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Is Pinterest Pharma’s Channel on the Visual Web?

Intouch Solutions

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There are two topics that have gotten a lot of attention lately everywhere from industry conferences and trade magazines to 2014 planning meetings and hallway conversations at the major pharma companies — Pinterest and the Visual Web.

Who would have thought that a small Silicon Valley start-up that allows people to create virtual pin boards would be the poster child for a shift in how people process and consume information online? But Pinterest is just that. It’s one of the fastest growing social networks with approximately 40 million active users since it’s launch in 2010, the majority of which are women (80%, Wishpond, 2013). And the community voraciously consumes and shares imagery of recipes, clothes, crafts, interior design ideas, motivational quotes, and any other lifestyle content you can think of, including health information. Every image, or pin, is a visual link to content found elsewhere on the internet.


Essentially, through linked and shared images, Pinterest drives traffic to sites… a lot of traffic. According to Shareaholic, Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined last year. And businesses saw the trend and took notice, driving Pinterest to make a larger investment in business features for the social network.

  • In November of 2012, Pinterest (for Business) launched allowing brands to verify their accounts.
  • In February of 2013, Pinterest launched a set of data analytics tools allowing brands to see how many visitors are being referred each day.

Yes, the small Silicon Valley start-up is being taken seriously as a brand-marketing channel by businesses and they are responding accordingly. But, their real impact on content consumption is the larger, and more important, topic marketers are struggling with.

The Visual Web

Ever since YouTube launched in 2005, marketers have been discussing what types of content have the most impact on the internet. We’ve known for quite some time that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text (3M Corporation and Zabisco), and social media has proven this for not only their channels but the internet as a whole.

Ever since YouTube launched in 2005, marketers have been discussing what types of content have the most impact on the internet.

According to M Booth and Simply Measure, a social media analytics firm, we know that:

  • Videos on Facebook are shared 12 times more than links & text posts combined.
  • Photos are liked 2 times more than text updates.
  • 100 million YouTube users are taking a social action, sharing, rating or commenting, on videos every week.
  • Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute.
  • Pinterest users follow more brands than users on Facebook or Twitter.

And that is only a sampling of their findings. This tells us that people want to get their information visually, and they will share relevant visual information at a much higher rate than text alone. At Intouch, we’re seeing that value is not channel-based, it is content-based.

Can Pharma Provide Visual Content Socially?

We believe pharma companies have the potential to provide amazing visual content, and, in many ways, already have. Whether it’s MOA videos, animated efficacy charts and graphs, patient testimonials or KOL webinars, pharma has the ability to create relevant visual content. The challenge comes from the social networks themselves.

MOA Video

Pinterest, like many other social networks, does not have native tools to moderate content before it is published. Anyone can comment on a pinned image. And, as we all know, there is an inherent risk in publishing content on the internet without the ability to moderate any third-party content that may get attached by users.

This is not to say that user generated content is negative or harmful, but it carries some risk. Intouch has worked diligently to offer the best in human moderation, but this is what is called post-moderation. For example, the user publishes a comment on a picture on Pinterest, but until a human moderator sees that comment and determines whether or not it needs to be removed, it is attached to that picture.

Because of the lack of good moderation and monitoring methods and tools, Intouch does not recommend creating Pinterest business pages at this time for clients. However, we do recommend creating relevant visual content because this content is so compelling and has a higher propensity to be shared by people on Pinterest or other social networks.

Participating in the Visual Web

Even though Pinterest may not be the best channel for pharma today, that doesn’t mean Pinterest users cannot share your content. Here are a few ideas to make your content more visually relevant and sharable:

  1. Review your current content and compare it to the content being shared in Pinterest categories like Education, Health & Fitness, Products or Technology. You will definitely walk away with ideas on making your content more appealing to Pinterest users.
  2. Consider the inclusion of Pinterest into your sharing widget. If you are currently using Intouch’s share»send»save® widget, Pinterest is an optional network that can be added. This will allow users to share your visual content.
  3. Compliment existing content with more visually compelling content like interactive infographics, video infographics, illustrations or Cinemagraphs.

There are many ways to make your content more visual. At Intouch, we are always looking for innovative ways to increase the interactivity of your content. And, someday, Pinterest may be a great channel to showcase that content.

See our other articles for more insights on Pinterest and social media.


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