24 Jan 2023 Social media Strategy

Pinterest vs. Instagram: Which one is right for your business in 2023?

Young man in a bright café reading a book in the corner

A common question people often ask is whether their business should sign up for Pinterest or Instagram, and which one is right for them? Well, truth be told, it depends on many factors, which we will discuss in this blog post. You might even want to have both, depending on your objectives.

Instagram is mainly used to share your own photos and videos, whereas Pinterest is more about discovering and sharing others’ content as well as your own.

Pinterest vs. Instagram: What’s the difference?

Below are some factors to consider when choosing between Pinterest and Instagram for your business.

They’re both highly visual social media platforms. To gain followers on these platforms, you need to have beautiful, high-quality and/or meaningful images to draw your audience’s attention. 

Although both platforms are similar in this way, they do work completely differently. That’s why there are several reasons why a business would use each of those platforms.

1. Reason

The reason people follow an account on Instagram is different to why people follow an account on Pinterest. These reasons also affect how users interact with content on the site, which is essential if you want to be successful on either platform.

Pinterest is mainly used for discovering something, whether it’s a recipe or a DIY project for your living room. Followers look for feeds for inspiration, and for topics they’re interested in. Therefore, the users search for specific keywords to find that content and follow specific accounts that post that type of content. For example, if you’re a keen reader, you’ll search for the books that people are raving about on Pinterest, and so on.

On Instagram, what matters more is the image or video content itself. If you post a picture of what you made for dinner, it can get lots of attention without you having to even mention the exact steps of how you made it. That would never work on Pinterest because, as we just mentioned, Pinterest is about discovering something new and inspiring.

The audience on Instagram follow accounts whose feed they like and who they find intriguing. For example, people interested in cuisine would follow picturesque food accounts, while people interested in travelling would generally follow aesthetically-pleasing feeds from travel bloggers. They find these people to follow by looking through hashtags and keywords, and looking at what accounts their peers are sharing.

LikeMind Media's Instagram grid

2. Audience

Before deciding anything, it is important to know your audience and the platforms they prefer.

Instagram’s audience is highly diverse compared to Pinterest’s, and it is also a lot larger. On Instagram, there are 1.22 billion monthly users whereas 445 million people use Pinterest every month to find ideas and inspire their next purchase. However, in marketing, the quality of your audience is a lot more important than the quantity. 

Pinterest’s audience is mostly female as according to Pinterest’s self-service advertising tools, the female audience is 76.7% women. However, it’s interesting to note that male users have risen by 40% year on year. In comparison, Instagram’s audience has a more even split, with 47.8% female and 52.2% male. This is an important piece of data to consider in relation to whether your audience is made up of one gender more than others.

Picture of a woman working on her MacBook Pro looking at the Pinterest Audiences dashboard in a bright room

Research shows that 32% of people aged 18-29 years used Pinterest at the beginning of 2021, as did 34% of those aged 30-49 and 38% of those aged 50-64. The age of Instagram’s audience is similar, with the largest demographic group being aged 25-34 years old.

Therefore, it is essential to establish who your ideal audience is in order to select the most appropriate platform to market on. You might even want to use both platforms, there’s no rule saying you must select just one.

3. Links

If your goal is to generate traffic, Pinterest might be the better option. Pinterest prioritises link sharing and saving, allowing you to share a link to your website with ease.

Instagram does not allow link sharing in posts, unless you have a paid Instagram ad campaign. You can add a link in your Instagram bio, but not on specific posts.

If your business sells goods (for example clothing), you can implement the Shopping feature, which allows you to tag specific products in your feed and story posts that eventually lead the consumer to your website. You can also add the “shop” button to your business profile. Once you’ve done this, all posts you have tagged on Instagram will appear in this section.

Pinterest makes link-sharing a lot easier and it is received positively by the platform’s users. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest Pins allows you to link multiple e-commerce sites rather than just one product per post. This would be useful if you have multiple sites.

The start screen of how to add a pin to Pinterest

Pinterest also offers a visual search feature, which isn’t a direct shopping feature, but it does make the app more e-commerce friendly. This allows users to hold down on any home or style pin to scan the image, which will lead to product suggestions. 

You should stick to Pinterest for generating traffic to your website, if it suits your business of course. However, if you’re selling goods, Instagram’s shopping is a good option to post about your products by tagging them. 

4. Hashtags

Hashtags are an important part of Instagram. They allow you to reach new audiences with the vast number of hashtags out there.

Hashtags on Instagram are almost like little communities. You can use industry-specific hashtags, location-based hashtags or infiltrate a community-based hashtag. The options are endless. You can use them to connect with your target audience by creating your own hashtag for your business and/or event. This will allow your followers to discover what other people are posting about your brand.

However, it’s also worth noting that using keywords in your caption is much more important now as Instagram develops its social search capabilities. As the Instagram app has developed over the years it has changed its understanding of its user’s behaviour and now recognises that the app is used for more than just uploading photo and video content and in fact users are coming to Instagram to source inspiration in a similar way that Pinterest users do.

People also use hashtags on Pinterest, but they don’t do much for the post. Pinterest shows Pins on search results that have been suitably labelled. You can sort through categories, but using location/community-based hashtags isn’t really what’s done on this platform.

A Pinterest set of search results for coffee
Pinterest Search Results

5. Photo Editing

Instagram’s mobile app allows you to edit photos directly on the platform. It gives you the ability to apply a filter and adjust other elements of the picture, including brightness, contrast, sharpness, warmth, saturation, shadows, highlights and many more. This could make your photo editing process quicker and easier.

Pinterest does not have a photo editing capability in its mobile app or desktop website. This means that instead of editing photos on the platform, you will have to use another application or software before uploading your photos to Pinterest.

6. Video Content

Not too long ago, this could have been a big factor in deciding whether to choose Instagram or Pinterest for your business as Pinterest did not support organic video content on the platform. That has now changed.

Instagram and Pinterest are starting to become more alike, with Pinterest releasing improved video sharing features on the platform for creators and businesses. They have introduced a video tab, lifetime analytics and video Pin scheduling.

According to Pinterest:

“Searches for inspirational videos have increased 31% since 2021.

“Pinners are 54% more likely to say they’re inspired to action by videos on Pinterest compared to videos on other media platforms.”


Therefore, it comes down to the type of videos you’d like to produce. On Pinterest, people are looking for videos that give people some inspiration when it comes to recipes, DIY projects and more.

Pinterest search results featuring whipped coffee
Videos On Pinterest

On Instagram, you can post videos in multiple locations across the platform, including the feed, Stories and Reels. If you’d like to share quick snippets of your team, business and products, you can use stories and the feed. It all comes down to what your business is about.

Instagram Reels featuring a Pomeranian dog
Video on Instagram

7. Storytelling

Instagram is all about creating a personal experience with your audience. That is where storytelling comes to play. Instagram has various tools that make storytelling on the platform easy.

As mentioned, Instagram allows you to use images and videos in different parts of the platform. This allows you to create content related to your products and services, while still being able to tell a story without bombarding users with too many posts. You can use a mixture of Instagram Stories for storytelling and feed posts for Instagram Shopping.

On Pinterest, storytelling is not quite the same as Instagram. You can create strategic themed boards to connect with your target audience. This will create a more visual experience, equating to more engagement.

8. Algorithm

One of the main differences between Pinterest and Instagram is the algorithm.

On Pinterest, pins generally have a longer shelf life. This is one of the main advantages of Pinterest. Pins are said to last up to 4 months, making the content evergreen. In some cases, you can still receive traffic to posts that are several years old.

An Instagram post’s shelf life is a lot shorter. This is due to the “instant” aspect of the platform. It’s not common that a post still gets likes and comments months after it has been posted.

9. Advertising

Instagram advertising is in high demand due to the variety of targeting options they provide. Instagram’s parent company is Meta, and its advertising tools are brilliant for specific targeting at a reasonable cost compared to other platforms.

Instagram advertising allows you to connect to your specific audience wherever you are in the world, whether they are following you or not. On top of using lookalike audiences (similar people to your audience) when targeting, you can even choose everything from demographics such as age and gender, to interests and employment. This makes it easier for you to get your content in front of your audience, no matter where in the world. You can also change the call-to-action button on Instagram depending on what the action is that you want them to take (for example, ‘learn more’ or ‘buy now’). 

Instagram advertising also allows you to advertise various types of content, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads and story ads. This allows you to test which type of content works best for your target audience.

Pinterest advertising is a bit different. Their advertising allows you to get ‘ad products’ in front of your audience. Pinterest advertising includes promoted pins (single image), promoted video pins (single video), promoted carousels (multiple images) and promoted app pins (to find apps).

Screenshot of Pinterest's promoted pin showing an Accordian Crossbody bag with the Pinterest Promote button
Pinterest Promoted Pins
Screenshot showing a paid advertising Pinterest app pin for JackThreads
Pinterest App Pins

According to Pinterest, “83% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on the Pins that they saw from brands on Pinterest”.

In terms of targeting users, Pinterest audience targeting options include: Audience targeting – target Pinterest users based on demographic data. Interest targeting – target Pinterest users based on their Pin and content engagement. Keyword targeting – target Pinterest users based on search terms and keywords. This gives you a variety of ways to ensure that your content reaches the desired audience.

Final Thoughts

Both platforms prioritise images and video and have lots of marketing potential for businesses to engage with their audience. Understanding the differences will allow you to create different content for each of the platforms, or choose the platform that suits your audience the most.

The first step is to focus on your ideal customer and look if the factors mentioned in this post match their needs and wants. If you’re having a hard time choosing, it might be because both platforms would be suitable for you. In that case, if you have the time and resources to create good, quality content for both platforms, that is what you should do. If you feel like you wouldn’t be able to create high-quality content for both, you need to make a choice between the two.

However, if your goal is to generate more traffic to your website, Pinterest is the recommended option. If your goal is to raise awareness and build a reputable brand image online, Instagram could be the best option for you.

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