Pinterest vs Instagram: The Differences You Need to Know

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When it comes to digital marketing, there are a lot of different platforms to choose from.

I mean, A LOT.

It’s way better to focus on just 2-3 marketing methods, but sometimes it can be overwhelming which one to choose.

Me, when starting my business, not knowing what to focus on:

Both Pinterest and Instagram are great as a long-term marketing strategy and offer their own unique benefits, but they have some key differences. In this blog post, I will compare Pinterest vs Instagram marketing, to understand the differences and help you decide which platform is right for your business.


These are the Main Differences Between Pinterest and Instagram:


Pinterest Isn’t a Social Media Platform

The first, and possibly most important difference to note when talking about Pinterest vs Instagram, is that Pinterest is not technically a social media platform. It is what is known as a visual search engine. Yes, I’ve mentioned this already here, here and here. This means that people don’t come to Pinterest to interact with friends or family, but to find ideas and inspiration (and possibly buy something).

This has some big implications for businesses trying to market on Pinterest. The most important is that you need to focus on creating visually appealing pins that pinners will likely engage with and using Pinterest keywords so that your content will rank in the Pinterest search engine.


Instagram Requires Daily Showing Up

Instagram, on the other hand, is a true social media platform. This means that in order to be successful on Instagram, you need to show up regularly and interact with your target audience.

Pinterest doesn’t require you to spend so much time on the platform. It’s more important that you’re pinning consistently and creating a lot of fresh pins and content.

Tailwind is the best app that will help you schedule pins in advance (since using Pinterest native scheduler requires a bit more time) and stay consistent.


Here you can find other Pinterest marketing tools that will help you create beautiful pins, save time and create a seamless Pinterest marketing process.


Pinterest vs Instagram Engagements are Not (Quite) the Same

Instagram is all about “classic” engagement. The more you can get people to like, comment, and share your posts, the better. This is because Instagram’s algorithm favors content that gets a lot of engagement.

And yes, engagements are an important Pinterest analytics feature in 2022 too. Heck, the engagements have even become the default setting when searching for the most popular pins.


Engagements for top pins on Pinterest (Pinterest vs Instagram engagements)


But, if you’re only focused on getting likes and comments under your pins, you’re not really taking advantage of what Pinterest has to offer. Instead, you should focus on creating pins that are likely to be repinned (saved) or clicked through.

Also, engaging with others on Pinterest is becoming slightly more important (er – it wasn’t important AT ALL a few years ago), as it is growing followers on Pinterest, but creating your own content is still the best way to grow on this platform.


Instagram is All About the Hashtags

On Instagram, hashtags are king. In order to reach your target audience, you need to be using relevant and popular hashtags.

Pinterest hashtags, on the other hand, are basically dead. In fact, most pins that perform well on Pinterest don’t use any hashtags at all.

There are two reasons for this: first, the Pinterest search engine is not set up like other social media platforms, and Pinterest hashtags are not even clickable.

Second, Pinterest itself announced that they are moving away from hashtags as hashtag search results were heavily connected with spammers.


Food for thought: Since Pinterest is trying to keep users on the platform more and more, and with the popularity of Idea pins – will hashtags become a thing once again? I have no *idea* (see what I did here? ), but I’m curious to see how things will develop!


The Content Lifespan is Much Longer on Pinterest

One of the great things about Pinterest is that your content can have a much longer lifespan than on social media platforms. This is precisely because people use Pinterest more like a search engine, and less like a newsfeed.

So if you create pins that are relevant and keyword rich, they will continue to be found and repinned/clicked long after you’ve posted them.

This is in contrast to Instagram, where your content will only be seen by people who follow you at the time that you post it. After that, it will quickly get buried in their feed as they scroll through and see newer posts.


Psst, that’s why Pinterest is awesome for e-commerce businesses or digital product creators! You want your products to be found anytime, right?


The Brand Awareness & Traffic Difference

You can generate a lot of brand awareness on Pinterest, due to the fact that people are searching for specific topics and that 97 percent of searches carried out on Pinterest are unbranded!

Instagram is great for building relationships and engagement with your target audience. However, it takes more time to build up a following than on Pinterest, even though paid campaigns (to speed up the process) can be beneficial on both platforms.

When it comes to traffic from Pinterest, it is more likely to be high quality, as people are already searching for specific topics (or at least ideas about specific topics). Instagram users are mostly just scrolling through their feed and are not ready to buy just yet.

NOTE: This doesn’t mean Pinterest is better than Instagram, of course! For example, if you’re a service provider or a blogger, you can get initial leads/new readers to your website via Pinterest, and then you can build a trust factor and let them get to know you on Instagram! ?


Pinterest vs Instagram Sales

Whether you’re selling boho necklaces, jeans, or furniture, Pinterest is the place to be for e-commerce businesses. And when it comes to selling products on Pinterest, people who click on your pins are further down the sales funnel and are more likely to make a purchase.

People who see your posts on Instagram are less likely to be ready to buy, as they’re not actively searching for products, but are rather just scrolling through their feed. But as I said before – this doesn’t mean that you can’t leverage this platform to build a community and increase sales with the help of brand awareness!


So, which platform should you focus on – Pinterest or Instagram?


As with most things in life, the answer is: it depends. ?

Even though there are some key differences between Pinterest and Instagram marketing, both platforms offer great benefits for businesses. As a Pinterest Manager, I’m a little biased because I’ve seen the results that businesses can get firsthand through my clients.

But to sum it up, Pinterest is great for businesses that want to focus on creating visually appealing content. And while you don’t need to be as active on Pinterest as you do on social media platforms, you do need to create new content regularly. On the other hand, Instagram is perfect for businesses that want to build a community and connect with their target audience (even though Pinterest now also enables this via idea pins!).

Of course, there is no reason why you can’t use both platforms to reach your target audience! ?


Do you have any questions about Pinterest vs Instagram marketing? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you are thinking about using Pinterest for business or not yet seeing the results you’d like, check out my services page for more information about how I can help you!

Share this with your biz besties!

Sandra Stanisa

Sandra Stanisa

Sandra is your travel-obsessed, coffee-loving Pinterest & Canva Expert (with a zillion other digital-marketing-related passions). She is a self-proclaimed Pinterest addict and a founder of Sandra S. Media, a boutique marketing agency that helps bloggers and creatives scale their businesses through strategic Pinterest marketing and design.

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