As a young company, it's in our DNA at The Grommet to try new things. This was the case in 2011 when we created our brand account on Pinterest well ahead of the curve. Although most online businesses have since flocked to the image-rich platform, we’ve been given a lot of press and attention for the role Pinterest plays in our larger marketing efforts. Of course we’re pinning, building community, and hosting contests like many other businesses--but mere amplification is just scratching the surface with Pinterest, as a professional tool. We’re also learning--a lot.

If you look just beyond the obvious metrics (like pins and repins) you’ll tap into data that will help inform your larger marketing initiatives.

Here are three Pinterest data points you likely don’t even know you need to study (but will be glad you did):

1. Review the language pinners use to describe your products

We invest a lot of time into merchandising our site so when we notice pinners describing our products on their own boards, our antennae go up. Studying the language pinners use when talking about your products can be eye opening.

For example, we have a large breadth of problem-solving products on our site, and we market them as such. When we began to see a 2012 trend of people pinning these problem-solvers to very gift-themed boards (think 'gifts for mom' and 'great gifts') we knew we were missing out on an opportunity. We began to re-think how we talk about our own products based on these learnings, which led to a creation of an online holiday catalog titled "Practical, Yet Magical Gifts."

What can you learn by paying close attention to the language pinners are speaking? 

2. Use the images that are trending as a marketing opportunity

If your business is anything like ours, you publish a lot of images. After all, pictures are processed 60,000 times more rapidly than words. Sometimes it might feel like your community has long forgotten past photos -- and maybe you have too. Keeping an eye on your trending Pinterest images can help you spot a resurgence in interest in particular images (which you can take advantage of in other marketing initiatives).

Trending images are those that have seen the largest increase in engagement over the date range you're looking at. These are also often very relevant images at the moment. They may be trending as new ideas, product launches, or seasonal images. For example, one of our top 5 trending images in April was Ecolunchbox, a product we launched last summer. These resurging images are smart to use for timely email marketing campaigns, cross promotion on different channels, and blog posts. Using a tool that can help you identify these trending images can make this process painless--we partner with Curalate.

3. Collect pin-to-sales data

It's more than likely you are seeing a fair amount of referral traffic coming from Pinterest. But are you looking at what images are driving visits? What about sales? We pay close attention to which pins people are clicking on the most, and which lead to the most sales. Why? Having this data on hand influences our other marketing efforts like deciding which images to use in an email campaign. Similarly, we A/B tested banner ads using a proven high-performer image vs. a top clicked image from Pinterest. The banner ad with the top performing Pinterest image garnered 50% more clicks.

Understanding how people are interacting with (and are converting from) our images on Pinterest removes a layer of guesswork in other marketing initiatives. Any modern digital marketer will recognize the challenge of the selecting compelling images for expensive marketing investments. Reducing some of that mystery is just smart business.

If you're just developing a Pinterest strategy or simply trying to get more out of your Pinterest data, look beyond the obvious metrics. That's what we've done here at The Grommet. Studying new data, learning from it, and implementing changes into larger marketing initiatives will help you leapfrog your competition while serving up extremely relevant marketing to your customers--a "pin" win-win.