Driving Auto Awareness on Pinterest

With its reach and influence, Pinterest has become a valuable platform to engage the car consumer.

Pinterest’s Power:

Pinterest started as an online bookmarking tool, where users could discover and save links related to their interests. Now, having procured 150 million monthly active users, and over 50 billion pins, it has evolved from a hobbyist’s domain into a community where consumers generate ideas, compare options, and hunt for product information. While the site skews heavily female, it also has a growing male base, who make up 40% of their new sign ups.

Pinterest has an undeniable influence over purchase intent. Research shows that 87% of Pinners have bought a product because they saw it on Pinterest, and 72% of Pinners use the site to help them make purchase decisions[1], making it an influential platform for brands to engage their target audience.

Pinning Down the Car Consumer:

An increasing number of car buyers are turning to their digital devices to conduct months of online research before ever stepping foot on a lot. With only two dealership visits for the average car shopper[2], it has become critical for car manufacturers to own online micro-moments to influence consumer behaviour.

What might seem surprising is that Pinterest is an ideal destination for car brands to interact and influence consumer purchase intent. Pinterest’s users are a natural audience for auto related communications. One in four Pinners say they are passionate about cars, and Pinterest reaches 35% of people who are likely to buy a car in the next 6 months. There also seems to be a growing demand for car-related content on Pinterest, with a 77% year over year increase in auto pins[3].

Connecting with consumers on Pinterest during their initial stages of auto research can be especially effective. In these early days, consumers try to ascertain which cars are best in class, and which cars are best for them. The focus tends to be on expert opinion, and whether the appearance and features of a vehicle will personally suit. At this juncture, Pinners develop their visual boards and start building their consideration set, comparing various car makes and models. Pinterest users have already saved an incredible 202 million auto-related pins to over 30 million boards in the last year alone.

Mobile Pinning:

Increasingly, car consumers are using their smartphones for convenient, on-the go research. Pinterest is particularly popular with the mobile car buyer, reaching 17 million shoppers every month who are in the market for a new vehicle. That number is predominantly made up of women, who, despite gender stereotypes, play a leading role in 85% of car purchases[4]. Pinterest also reaches more men than notable auto shopping sites like CarGurus, MotorTrend, and Edmunds.

Pinterest’s car enthusiasts utilize their smartphones throughout their entire decision-making process, making it imperative for brands to ensure any promotions on Pinterest are mobile ready. While presence on Pinterest can create meaningful connections with consumers during their first weeks of research, visibility and accessibility can be important in the end as well. 17% of Pinners are on their phones, looking up Pins while shopping at a car dealership.

Auto Advertising on Pinterest

The Automotive industry is forecasted to have one of the largest growths in digital advertising expenditure over the next three years[5], making it a progressively competitive market. Car advertisers have taken note of Pinterest’s reach and unique communications platform, with more than 25 car brands already active on the site. Pinterest may prove to be an effective media partner as it has strengthened its commitment to the U.S. domestic auto sector with the opening of an auto-focused office in Detroit, Michigan. Its existing offices will continue to support import auto brands operating in the U.S.

Pinterest offers a range of ad formats, including one tap pins and promoted video pins. Car brands would do well to incorporate video content into any Pinterest plans, with nearly 70% of Pinners saying that video inspires them to follow a call to action[6]. Pinterest is a great fit for car brands featuring product tutorials, one of the most popular forms of digital video. Virtual test drives, and video footage of a car’s interior would be a compelling form of advertising through Pinterest’s auto-play function, where promoted video automatically starts to play as the user scrolls down their Pinterest feed.

What content would you feature on Pinterest? Let us know @stjoseph.


1. Omnicore Agency
2. Think With Google
3. Pinterest
4. CDK Global
5. Emarketer
6. Forbes