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Can Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest help marketers reach millennials?

Lauren Brousell | June 26, 2015
Instagram and Pinterest are big with the millennials advertisers want to reach. Large brands such as McDonald's are already experimenting with the social networks, but it may be too soon to tell if the new features deliver customers or are just the latest gimmick.

"There's a clear link between what people are pinning and their eventual buying habits," Wurmser says. "Anything that would simplify that process is something retailers would have an interest in pursuing."

However, Pinterest's Buy It button won't be an immediate slam dunk because images on the site are sourced from all kinds of websites, such as blogs and Tumblr pages, and not retail sites. As a result, inventory and supply chain systems have to be matched up to Pinterest data; nobody wants to click an item on Pinterest only to find that it's sold out or the page is no longer active. "That's a huge problem for Pinterest and I don't think [the Buy It button] is going to solve that issue," Mulpuru-Kodali says.

Pinterest is currently rolling out its "Buyable Pins" to select large retailers, including Nordstrom and Macy's, and other interested organizations would be wise to whip their inventory and supply-chain systems into shape sooner than later.

Is it time to buy into Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest ad options?

It's too early to tell if Snapchat, Instagram or Pinterest will evolve into valuable advertising mediums. However, it's not too soon to begin testing the options, especially if reaching millennials is a key goal.

Some companies are also experimenting with social ad campaigns without making major investments. For example, organizations can tap their millennial-age marketing employees who are familiar with the apps to work on and measure campaigns. Or they can launch timely campaigns, such GE's recent sponsored Snapchat geofilter for the summer solstice, and then try to gauge the ad impact over a short period of time.


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