The image-based social media website Pinterest is an undisputed darling among online “cool hunters,” design geeks, DIY nuts and shoppers. Though it only opened its virtual doors just three years ago (and only as a closed beta back then), Pinterest has already become the third-largest social network operating today, trailing behind only Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

And it’s not just pinners who love Pinterest. Both B2C and B2B businesses —including 69 of the world’s top 100 brands—are seeing returns from their Pinterest fans. In fact, Pinterest-based shoppers spend an average of $169 per online purchasing session (a number no other social network comes close to matching).

Now, with the recent introduction of an analytics interface, the company is laying some significant groundwork for increased business engagement—and ultimately, the monetization strategy Pinterest will need to live up to its $2.5 billion valuation.

The analytics interface enables website owners to “take a look under the hood” and gauge how their visitors are engaging with the platform and how potential customers are being directed to their brands.

Core metrics include:

  • Number of pins created from images on your website
  • Number of users who have viewed pins related to your website
  • Number of visitors being directed successfully to your site via Pinterest
  • Popularity measures for your pins: which have been viewed the most, which have been repinned the most, etc.

If you are a business owner with a Pinterest presence, or you’re seeing traffic from Pinterest to your website, here are a few tips to make the most of this new tool:

  • Learn what your greatest assets are in the eyes of Pinners—and build on those assets. Determine what pages of your site are pinned most often? Which of those pins are repinned most often? Which ones create the biggest buzz, in terms of comments and “likes?” Then, use that data to discover which products and product lines are most popular, which colors catch user eyes, what types of imagery resonate most in the eyes of Pinners –and put that knowledge to work as you develop future offerings, future advertising campaigns and future strategy for your own Pinterest page. Likewise, B2B marketers, you can pin images of case studies, infographics, etc. and track interest as you plan future campaigns.
  • Create special deals or offers for pinners, based on your data. Everyone loves a great deal—and pinners are no exception. But a deal just for pinners? That’s irresistible. Two easy ways to do this: 1) Include adding a “Pin This” button next to product listings on your site, with the promise of, say, a 10% off code. 2) Place a pin on your own Pinterest presence indicating that visitors who click the pin to visit your site will get 10% off on their purchase. And so on . . .
  • Show off your B2B expertise. Create a board centered on the hot topics in your industry. You could become a new resource for answers to commonly asked questions. Think of it as advice with a side helping of “Hey, look at us!”
  • Give Pinners a “look under the hood,” too. Create a Pinterest board entitled, “Our Most-Pinned Picks” or “Pinterest Favorites” to let pinners know what other pinners are loving right now. Or how about a “Pins You Can’t Refuse” board for the pins that have most often led to on-site purchases? Give your Pinterest fans the scoop on what’s most popular, and they’re likely to want to get on board, too. Plus, it seems B2B marketers are especially eager to find ways to “humanize” their brands. Why not pin images that offer a peek into your company culture? Or, how about an “insider’s view” of your showroom?

Pinterest offers a tremendous amount of opportunity for brands wanting to reach out to savvy, style-conscious potential customers. With the addition of analytics, however, Pinterest is showing brands that it’s ready to help businesses succeed on the platform—and that’s a great early indicator of success for any potential monetization efforts by Pinterest down the road.