Pinterest vs. Instagram

Untitled design

Pinterest or Instagram? That’s what marketers everywhere have been asking themselves lately when trying to figure out what platform would work best for them and their clients. While we (at Harness Digital Marketing) have been asking ourselves the same question, I finally figured it out. The long, drawn-out debate about which one is the better option for your business comes down to two words: service and product.

When it comes to examining your business, you do one of two things. You either sell a product, or conduct a service. And while there may be some of you out there whose business is the odd one out and does both, this still applies to you. While I think that both Pinterest and Instagram are a must for businesses of all kinds, I do think that one platform is better than the other when it comes to what they each help promote.

Pinterest has been around for a while, but only in recent years have businesses began to use it to their advantage. Although businesses of all kinds have benefited from using Pinterest, businesses that perform a service have statistically done better than those that are trying to sell a product. One woman who uses Pinterest confirmed my point by stating, “Most of the time when I see something I want to buy on Pinterest, I’ll pin it with all intentions of going back to look at it later, but I never do.” This is a common trend for many Pinterest users. Those businesses that are trying to “sell” their service have better luck because while they may not have an actual product that they sell to pin, they can use popular categories on Pinterest that relate back to their product to drive traffic to their Pinterest page and eventually their website. For example, Harness Digital Marketing doesn’t sell a product, we sell a service. We have boards that cover things such as: social media, marketing, the military, coffee, video, graphic design, and more. While we don’t necessarily conduct all of those services, or sell coffee, all of our boards represent our business. So, not only are we showing what we’re all about to the Pinterest world, but we’re using topics that relate back to our business, and they’re popular and easy to find.

Instagram is a whole other story. While Pinterest does give you the ability to “save” what you want so you can go back later, Instagram doesn’t have that option. That’s why Instagram is more successful for businesses that are trying to sell a product versus selling a service. The inability to save something to come back to later makes the buying process seem much more urgent, and users will hurry and either purchase the item, or find the company responsible for selling the product so they can buy it in person. For those of you who have daughters in high school or college, or even if you’re just familiar with the terms ‘Prom’ and ‘Homecoming,’ I’m sure you’ve heard teenage daughter obsess over $500-$1000 dollar dresses that they find online. But, did you know that those dresses that they’re finding and obsessing over mainly come from Instagram? But, it doesn’t stop there. Car dealers, clothing stores, restaurants, and more are using Instagram as a way to reach potential buyers. By 2017, 70.7% of companies will be using Instagram to sell their products, so what is your business waiting for?

However, there is one exception for this ‘Product vs. Service’ rule. If you’re looking solely to boost the traffic that your business receives on its website, then Pinterest is hands down the platform for you. While Instagram is great for selling products, it does not give an option to add links on anything other than the website space provided in your profile description.

Now that you know all about whether or not your business should be using Pinterest or Instagram, it’s time to get to work. Your business isn’t going to sell itself. So get to pinning, or posting and #TurnTheLightBulbOn for your business today!


By: Harley Crawshaw | @harley_crawshaw | 314-884-1192

About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.


  1. […] of my team members, Harley Crawshaw, recently did an article about this question. It really comes down to your audience and goals. Are […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: