The Pornification of Pinterest

Within the past few years, a new type of porn addiction has started to infiltrate mainstream culture.

But wait, it’s not what you’re thinking, not THAT kind of porn… it is an addiction to Pinterest Porn.

From “Food Porn” to “Shoe Porn” to “Puppy Porn”, the social media sensation has managed to tap into a new form of gluttonous pleasure by capturing us through displaying the most visually satisfying forms of all of our favorite things. Pinterest allows us to escape reality, even just for a few minutes to look at our most guilty pleasures. Cheesecake stuffed Strawberries? Cake batter truffles? How about a litter of golden retriever puppies? Pinterest has it all.

Though Pinterest succeeds in reaching the consumer with a collection of visual “pornographic” pleasures from all over the web, the debate is out as to whether it can become a sustainable marketing tool for businesses the way Twitter and Facebook has. Recent comScore reports indicate that the site is on the rise, averaging over 1.7 billion monthly page views a month, but are these correlating into sales?

Zappos recently tested Pinterest analytics to see for themselves. They found that Pinterest leads to the most actual sales, as users were “13 times more likely to share a purchase on Pinterest than on Twitter.” However, “Facebook posts garnered $2.09 per order while Pinterest sales were only 75 cents on average.”

Pinterest has an opportunity to become a hugely beneficial communication channel, businesses just need to determine how to tap into that “pornographic” nostalgia sought after by users while humanizing the business in the same way they do via Twitter. Food, Clothing, and Travel related businesses have a leading edge in this area because Pinterest provides them with the perfect platform to emphasize the indulgent elements of their product. Cream Cheese is a perfect example, as cheesecake stuffed strawberries are one of the most highly repinned recipes on the site right now. Companies like Philadelphia Cream Cheese can potentially use this to their advantage by pinning similar recipes calling for the ingredient. If they are indulgent enough, they will catch on.

The users are there, marketers just need to find a way to effectively connect with them. It will be interesting to see how the Pinterest debate unfolds with marketers over the months to come. In the meantime I think its time for me to get back to my “porn.”

About Laura Mason 1 Article
Laura Mason is a student in the Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. She can be reached at

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