Piqora raises $7.7 million to shape the future of Visual Web

By , On April 23rd, 2014. In Piqora Features.

From a kitchen table office in 2012 and a couple of analytics tabs to 100s of happy customers, billions of images, and a complete visual marketing suite for Pinterest, Instagram & Tumblr, Piqora has come a long way. Our conviction in the emotional power of Visual Web and the opportunity that represents for brands just won some more allies. Investors in Tesla and Box have decided to back Piqora in helping us bring brands and consumers together visually, emotionally and authentically. DFJ Ventures along with Altos, Freestyle, Baseline, Lazerow and Firebolt Ventures has led our $7.7 million series A round. We chose to partner with DFJ given our shared conviction in image driven marketing and a strong chemistry with firm’s partners. To date we have raised more than $11 million in venture capital.

Piqorans at work

The past 12 months have been very exciting. We expanded our Pinterest Marketing Suite to include Instagram and Tumblr, doubled our team to 25, added 100s of customers, made some mistakes and learned along the way. We are a better and larger company as a result. And more committed than ever to serve our customers, educate the market, and expand our product to help brands emotionally connect with today’s visual consumers.

Our customers are our biggest asset. Nothing matters more than them. Our customer success team is an internal champion of our customers, an advocate of their needs, a pervasive voice in every discussion. And the new capital will help us make the lives of customers even easier. Product innovation, expansion to more visual networks, educational content and dedicated customer engagement is our road ahead.

We take pride in the friendly and passionate culture we have created here. Some of it is active engineering but most of it reflects the people we have hired. Piqorans come from top tier companies – Google, Yahoo, Wildfire to name a few. We are a passionate bunch, inspired to achieve and generate results. As we say here “Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History – 2 out of 3 is not an option”. And finally we want to thank the social networks and our data partners without whom we wouldn’t have come this far.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to partnering and working with you.

–Sharad Verma (CEO/Co-founder, Piqora)

Announcing: Instagram Conversation Manager

By , On April 23rd, 2014. In Instagram Marketing.

Instagram Marketing
Instagram is a visual, emotional social network that consumers love. The problem with Instagram, from a social media manager’s perspective, is that monitoring comments and @mentions means hopping around from one photo to next. For brands with multiple profiles it means logging in and out of the app on your phone. But not any more.

A Tweetdeck for Instagram

Piqora has just launched Instagram Conversation Manager, to enable marketers to easily monitor and respond to user comments and brand @mentions. Just like Tweetdeck, Instagram Conversation Manager aggregates all the comments and @mentions in multiple columns that auto-update allowing social marketers to monitor and participate in conversations from their desktop, which hopefully has a full-size keyboard if not a nice big monitor and comfy chair.

What Instagram Conversation Manager Does

Instagram is a photo sharing network and Piqora’s image-based-conversation interface makes it easy to reply (and track responses to those replies). Before today there was no way for social marketers to keep track of which comments they have responded to and track post-response conversation threads or see historical comments beyond 50 on Instagram. Instagram Conversation Manager shows you all the comments including historical comments from your profile.

Here’s the specifics on what Instagram Conversation Manager enables you to do:

1. See all comments and @mentions from multiple profiles
2. Add or delete profiles for monitoring
3. Respond to comments or @mentions
4. A separate feed for conversations already participated in
5. All responses are posted to Instagram in real-time
6. All historical comments and @mentions are pre-populated, so you can start responding right away.
Community Management Instagram
Instagram is just going to keep growing, and for brands managing communities of 10,000 people or more, it’s just not sustainable to do that from a mobile device with limited options. Instagram Conversation Manager is the tool was built for social media teams to get to 1,000,000 followers.

From “Support” to “Success,” Why We’re Going All-in on Customer Success

By , On April 17th, 2014. In Piqora Features.

Piqora Customer Success

Photo by Pinterest user Calista Susa

When we see things that can be improved here at Piqora we take swift action to improve it. The brands we serve and the social networks we support move fast, so we do too.

One of the most obvious and impactful recent changes is increasing our Customer Success team by 500% over the last three months. As a result, we’re fundamentally changing the way we work with brands and agencies that are Piqora customers.

What This Means for Piqora Customers

Our CEO, Sharad Verma, said recently that, “The Customer Success team’s mission is to obsess about overall customer success, help customers along their journey, and ensure that our customers get real value from our solution.”

Our Customer Success Managers (CSMs) were chosen with a great deal of scrutiny with the clear goal in mind to create the best Customer Success team in the space. Anything less wouldn’t be acceptable. That’s why we hired folks from top technology companies like Google and leading agencies like Wieden+Kennedy. Being the best includes (but isn’t limited to) obsessive attention to detail, proactive and meaningful outreach and keeping customers up to speed on best practices throughout the visual web as it evolves. It also varies from brand to brand, and it’s our goal to make the brand:CSM relationship as individualized as possible.

Speaking tangibly, this shift will enable us to act as extensions of your brand’s marketing team. It will include a robust onboarding process, custom launch plans that are built with your specific goals in mind and quarterly/mid-year reviews that are designed to show VPs and CMOs the goals that have been achieved. We’re going all-in on customer success with the goal of ensuring that your brand sees great value from our partnership.
Piqora Customer Success Team
We’re incredibly excited about this change, and we want you to share that excitement by viewing your Customer Success Manager as an extensions of your marketing team. To achieve that CSMs will now be actively involved in helping you with:

  • Marketing Strategy for The Visual Web
  • Data Analysis and Insight
  • Subject Matter Expertise for Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr

We’ll still be here for any technical or support questions that you might have, but the focus is now significantly larger than that.
Piqora Customer Success
Why was this Decision Made?

The visual web as a whole is a complicated, often daunting landscape. Brands understand the massive potential in these channels, but face challenges in developing coherent strategies for them (in these still early days). As a result, sometimes brands can feel more frustrated in the space than they do optimistic. Piqora’s Customer Success Managers are here to alleviate that problem. Along with our industry-leading marketing suite for the visual web, your CSM is now in a position to design and execute fully-thought-through strategies, help set clear KPIs, and guide you on a journey to overwhelming success.

We’ve made the shift from simply supporting you, to supporting your success.

Top 3 Ways to Utilize Influencers for Pinterest Marketing

By , On April 15th, 2014. In Pinterest Best Practices.

So you’ve identified influential users on Pinterest – these are the people that have thousands, if not millions of followers. They run blogs, write product and brand reviews, create videos, have a massive Twitter following, and everyone wants to align their brands with them.

Now that you’ve identified them, now what?

Vlogger Michelle Phan Blogs About her Partnership with Dr. Pepper

1. Partner with Influencers

Adding Influencer reach to your marketing efforts enables you to have organic exposure of your brand to potential customers. Fans trust the opinion and recommendations of these influencers, and you can get your brand in front of your audience by way of native, content-oriented advertising. Beyond their reach, Influencers provide the benefit of aligning your brand with established content, lifestyle, and personal message that launched them into popularity in the first place.

Partnering with influencers typically requires the relationship to be mutually beneficial to both parties, so reach out to these individuals wisely. Do you have a big & exciting Product Launch that they can be a part of? If you have a Campaign or Promotion coming up and want extended reach, are you willing to provide reasonable compensation?

Top users have millions of followers across multiple platforms – not just limited to Pinterest. In order to find these users, Piqora offers a very easy way to identify top influencers across over 30 categories including Fitness & Health, Fashion, Weddings, and more!

Country Living Guest Pin Board with Etsy

2. Create a Guest Pinner/Collaboration Board

Collaborate with tastemakers on a Pinterest board for your Pinterest page by having them pin their favorites items and make recommendations to your followers.

Try launching a themed board with them during the holidays – or perhaps collaborate on a lifestyle/style board based on a selection of products from your brand. Not only does this gain the attention of your Influencer’s followers, but adding new boards allows you to add more depth of content to your Pinterest Page from different points of view.

Finally you can test first hand which Influencer’s content is resonating with your audience the most. Compare boards between Guest Pinners and find out which Influencer rises to the top.

3. Develop Relationships with Brand Advocates/Ambassadors

Perhaps a more arguably effective group of individuals to invest time into are Brand Advocates. Brand Ambassadors are different from Influencers in that these individuals are the Superfans of your brand. Not only are these individuals active on Social Media, but they are true fans that are excited and enthusiastic about your business.

Lululemon’s Instagram Attracts Fans

Brand Advocates shouldn’t be seen as people to drive impressions against specific initiative, but rather the people to represent your brand and drive the message, tone & community of your brand on an ongoing basis.

How do you engage with these users? Start by reaching out to them organically within your community. Comment, Like, or Reblog/Repin their photos if they relate to your brand. Recognize & reward these users that frequently post pictures, comments, blog posts, etc for your brand. The more you reach out, the more they will continue to interact with your community.

Piqora offers many ways to identify these “Super-Users” by surfacing Top Users that pin from your website or boards frequently, Top Users that earn the most repins for your brand, or users who are the most engage with your contest or promotion.

Ready to engage with your community’s Influencers and Brand Ambassadors? Great! Request a demo today.

Pinterest for Business: What You Need To Succeed

By , On April 11th, 2014. In Pinterest Analytics, Pinterest Best Practices.

Pinterest is the best social network for marketers to spend time on. Every pin has the potential to drive traffic back to your website, and our research shows that pins on Pinterest continue driving traffic for a long time: 50% of traffic comes after 3 months. Facebook and Twitter posts are visible to your audience for a matter of hours. Top performing content there stays up for a day, maybe.
Pinterest for business
If you’re reading this you probably already know about Pinterest’s traffic and revenue driving potential and want to know how to improve your business’s results from Pinterest. Well, here you go, below are Piqora’s best resources for mastering Pinterest marketing:

First Things First: Why Pinterest Marketing?

To get buy-in from management at your company to start spending more time on Pinterest marketing, consider showing them this whitepaper: Pinterest: The Social ROI Holy Grail. It covers the ways that Pinterest can drive real financial ROI in ways other networks can’t. A great way to start the conversation within your team.

Step 2: Learn What Works on Pinterest

While creating & curating boards on Pinterest is the best “active learning” approach to finding out what works, you can accelerate your learning curve with some data-driven best practice guides:
1. Quantitative Study of Brands on Pinterest – get this guide to see how often you should be pinning and how to set up your website to increase pins.
2. Guide To Pin-Optimizing Your Website – this guide shows you how to optimize images on your site for pinning.
3. Secrets to Successful Pinterest Promotions – When you’re ready for your first contest, get this primer to Pinterest promotions, then check out more posts about best practices for Pinterest promotions.

Step 3: Time for Pinterest Analytics

Once you’ve published 20+ boards, added the “Pin It!” button to your site, and see in Google Analytics that traffic is trending up, it’s time to start measuring results, iterating, and improving. Pinterest’s own analytics module is where to start. It enables you to track activity and learn what pinners like.

Most marketers that contact us have Pinterest web analytics, but have grown to the point that they want to see more detailed metrics, like revenue-per-pin & most engaged pinners, that isn’t available in Pinterest’s analytics module.
The video above is a 2 minute overview of Piqora’s visual web marketing suite, take a look and let us know if you have any questions.

Master Instagram Marketing: How to Rapidly Grow your Brand’s Audience

By , On April 9th, 2014. In Instagram Marketing.

Is this photo from an Instagram user’s everyday life, or from the @Converse account? (The answer is at the end of this post).

Instagram is the fastest growing social media network on the planet. For brands, the potential to get close to your targeted audience with inspiring visual content is there, but very few brands have been able to establish a great presence. Why?

The truth is that it’s not a walk in the park. Successful Instagram marketing takes a lot of creativity and some specific knowledge. This post will help you with the latter. While difficult, there are some clear steps that you can take to start increasing the size of your audience on Instagram. Here are a few things to focus on:

1. Focus on your Hashtags

Including relevant hashtags in your Instagram posts are a must to grow your audience. I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t want to create a spammy feel for our followers.” No one is suggesting that you include 492 hashtags, but Piqora’s original research proves that including just 3 hashtags on your posts can increase your number of likes on that individual post by up to 110%. Including 5 hashtags can increase it by 180% per post.

Our research suggests that using 7 hashtags in a given post is optimal, and brands are drastically underusing hashtags as a general rule. Nearly 30% of posts have no hashtags, while more than half average one or less. Adding just three can result in huge gains, but only 10% of brands are doing so. Only 4% of brands are using the recommended 5 to 7 in each post. Separate yourselves from the pack! Hashtags are imperative to increasing your discoverability on Instagram.

Rather than simply hashtagging the name of your brand, learn which hashtags your target audience is already using regularly and add them whenever it makes sense. You can use Piqora to track popular hashtags on Instagram and see who’s posting regularly within your brand’s key categories (i.e. fitness, fashion, health).

2. Follow Prominent Users, Like their Content

Nowadays, identifying your biggest and most influential brand ambassadors is a relatively common initiative. Understanding what content these individuals are engaging with can provide brands with excellent insight into how their products are being received.

The power of peer-to-peer recommendations is remarkable, and as a brand you can go beyond simply identifying those brand ambassadors. Follow them back, “like” their content, and make them feel like you genuinely care about them. This seems simple, but the authentic act of following key users and engaging with them is huge. Build those relationships!

3. Post Regularly, Be Interesting

On top of including 5-7 hashtags on your posts, you should be putting up content every day. Avoid becoming complacent with the content that you’re putting up; experiment with “lifestyle” images as well as product images. You can measure the performance of your Instagram posts within the Piqora dashboard. Give people an inside look into your brand by giving them sneak peaks at products, show them cool aspects of your office space, and make them feel like they’re a part of it all. Chances are, your audience will react positively.

4. Run an Instagram Promotion

Instagram promotions are still in their infancy, but running a promotion around a designated hashtag is a great way to acquire new followers. The best way to promote these promotions is by broadcasting it throughout your other social channels and prompting your customers and potential customers to participate via email. Convert those fans and email subscribers to Instagram followers!

Piqora’s technology enables brands to easily create great looking, mobile-optimized landing pages that can live on your website or within a Facebook tab. Now go apply these tips and expand your brand presence on Instagram!

Doing all of these things will put you on a great path to drastically widening your audience on Instagram. While they’re all sound practices, you should still experiment with new strategies and techniques. While regularity is important, creativity is paramount.

Get one of the Instagram marketing strategists at Piqora to show you how to grow your brand’s community by requesting a demo today.

The Instagram photo at the top of this post was by user @meghandavidson.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Pinterest Promotions

By , On April 2nd, 2014. In Pinterest Best Practices, Pinterest Promotios.

The single best way to grow your brand’s Pinterest community, get thousands of meaningful pins, and drive traffic to both your Pinterest profile and website is to launch a Pinterest promotion. Below are the most important “Do’s & Don’ts” for Pinterest promotions that Piqora has developed by powering over 600 promotions (well over 600 million impressions), with simple hosting options that enable brands to easily turn website traffic, email lists, and social channels into Pinterest followers and avid pinners.

One of the most significant Do’s is of course keeping up with Pinterest’s promotion guidelines. This is because in October 2013 Pinterest updated their promotion guidelines to help fight spammy behavior and provide a better experience for pinners. Here at Piqora, we stay up to date with the latest changes to ensure these guidelines are aligned in every promotion we power so that the relationship between your brand and Pinterest isn’t compromised.

We’ve outlined Pinterest’s most significant changes when running a promotion with some examples of what you can do below:

Pin your favorite wedding-day accents.

Pin your favorite wedding-day accents.

Don’t: Ask for Repins or Give Users a Selection to Pin From

Pinterest is a place where people are inspired by the things they love. Requiring them to pin from a selection (be it Pinterest profile, board, website or brand) limits the potential inspiration a pinner can have. Technically, they could upload an image of their choice and should still be considered eligible to win for your contest.

What you can do: Instead of saying, “Repin your favorite Spring styles from our Spring Style Board,” say “Pin your favorite Spring Styles with inspiration from our Spring Style Board.” Or, make it even simpler by just saying “Pin your favorite Spring Styles.” After a pinner enters the promotion, they are taken directly to your brand’s profile, board or website (you choose). You’ll assume they’ll begin pinning from there and not venture off to find other material that inspires them to enter your contest.

Pin you favorite wedding inspirations!

Pin you favorite wedding inspirations!

Do: Require One Entry Per User & No Pin Minimums

You can’t require a minimum number of pins to be created in order to be eligible for the contest, nor can additional pins/likes/comments/follows count as extra entries.

What you can do: Suggest that the pinners pin in the plural – their favorite recipes, wedding dresses or bathing suits – implying the more the merrier.

Don’t: Call Your Contest “Pin It to Win It”

You can’t require users to pin only your products or content in order to win the prize.

What you can do: You can call your promotion a “Pin to Win” because they have pin something in order to enter the contest.

You can still giveaway your product, but make sure they aren’t required to pin the product to win it.

Don’t: Other Rules to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t suggest that Pinterest endorses or is involved with your promotion.

  • Don’t ask for users to vote with pins, likes, comments or boards.

  • Don’t ask for comments or hashtags on your pin content. You can ask that they include a comment or hashtag on their own pins, but don’t make them post on yours.

  • Don’t require entrants to pin your contest rules.

Do: Plan Your Next Pinterest Promotion

Following these rules you can run extremely successful Pinterest promotions. The two best performing promotions that Piqora has powered (>150,000 pins created) were launched after the guideline update. The last “don’t” is don’t let these discourage you from running an promotional campaign on Pinterest.

To learn more about running successful Pinterest Promotions, click here.

Contact us to set up a Pinterest Promotion Strategy call.

Social Media Marketing Strategies: Where We Stand March 2014

By , On March 31st, 2014. In Industry Insights.

At the end and/or beginning of each year, marketers usually get inundated by articles & blog posts about “trends to watch in the coming new year,” related to social media and how it can be utilized for online marketing. And every year brings “trends” that sound very familiar (to the year before): data-driven marketing, brands will start listening to the customer, social media is a necessity—not a luxury, brands are becoming publishers, deliver your content at the right time, etc. These are no longer trends, but rather best practices.

I’ve taken the approach to wait one quarter, see what has developed in this early stage of the year, and strategize which top three social media trends will be most effective through the remainder of 2014.

1. Mobile: Revenue is on the Rise

Mobile: Revenue is on the Rise

Read more »

Pinterest is King When it Comes to E-Commerce, But How Do You Measure It?

By , On March 28th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Pinterest Best Practices.

Pinterest Marketing e-commerce

If you compare Pinterest’s active user base and overall reach with Facebook’s, you’d assume it would be a no-brainer for brand marketers to focus on Facebook. Facebook’s number of users now exceeds 1 billion, and they’re continuing to expand into international markets. Pinterest, meanwhile, has a user base of just north of 70 million.

But savvy brand marketers already understand that the Pinterest’s potential to drive revenue is much higher than Facebook. Here’s a figure that should reinforce and elevate that understanding: according to a recent study by Javelin Research:

“The average order on brands’ e-commerce platforms when arriving via Pinterest is more than double that of Facebook’s. Pinterest users’ average order value is $123.50, which is 126% more than Facebook users’ $54.64 average order value.”

Why is that, you ask? Potential consumers arrive on Pinterest with a different mindset. Instead of looking to interact with and stay updated on their friends, they’re looking to discover new fashion trends, home décor tips, travel destinations and new do-it-yourself tips. Simply put, their intent is different, and as a result the likelihood of inspiring a purchase is drastically augmented.

Pinterest’s User Experience Is Different

Users have described the now ubiquitous presence of brands on Facebook as cumbersome and annoying both from an ad standpoint and a personal property perspective. Facebook has worked to address this feeling in the past by creating their Edgerank algorithm (although that has since been replaced) to allow users to customize their experience, but the complaints persist. Brands are finding a far more natural home for their content on Pinterest.

How Brands Know What Works on Pinterest

So as a brand, what steps can you take to improve and optimize your Pinterest presence? Piqora’s marketing suite enables brands to gain valuable insight into how people on Pinterest are interacting with your content. The dashboard will also educate you on which pins are driving the most website visits, which pins are being “re-pinned” most frequently, and which pins are ultimately driving the most sales. In addition, the easy-to-use suite helps you identify which of your followers are most influential in the Pinterest community (hint: it’s not celebrities) and can help you leverage them as brand advocates and see what content their most interested in.

Piqora can also help you seamlessly grow your audience and gather insights into your followers through promotions, which the Customer Success Team can help you create, optimize and flawlessly execute. It’s a beautiful thing.

Request a demo to learn more.

Tom Logan is a Senior Customer Success Manager at Piqora in San Mateo, CA 

5 Step Guide To Successful Pinterest Promotions

By , On March 25th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Pinterest, Pinterest Best Practices.

Pinterest Promotions are a great way to drive Engagement on your Pins, Traffic to your Pinterest Page or Website, Gain Pinterest Followers, Identify Brand Influencers, and more. Here at Piqora, we’ve powered over 600 promotions, so before you plan your next campaign, consider these tips to help ensure success.

1. Identify Your Primary Goals & KPI’s

It’s easy to want try to achieve a lot at once – requiring a follow, pin from your Pinterest page, pin from your website, creating a board…but keeping it simple always produces the best results. What goal are you really trying to drive?

Our first tip? Figure that out. Piqora offers a menu of options that fit any goal:

Gain Followers

A Follow campaign is the simplest format, however with the low barrier to entry it proves to be appealing to participants. A Follow + Pin from Board option takes this one step further – and can generate even more Follows as a result of the impressions gained from shared Pin content. Piqora recommends the latter option, but only if your brand’s Pinterest page is full of fresh and appealing content!

Drive Engagement to your Pinterest Page

Repin from Board campaigns drive the most traffic to your brand’s Pinterest page. As more pins are being shared as a result of the campaign, more impressions are leading back to your Pinterest page.

Drive Traffic to Your Website

Pinterest Marketing Promotion

David’s Bridal “Say ‘I Do’” Pinterest Promotion

Pin from Website is the easiest option driving traffic to your Website. The key is to remember when creating a Promotion driving traffic to your Website is to keep them on your website. Asking users to Follow or Pin from Pinterest asks participants to pin and leave resulting in fewer pins.

Create-a-Board campaigns are a higher barrier to entry, but results in more board pages that Google can index driving more traffic to those board pages with your pins – and therefore more traffic to your website. With enough incentive for your participants, it can be the largest pin generating option.

Gaining Customer Emails

Fortunately, every Promotion type Piqora offers collects Email address for users who opt-in to receive marketing materials!

2. Consider Your Audience

Always create a Pinterest Promotion you would be tempted to enter. What would that require?

Read more »