that makes them highly, highly engaged with our product,” says Campbell.
Brands, media organizations and retailers alike are celebrating astounding referral traffic, thanks to Pinterest. Lionsgate is turning that traffic into views, and those views into advertising opportunities. The majority of Lionsgate BeFit’s pins are YouTube videos, which Pinterest users can watch right on Pinterest.com. The views not only count toward the channel’s YouTube traffic, but users are also exposed to the video’s original ads as well, which helps for future monetizing opportunities.
“We look at Pinterest as a way to cultivate an audience that is actually going to click the links and get that initial burst of traffic to our YouTube channel,” says Campbell. She explains that the more viewers they attract to YouTube, the higher the chance for continued engagement and commenting. “That’s going to send our video up in the search results, up in featured and suggested video. Then, it’s in front of a whole new audience on YouTube, even if we only drive 20 [Pinterest] people there who are highly engaged users.”
Social media manager of Lionsgate home entertainment, Megan Peterson, has observed that Pinterest users are very apt to search for pins’ original websites. “Pinterest users are very source hungry,” she says. “They want to know where that picture’s from, they want to know where they can get that workout, or where they can get that recipe.”
Since brands are still determining which content works best on Pinterest, Lionsgate decided to use other social media platforms to inform its Pinterest activity. “If we post a video on Facebook and it gets a certain amount of shares, then chances are if we post it on Pinterest, its going to get the same amount of pins. We’ve seen that to be true,” says Campbell.
Similarly, they don’t want to bombard their Twitter audience by tweeting every single pin. “Not everything needs to be pinned because that’s annoying on the Twitter feed,” says Peterson. “You don’t want to just be pinning and tweeting, at the same time, everything you’re doing.”
Finally, Lionsgate celebrates the inherently personal nature of Pinterest. “If you look at our Pinterest page, it really looks like a girl is speaking to what it is that she’s trying to work on on her body,” says Campbell. Where other social networks lack a human quality, Pinterest allows brands to create personas based on taste that speak to very specific demographics.
Using Pinterest, Lionsgate has managed to achieve twofold success: The brand has not only cashed in on the hottest new social network, but it has used its Pinterest presence to strengthen YouTube views. Will Pinterest continue to surprise us?
Our friends at Statista have gathered a bit of data from comScore to illustrate just how engaged Pinterest users have become over time, and in comparison to other networks. In January 2012, users spent the same amount of time on Pinterest as they did on Tumblr — on average, 89 minutes per user.
Do you find yourself getting sucked into Pinterest for extended periods of time? Share your experience in the comments below.