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Pinterest pays off for big banks

News, 10 August 2015

SAN FRANCISCO: Pinterest, the image-sharing site, is not usually associated with the banking sector, but several major US banks have reported success engaging with users on the social platform.

Bank of America, for example, joined Pinterest in October last year and created boards like "buying a home" and "travel plans" that included visuals and links to its money management website aimed at millennials.

The bank said it has seen 72,000 re-pins so far and that Pinterest is driving 30% of its social media traffic to its "Better Money Habits" website, American Banker reported.

Chris Smith, an enterprise social media executive at Bank of America, explained the bank had noticed that many Pinterest users were pinning on financial topics, such as family planning. "There's a perfect overlap," he said.

Banks also see Pinterest as a means of engaging with millennials – comScore recently reported that the site reaches 41% of that generation – and with women, who most often make the decisions about household budgets.

Regions Financial, the financial services company based in Alabama, has been using Pinterest since 2013 and found that checklists and infographics performed best to engage users of this visual site.

"The power of the image is what compels people to click," explained Melissa Musgrove, head of social media at Regions Financial.

Financial giant Wells Fargo also has been seeking to engage with Pinterest users since March 2014 and recognised that many mothers used the site to think about financial planning for their families.

"While banking isn't necessarily the first industry that pops to mind with Pinterest, we felt like our brand and our focus on financial guidance would be a good fit with the 'aspirational' nature of the platform," said Renee Brown, Wells Fargo's director of social media.

But providing appropriate content is key, she added. "It's important to provide Pinterest users with useful information that matches their intentions when visiting the platform, because it's so search intensive."

Brown said: "If users are not searching for what we're pinning about on Pinterest, it is unlikely to get traction."

Data sourced from American Banker, comScore; additional content by Warc staff