Virtually every social network faces competition at some point in time. For Facebook, it was last summer when Google+ was launched (though that didn’t end up being much of a battle). As soon as Groupon and Living Social gained popularity, dozens of online couponing websites sprung up. Now, Muve Music is hoping to surpass Spotify as the largest digital music subscription service in the U.S. And the list goes on. Thus, it was only a matter of time before Pinterest competitors started cropping up. LoveIt is the latest Pinterest look-alike, and was even featured in a recent Mashable article titled, “Should You Break Up With Pinterest for LoveIt?” The article essentially answered yes, pointing out various features that aren’t available on Pinterest (such as the ability to create “private collections” and a tool that automatically credits the original content source). LoveIt launched a new feature just yesterday that allows users to import their entire Pinterest boards, making it extremely easy for users to switch over to the competing service.
Another website that strongly resembles Pinterest is Fancy. The main difference between the two is that Fancy allows users to purchase items directly on the site, and it also takes a 10% cut from sales. This provides the site with a steady revenue stream, something Pinterest lacks and has drawn criticism for. Though Fancy is far smaller than Pinterest, Business Insider recently reported that Apple is interested in buying the social commerce site, which could lead to expansion.10 million users faster than any other standalone site in history and has a devoted legion of followers. For example, a Facebook page titled “Pinterest Addicts” has more than 10,000 likes, and plenty of articles have been written about the Pinterest addiction (check out BuzzFeed’s “32 Signs You’re Addicted to Pinterest” or this article from the Washington Post, which calls Pinterest “digital crack for women”). Pinterest should consider adjusting its own site based on what’s working for similar sites like LoveIt and Fancy. If LoveIt’s private collections are encouraging users to spend more time on the site, Pinterest should launch a similar feature. Fancy has discovered a profitable way to run their site; Pinterest needs a surefire way to generate revenue. The best thing about competitors is that you can learn from them. We’ll try out LoveIt and Fancy, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Pinterest will learn a thing or two from them.
BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard recently spoke to CBS News about email marketing, which inspired us to consider the past, present, and future of email as a marketing tool. Is social media marketing poised to overtake email marketing? Or is email marketing here to stay? A look at the numbers indicates that email marketing is a growing industry that isn’t going to die out anytime soon. At present, email marketing is a $1.5 billion dollar a year industry that is expected to reach $2.5 billion in the United States by 2016. Among adult Internet users, 92% use email, and roughly six in ten adults use email everyday. Coupled together, email marketing has become one of the most popular ways for brands to communicate with customers. On the other hand, email marketing isn’t always used effectively. Retailers are sending 20% more email than they did a year ago, which often results in clogged inboxes, unread emails, and a failure to actually communicate with target audiences, leading to customer frustration. Take Paul Jones for example, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who gave up email on June 1, 2011 and hasn’t looked back. “Email marketing was a great idea in the 20th century. But unless marketing is opt-in--with a way to easily opt-out once the client is tired of the relationship--email marketing results mostly in annoyance, anger, and brand fatigue,” he says. Though you can’t reach him via email, it’s still easy enough to get in touch with Jones--just visit him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, or virtually any other social media site. And Jones isn’t the only one who prefers social media over email. A recent Pew Internet study found that 76% of teens are on social media sites, but only 6% use email daily--and 39% say they never use email. With email use becoming less and less common amongst younger generations, will email marketing cease to exist? “Will email die? That would be too much for me to hope for. Not so much die as morph into a better messaging platform or platforms that are mobile, faster, concise, and personal,” says Jones. Email marketing isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon, but social media marketing will certainly be used increasingly often as a complement to traditional forms of marketing. And eventually, email may evolve into a different kind of marketing tool altogether.