Putting Pinterest in Perspective

If the choice falls between shoring up established social properties or jumping on board the fastest growing platform, the decision for higher education may be an easy one.

Don’t waste time on Pinterest when Facebook fans are already at the party.

Earlier last month Michael Stoner wrote a piece on why Pinterest is “the last thing most the majority of schools, colleges, and universities should focus on right now.” His message was simple: Focus on the things that matter.

I’ve read several posts in past months about Pinterest’s power to generate referral traffic and others on how it might specifically be applied to higher education. But let’s take a look at the numbers…

Zinch and Inigral earlier this year surveyed more than 7,000 college bound high-school students to learn how social media plays a role in their college search process. The research found that, while nearly 60 percent of students used Facebook when researching institutions, only about 5 percent said they used Pinterest.

And even at institutions where Pinterest boards are on the rise, the raw numbers still fall short of the potential Facebook offers. The following table represents colleges and universities with the largest number of Pinterest followers and how those numbers compare to those they have on Facebook:




% of FB

Drake University 3,098 8,925 34.7%
SCAD 1,419 12,380 11.5%
Ole Miss 2,106 23,242 9.1%
Marquette University 1,310 23,159 5.7%
Miami University (Ohio) 1,274 22,567 5.6%
Syracuse University 1,137 101,191 1.1%
Texas A&M University 3,553 360,352 1%
University of Oregon 2,445 478,515 0.5%
University of Oklahoma 867 264,899 0.3%
LSU 1,807 746,141 0.2%

I’m not saying Pinterest won’t work in higher education, just that in a world of limited resources it might be worth examining the numbers before jumping in feet first.

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2 Responses to “Putting Pinterest in Perspective”

  1. While I agree in principle, let me be the fly in the ointment. When we’re crunching pure numbers from both places, I believe it is deceptive anymore to just use raw numbers from Facebook. What has to be taken into account is the fact that Facebook is not allowing brands to reach their total fan numbers for free anymore. And since we don’t have real conclusive data yet on what percentage we can actually reach for free (I’ve heard a lot of conflicting numbers in the last month), I think we need to be careful when we make assumptions about who sees our posts on Facebook just based on numbers. If you use promoted posts and Facebook ads, I think the numbers are still on your side. If you do not, know that Facebook isn’t letting you reach your total fan base anymore. I am a proponent of exploring other venues–but only if there is a strategy in doing so. I’m not sayin’ one way or the other on Pinterest, but Facebook is no longer all it’s cracked up to be. In this case, numbers don’t tell the whole story.

    November 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
  2. Lawrence Kary #

    i really love to use pinterest because the pictures are nicely organized…

    Up to date write-up on our web portal

    January 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

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