Pinterest Web Analytics not useful for Asian biz

Online scrapbook's analytics tool may be good at identifying what interests target audience, but it is rough around the edges and its small Asian user base diminishes its appeal to regional companies.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
Pinterest Web Analytics may be good at identifying what interests target audience, but it is rough around the edges and small Asian user base diminishes its appeal.

Pinterest's analytics tool may be a useful content curator for companies but it is not likely to be of much use to Asia-based companies looking to gain more insight on its custom ers, considering many Pinterest subscribers originate from the United States.

Announced Tuesday, Pinterest Web Analytics allows participants to track their new "pins" and see how the online community interacts with the material promoted on their boards. The information includes how many people visited one's board, what was clicked most and what information has been "re-pinned".

Freda Kwok, lead consultant at social media agency BluGrapes, said the popularity of the social media site is growing in Asia, but the majority of Pinterest users are still mostly based in the United States.

The analytics tool it introduced will help companies curate their content and help them identify similar interests with their target audiences, and this can help brands determine the approach they should adopt when engaging consumers, Kwok noted.

Singapore-based online shop Muffin Cupcakes also told ZDNet Asia it found Pinterest Web Analytics "refreshing". Jessica Chua, owner of Muffin Cupcakes, said: "As we manufacture our own designs, we can benefit by posting our designs on a Pinterest board and see how people react to them through pins and repins."

Lack of users, poor insights
That said, Leonard Tan, CEO and founder of digital marketing firm PurpleClick Media, pointed out that because Asia's adoption of the social network service has not matched that of the U.S., it could be "tricky" to understand user behavior with a small demographic base.

He added it takes more than a tracking capability to make an analytics tool work for and benefit businesses. While understanding pins, re-pins, clicks and seeing how the community reacts to a company's material may be "interesting", businesses will still grapple with the issue of accurate consumer targeting, Tan explained.

Kwok added that Pinterest is lacking in demographics-related information, which is another hindrance in determining how users are interacting with the brand.

These reasons are why Jessica Zhang, owner of online store Habitat Fun is "not interested" in Pinterest Web Analytics currently. "The bulk of our consumers are from Southeast Asia, where Pinterest has not gained traction yet," Zhang said.

Other analytics tools more effective
By comparison, Kwok and Tan said Google Analytics is the most accurate in terms of determining the successfulness of online traffic drivers.

Google Analytics allows unbiased views of more than 2.2 billion Internet users globally who could potentially land on a client's Web site, Tan explained.

Zhang, however, felt Facebook Insights worked best for her company.

"We can see the demographics of our consumers, their opinions and interests, and this is important to use as we pride customer service and understanding our consumers," she said.

Kwok concurred on the Facebook tool's usefulness, saying granular information such as a user's marital status, education and interests help companies identify and better understand their consumers, she said.

For Tan, though, it is too early to predict whether Pinterest Web Analytics is going to be the "next big thing" or die out and suffer the fate of other passing fads. It prefers to adopt a "wait and see" approach to determine if the tool will prove useful for its clients, he said.

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