Consumer Psychology

The 5 Motivations Behind Pinterest Use [Study]

A new Central Michigan University study to appear in the April 2014 edition of the journal ‘Computers in Human Behavior‘ has identified the five key motivations driving the use of popular pinboarding site Pinterest.  The study, ‘ “PIN” pointing the motivational dimensions behind Pinterest‘, used factor analysis from a quantitative user survey to identify five dimensions underpinning self-reported reasons for using Pinterest

  1. Fashion shopping
  2. Exploring themes
  3. Organising ideas
  4. Managing Creative Projects
  5. Entertaining oneself

Whilst these motivations are hardly surprising, they are interesting insofar as they depart from the four established motivations behind media use – Information (learning about world) Personal Identity (learning about oneself), Social Interaction/Integration (Connecting with Others/the World) and Entertainment (diversion, pleasure, enjoyment). Specifically, the study highlights the creative and active use of Pinterest as a tool – as opposed to passive consumption.

So what for digital marketing? If you use Pinterest for marketing, try building your campaigns around one or more of these core motivational dimensions behind Pinterest use.

Ian R. Mull,Seung-Eun Lee (2014) “PIN” pointing the motivational dimensions behind Pinterest, Computers in Human Behavior (April) Elsevier

Abstract “PIN” pointing the motivational dimensions behind Pinterest

This study examined the user gratifications obtained from Pinterest, an image-sharing social networking site, by applying the traditional mixed-method approach of the uses and gratifications framework (U&G). In the first phase of the study, using a qualitative questionnaire, a preliminary list of descriptive terms was collected from 27 college students who use Pinterest. From the list, an item analysis extracted 54 descriptive terms, which served as the basis for the item generation in the second phase of the study. In the second phase, using a quantitative online survey method, data was analyzed from 243 college students who use Pinterest. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed five dimensions of uses and gratifications obtained from the image-sharing SNS: ‘fashion’, ‘creative projects’, ‘entertainment’, ‘virtual exploration’, and ‘organization’. Furthermore, the results propose new measures for the uses and gratifications of Pinterest.

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Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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