Instagram v Pinterest: How to choose which is right for you

Battle of the titans: Instagram v Pinterest

When it comes to choosing which social media platform is right for you, there is no simple answer.

In this post we take a look at Instagram v Pinterest. Both platforms are focused heavily on visual content, but each serves a different purpose and audience. Therefore, choosing to leverage either one, or even both of them, ultimately depends on your social media marketing goals.

Instagram v Pinterest: Instagram 101

Instagram is a pretty simple yet powerful social media app that lets you upload/share photos/videos through a smartphone. Any visual that you upload can be seen on your Instagram profile. Plus, people who are following you can see each of your posts in their newsfeed (just like Facebook). The focus on this network is on sharing content via mobile while you interact with other users by following them, commenting on their visuals, liking them, etc. The best part about Instagram is it can be used by any social media savvy brand by sharing creative, fun visuals.

When you've decided Instagram v Pinterest, you might find our article on how to make Instagram work for your business handy.

Instagram v Pinterest: Pinterest 101

On the other hand, Pinterest is essentially your visual bookmarking tool, your whiteboard or your brainstorming collection. What makes Pinterest stand out is the way you can group and arrange your content and the ease at which you can save something and come back to it later. It is user friendly on both the web and your mobile.

Many people use it for future event planning for or collecting ideas for decorating or recipe ideas for their latest health kick. The activity of saving visuals on Pinterest is called “pinning”. Users usually “pin” things they find across the Internet to relevant “boards”, which are a themed collection of pins. Clicking on a pin takes the user to the original page it was found. Like other social media platforms, Pinterest connects people through commenting, liking and re-pinning existing content shared by each other. Which means you can effectively use Pinterest for business growth by sharing and promoting your visual content on it.

Instagram v Pinterest: Deciding which one

Here are some of the things to think about when deciding which platform, Instagram v Pinterest, is more suitable for your needs.

1. Site use

It is important to consider how Instagram v Pinterest users interact with these social media platforms.

Instagram basically lets its users capture pictures/videos from their mobile device, enhance them with the help of filters, add relevant and meaningful captions and share them with others. Instagram is where people not only follow other people, but also brands that post visuals that their audience can connect with. Brands using Instagram, need to understand that its users are a different breed. They don’t want to see the corporate, faceless version of your company. They want more personal and up-close interactions with each brand they follow. Which means Instagram is a place where you need to be transparent with your followers. You need to give them an authentic view of how you operate, and what your brand stands for.

Pinterest is based on a very different model. It lets users discover interesting content, pin and re-pin that content in a way that is meaningful to them. In a way, Pinterest is kind of like a search engine for a large number of users. It's users go looking for ideas, they save them, they come back to them later. This is important...You need your content to be memorable enough for them to come back to.

All this means is you need to know there is a difference between sharing and discovering. Instagram as a platform is focused on helping users enhance and share the best visual content. And Pinterest lets its users discover new and interesting content.

2. Audience

When it comes to audience, let’s first look at who is using Instagram and how the data compares to Pinterest.


  • has more than 1 billion monthly and 500 million daily active users

  • users upload and share 95 million visuals per day

  • it creates 3.5 billion likes every single day

  • has almost an equal number of men and women users, with more than 60% of them falling into the younger age bracket.


  • one the fastest growing social media platforms today

  • more than 250 million monthly active users

  • over 175 billion Pinterest pins have been shared to date and 3 billion boards created

  • the majority of the Pinterest users (over 70%) happen to be women.

3. Desktop vs mobile

Even though this may seem like a trivial difference, it can make a big difference in the kind of results you see.

Instagram that works great as a mobile app, but you can only upload and share new content via mobile, whether it is regular posts or Instagram Stories. You can view visuals and comment on posts via the desktop version, but you can't post or add content. So if you want to take advantage of Instagram for marketing and brand building, your focus should be mobile. You also need to think about this from your own point of view. How are you going to create, schedule and post your content if you have to do it form your mobile. Do you have an app or software that allows you to do this from your desktop?

Pinterest started as a desktop app, but over the years its mobile app has taken over. the Pinterest’s infinite scrolling newsfeed is best suited for mobile however a lot of Pinterest’s traffic comes from desktop users. This means that you need to optimise your social media activity for both mobile and desktop users.

4. The hashtag

Every Instagram user knows the importance of hashtags on Instagram. They are a key function and help to discover others and to help others find them.

From a business point of view, using hashtags makes it easy for you to create a stronger connection with your target audience by letting them find your content at the right time. For example, if you are a Perth based photographer, you can reach out to your target audience with hashtags such as #perthphotographer or #perthphotography. When they go looking for a local photographer they are going to use these as search terms and hello, there you are! (Along with others that have used them that is).

Pinterest uses hashtags too but they aren’t as useful as they are on Instagram. One of the reasons hashtags are used is to help users find relevant content, like a filing system. However, if you look at how Pinterest works, the pins are already well-labelled. And then there are categories that neatly organise these pins. Which means hashtags don’t play a role when people search for content, but they are based on the same principle.

5. Link sharing

Instagram's biggest drawback is the fact that you cannot share live links in your posts. This means you are unable to drive traffic to your site from your Instagram content.

There are a couple of places you can place your link...Instagram Ads where you are allowed to include a link or in your profile or bio. This means its hard to accurately measure the performance of your Instagram content in terms of traffic.

Pinterest is the opposite really. One of the biggest advantages of posting visuals to Pinterest is that every pin is directly linked to a website. It not only allows you, as a business, to boost website traffic but also helps you measure the effectiveness of your content. For instance, let’s say there’s a pin showing a simple DIY tutorial on how to complete a profit and loss. Clicking on this pin may lead you to a DIY blog post or a video detailing how to do it. Or it can take you a site that has many more similar tutorials on it.

So if you want to grow more awareness about your business and build customer engagement, use Instagram. If you want to funnel in visitors back to your site by distributing content, then Pinterest is the place to focus.

Instagram v Pinterest: In summary

So how do you decide? Well you take into account each of the points above and put these together with your:

  • target audience

  • marketing strategy

  • goals

  • available time and resources.

The idea is to focus on your ideal prospect or customer, and then take it from there. If you are having a hard time choosing the best one for growing your business, then you may want to try using both of them and seeing what kind of results you get.

But do this only if you can create quality content for both the platforms because that’s something you do not want to compromise on.

In short, Pinterest is the your go if you trying to generate high converting traffic to your website. But if your focus is on building a stronger brand, then Instagram is the one.

If you want to be on both platforms but don’t have the time, or need some help creating valuable content then let us help!

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