Pinterest vs Instagram: Which one’s right for your business?

Last Updated on March 7, 2024


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Getting online traction centres on high-quality visuals, and Instagram and Pinterest are two of the most visually-driven digital platforms.

But if you only have time for one, you need to know which is better for your business with Pinterest vs Instagram.

Through the visual or audio-visual content on these platforms, business owners and bloggers like you can generate value for their audience.

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This value-driven stream of content will help convert prospects into clients or buyers.

Apart from placing great value on visual content, both platforms offer various similar, yet dissimilar, marketing automation features for bloggers and online business owners like you.

Phone screen open to social media apps with Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Clubhouse, Facebook
Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

If you are an aspiring blogger struggling to get views or you just started an online store but are not getting the revenue you hoped for, there is a high chance you haven’t paid attention to content marketing.

Don’t get overwhelmed and jump right into both platforms. We recommend beginning with one, giving it your all, and then moving on to the next.

To make it easier for you, we have created this detailed guide on Pinterest vs Instagram to see which platform is better for beginner content creators, especially bloggers and online business owners.

We will uncover the key attributes of both platforms and why one is better than the other in terms of audience, content type, and marketing features.

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After this guide, you will be able to decide which platform is better for any blogger or online business owner when stepping foot into the world of content creation. 

Before we dive into debating whether to use Instagram or Pinterest for business and which platform is better than the other, let’s take a look at the basic purpose of both platforms.

Although they are both visual-centric, they were created for fulfilling different purposes.

What is Pinterest?

So what even is Pinterest? Who uses Pinterest? And what is Pinterest used for anyway? Is Pinterest considered social media or a search engine?

Launched in 2010, Pinterest is a visual search engine. It was designed as a replacement for virtual catalogues and mood boards.

Pinterest is the go-to for many when looking for ideas related to recipes, home inspiration and fashion, among others.

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With more than 400 million monthly users, Pinterest is the hub of ideas and inspiration for artists, business owners and end-users.

One of the advantages of Pinterest for business is the simplicity of this platform, and it is what drives many to choose it over other popular search engines.

The Pinterest home page is filled with images, and now videos, that align with users’ interests.

When you sign up for a Pinterest account, you are asked to enlist your interests, and then the algorithm shows you visuals related to those.

If you like an idea, whether an image or video, you can save it on your “board”. Boards are categories that you can create according to what you desire.

For instance, a board for food, home inspiration, digital art etc.

The content types that you see on Pinterest are called “Pins” and when you save them on a board, it’s like pinning an image of something you like on a board.

Remember those scrapbooks we created back in the day? That’s the whole idea behind Pinterest.

Pinterest allows you to create a digital catalogue of all your ideas. It is also easy to use and keeps your ideas organized.

Although Pinterest first launched as a website, now it is accessible through the Pinterest mobile application on iOS, Windows and Android.

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Pinterest, though primarily a visual search engine, can also be used for connecting with like-minded individuals.

People who share the same interests and ideas as you can view the boards you have made, and the Pins you save and now you can also share Pins and ideas through messaging on the platform.

Over time, Pinterest has undergone a lot of changes in terms of its user interface and features.

Now you also get Pin recommendations based on your likes, interests and activities of your followers or those you are following.

But don’t stress about how to gain followers on Pinterest, because this has become less important in recent years.

Nowadays it is less about about who has the most followers on Pinterest, and more about your Pinterest strategy, consistency and target audience.

Pinterest was originally a picture-only platform, however, in 2016, users could watch videos and save them to their boards.

Previously, there was only one main page where all idea Pins were displayed. Now, you can swipe to the left from the main page and browse Pins specific to a board or interest you have created.

How to use Pinterest for business, Selection of Pinterest group boards and personal boards

For instance, if you have a board on travelling, you can browse through a feed of pins related to the ones you have already saved on your travelling board.

Since Pinterest works as a search engine, it is keyword-sensitive. To find an idea Pin, you can type in the relevant keyword into the search bar.

Pinterest would show you boards, idea Pins, profiles and other terms relevant to the keyword you input.

With Pinterest, it is far easier to navigate the online space for upcoming trends and discover people with whom you share interests and ideas.

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Now you can also use photos from your device to search Pins relevant to the content of that photo.

Pinterest is easier than other search engines when it comes to understanding the interface.

The most recent layout would show you the image, which is the Pin, a link underneath the image which directs to the website or blog relevant to the image, the image title and a short description.

This easy interface is why Pinterest is preferred by so many bloggers and online business owners. You can upload content relevant to your blog post or a new product that you have launched in your online store.

When a prospect clicks on the image, they would be redirected to your blog or online shop front.

Pinterest or Instagram for business, open laptop with a screen displaying pinterest
Photo by Fahim Reza on Unsplash

This feature alone has changed the game for business owners as you don’t have to upload the link separately in your bio or somewhere else, unlike what you have to do for Instagram.

And you know what’s the best part about Pinterest? It’s virtual! Whatever ideas and inspiration you find on Pinterest, stays on Pinterest and you can access it from any device.

With other search engines, you have to save the file to your device and there is less room for organization.

Another one of the biggest advantages of business Pinterest vs Instagram is that you don’t need to stress about likes and engagement.

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So rather than spending all your time worrying about how to get more likes on Pinterest to boost the algorithm, you can focus on quality content and keywords.

We can go on and on about the exciting features that Pinterest has introduced in the last 22 years!

From messaging and increased options for sharing to creating secret boards that only you can access, it has truly reoriented how people look for inspiration online.

If Pinterest suits your business needs, learn how to use Pinterest for business and get started with a Pinterest business account immediately.

What is Instagram?

Even if you’re not new to the platform, you might be wondering just how do people use Instagram for business?

Instagram is essentially a social media platform that strives on photo and video sharing. It strives to help people connect by keeping a visual diary of everything that they do.

Initially, Instagram only allowed photo sharing, but eventually, it upgraded from photo-only to a photo and video sharing platform. It is available on both iOS and Android, which is why it has a huge audience.

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Users can upload videos and photos to share with those who follow them or a specific group of “close friends” (one of Instagram’s new features). Your followers, in turn, can comment, like, and share your photos and videos.

Initially, the photos and videos you shared on Instagram stayed there permanently, or as long as you wanted.

This type of content was called “posts” and it still exists. But in 2017, Instagram introduced “stories”.

Instagram stories enabled users to upload videos and photos that remain on the platform for 24 hours.

Later, another feature was introduced, “story highlights” which allowed users to keep some of their 24-hour stories on their profile for longer than 24 hours.

Over time, Instagram has introduced a ton of features to increase its user engagement and now it even offers specialized digital marketing tools for bloggers and online business owners.

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Now users can do everything from running ads, uploading sponsored content, using stickers and gifs and linking their Instagram with other social media platforms.

Although Instagram has a massive audience, it has been under fire numerous times for not being secure enough, especially for younger audiences.

Instagram keeps on improving its community guidelines and features to provide users with the safest and most efficient social media experience.

instagram vs pinterest for business, Person holding up cellphone above head that is open to instagram with skyscrapers and neon lights in background
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Despite that, Instagram has gained so much popularity over the years, especially after being acquired by Facebook, it has become an essential part of life for many.

So much so, that it has become an official verb now, “Instagramming “.

From small business owners and individual users to celebrities and multi-national organizations, everyone has an Instagram presence.

Instagram is a great place for online business owners to get customers and bloggers to get traffic. It even has its community of bloggers or the much controversial “influencers”.

Overall, Instagram is a handy and easy-to-use tool for those whose revenue thrives on online traffic.

Instagram vs Pinterest: Biggest Differences

So now that we’ve covered what each platform is, you’re probably wondering just what is the difference between Pinterest and Instagram.

Both Instagram and Pinterest are visual-centric and rely on aesthetically structured content which can also make it tricky for your content to get the engagement it needs.

In this portion, we will uncover the key differences of Pinterest vs Instagram, and why one is preferred over the other.

Purpose

As mentioned previously, one difference between Pinterest and Instagram is their intended purpose.

Pinterest and Instagram both have varied purposes, so there are some obvious reasons why you would decide to go with Pinterest vs Instagram, or vice versa.

Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform geared towards social networking, whereas Pinterest is a visual search engine with little flexibility for social networking.

The central idea of Pinterest is to discover inspirational content. Instagram, on the other hand, is about sharing and connecting with others.

The difference in their purpose influences how users interact with both platforms. Even the idea of visual content is slightly different on Pinterest than on Instagram.

A selfie with your best friend might do it on Instagram, but not on Pinterest. On Pinterest, people are looking for ideas regarding various topics and a simple selfie might not be it.

Unless you have shared a link to your blog on “10 things to do with your best friend” underneath that selfie, it won’t make the rounds on Pinterest.

This makes Pinterest more value-driven than Instagram and slightly more suitable for businesses and blogs.

Audience

Instagram garners an estimated one billion active users every month, whereas Pinterest has over 400 million active users every month.

Given both platforms’ humongous audiences, they are extremely lucrative for directing traffic to your blog or online store.

The audience demographics for Pinterest vs Instagram are slightly different as well.

And if you are interested in using either for your business or blog, then knowing audience demographics will help you decide how your prospective customer or viewer engages with the platform.

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This means that understanding the difference between Instagram and Pinterest in terms of audience intent and demographics is crucial for your business.

Instagram, since it’s a social media platform, has a more diverse audience. There are over a billion monthly users on the platform, from all over the globe.

Let’s break down the demographics for Instagram:

  • Around 61.6% of users fall between 18-34 years of age
  • 50.7% of users are male, whereas 49.3% are female (there are plenty of non-binary folks on the app as well, but statistics account for gender on a binary basis)
  • Based on data from Instagram ads, the countries with the largest number of Instagram users are India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and the USA.
  • More than 43% of users have received a college education, whereas 33% have a high school education
  • According to Facebook, 91% of the users reported that they use Instagram for following trends and interests
  • The top interests on Instagram are travel, music, and food and drink.

Though both Pinterest and Instagram launched in 2010, the latter has more monthly users. Pinterest has more than 430 million monthly users.

Pinterest in terms of demographics:

  • 76.7% of the platform’s audience is female, and 15.3% is male
  • Around 29% of the users fall within the 25-34 years age bracket, followed by 18-24, 35-44, 55-44, and the rest
  • Not so surprisingly, 86.2% of Pinterest users are also avid Instagram users, followed by Facebook and YouTube
  • 85% of Pinterest users stated that they use Pinterest when beginning new projects or are in the purchasing phase

In a nutshell, Pinterest user demographics skew towards a more female audience than Instagram, and Pinterest users are older than the average audience on Instagram.

On Instagram, the target audience is Gen Z, whereas your Pinterest target audience is Millenials, so keep this in mind when designing marketing for each platform.

Desktop vs. Mobile

Though a minor difference, but worth mentioning. 

If you know that your business drives a lot of traffic from desktop users, it is worth keeping in mind that when comparing Instagram to Pinterest, Instagram is NOT as desktop-user friendly.

Pinterest was launched as a website, and later mobile applications were developed. Instagram, on the other hand, has always been a mobile application.

Now, users can access Instagram through their phone or computer’s browser but a lot of features like posting stories or using stickers are not available.

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But the social media giant is working on creating its storefront feature for online businesses that can set it apart from others in the same industry. 

Link sharing options

To put it bluntly, Pinterest offers better link-sharing features than Instagram. And this is why Pinterest is better than Instagram for many business owners.

On Instagram, individual users can only place a link in their bio, but business profiles can share a link through Instagram stories, irrespective of how many followers the account has.

You can also add links to Instagram ads, whether it’s sponsored posts or stories.

Pinterest, therefore, is a far better choice if you want to redirect viewers to your blog post or your online store. It’s simple and effective.

On Instagram, you will have to notify prospects of the “link in bio”, which is sometimes less effective.

Searchability

Searchability is an incredibly important aspect when choosing between Pinterest vs Instagram, depending on your own needs as a business.

If you’re looking to invest your time and resources in digital marketing on either of the two platforms, then you must know the search options for both.

Pinterest is a search engine and thus, heavy on keywords. Instagram, on the contrary, places importance on keywords, as well as hashtags.

While there is an Instagram visual search element, nothing will show up in that search if you don’t know how to boost your post with keywords and hashtags.

From small business owners, celebrities and end-users trying to be part of a trend to non-profits raising awareness, everyone uses or has used, hashtags in hopes of better reach.

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Hashtags are not only a creative and innovative way of generating traffic, but you can also create a small community of like-minded individuals.

For example, with hashtags like #PlantLoversInNYC you can connect with an audience based in New York City that shares a keen interest in plants.

You can also create hashtags on Pinterest, but they are not of great significance, unlike Instagram.

On Pinterest, keywords related to your brand or visual are of greater value. This is because your target audience would be searching for your keyword, rather than a hashtag.

If you sell crochet tote bags, then that’s your keyword, and also what your target customer would likely search for.

So, when you are writing a caption for your Pin, make sure to include relevant keywords.

Apart from hashtags and keywords, followers are the “big cheese” for Instagram users.

Although in recent years, Instagram has upgraded its algorithm to the point that it’s difficult to decipher what boosts engagement, a large following is still considered the precedent for authority or popularity.

So while you don’t have to spend time learning how to gain more followers on Pinterest, you might want to invest some time into increasing your Instagram following.

Pinterest, however, has its own set of strategies for optimizing a user profile to gain organic traffic. And knowing how to use Pinterest for blogging or business is important for your own strategy.

Just like bloggers have to do SEO to make sure their blog ranks on Google for the relevant keyword, Pinterest profiles must rank for the relevant keywords.

Unlike Google SEO, Pinterest ranks profiles based on user engagement and social media shares. Profiles with better engagement statistics appear higher in search results.

Some of the ways you can optimize your Pinterest profile are:

  • Creating a business account
  • Using an SEO-friendly username that is also in the profile URL
  • Relevant details in the “about you” section along with keywords

Types of Content

How to choose between Instagram or Pinterest Person covering their face and lying back on a bed surrounded by Polaroid photos
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

When both platforms launched they only offered content in the form of visual images.

Over the years, to meet the growing demand of users and for a general upgrade, other content types have been introduced to these platforms.

Videos and images in various formats can be viewed and shared on both Instagram and Pinterest. 

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Types of Content on Pinterest

  • Static Pins and ads have only one image. You can add a title of up to 100 characters and a description of 500 characters
  • Standard video Pins and ads are videos of the same dimension as regular pins. A title and description for these can also be added
  • Carousel Pins and ads are one of Pinterest’s newest features. You can post multiple images in a carousel post for users to swipe through. This type of content is perfect for storytelling or instructional posts
  • Collection Pins enable users to view Pins and ideas similar to the current image or video they are viewing. This feature is helpful for online businesses marketing their products or services through Pinterest. You can cluster your products in a collection and add links to your storefront
  • Idea Pins enable users to record videos, add pictures and create lists or add text in one Pin. For instance, a recipe Idea Pin can have a short video tutorial, a list of ingredients and some pictures
  • Pinterest TV is video-on-demand content that was launched in 2021. Business owners and creators can record weekly episodes for potential customers, and viewers can buy items at a discounted rate

Types of Content on Instagram

  • Instagram Feed Content is the basic and most used type of content. When you upload a photo or video to your Instagram profile, the one without a 24-hour time limit, that’s feed content. 

Feed content is what adds the most value to your online presence as your audience can refer back to it whenever they want and even save it.

You can create informational posts, behind the scenes of your business, and advice, and post sponsored content to host a giveaway. 

Now, you can add up to 10 images or videos in one post in the form of a carousel.

  • Instagram Live Videos enable creatives like you to interact with your audience in real-time. An Instagram Live is a video call between you and your audience. You can collaborate with other Instagram users, answer questions from your audience or receive feedback in real-time. Live is perfect for giving your audience a glimpse into the reality of running your business or blog
  • Instagram TV or IGTV is a great feature for sharing extended videos. In a format like Instagram Stories, you can upload videos of up to 60 minutes. IGTV videos don’t disappear after 24 hours and can also be saved by your audience to their profile.
  • Instagram Stories appear at the top of the main feed. Photos, videos and URLs can be uploaded to Stories. Stories are a great way of communicating with your audience through polls, surveys, questions and creating content.

Content Lifetime

Though this might not much of a feature for some, it is worth noting.

Content lifetime is of primary importance to bloggers and business owners whose revenue and traffic depend on the content they upload and the engagement with that content.

On Pinterest, when you create a Pin that links to your blog post on travelling, it will stay there forever, unless you decide to delete it.

On Instagram, content posted in Instagram stories has a duration of 24 hours, but feed content can stay for as long as you want.

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There’s also an option of hiding feed content temporarily in your archive, but no such feature is available for Pinterest.

Greater content lifetime is a plus feature for bloggers and business owners. Bloggers always want traffic for their websites.

Doesn’t matter if the Pin you created on an XYZ post is two years old, if it pops up when your keyword is searched for, someone might land on your site.

Win-Win situation as your Pinterest profile gets the boost it needs and so does your website!

Shopping Features

Person holding up phone with dollar sign in middle saying Tap $ to send or request
Photo by Tech Daily on Unsplash

Given the growth in e-commerce, social media platforms have stepped up to support small and medium-sized businesses.

Especially after the pandemic, there has been a rise in online shopping and platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are doing everything they can to help aspirational people like you set up an online store.

So depending on your business, you will likely want to know whether or not you can can you sell on Pinterest vs Instagram.

In fact, both platforms have a ton of features to make this happen.

Instagram Shopping Features

  • Product Tags – helps users view prices and speed up the checkout. You do need a Facebook business account to be able to sell on Instagram
  • Stories Tags – just like the former, you can tag products in your Instagram Stories. When influencers tag a particular brand or business, viewers click on the product and are directed to the brand’s page. This feature has proven to generate sales for businesses on Instagram
  • Shop Button helps sell directly on the Instagram app.

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Pinterest Shopping Features

  • Product Pins help create informational content for the product you are selling. You can include price and stock information, along with a description of the item, underneath the image. Though you have to do a bit of coding to make this feature work, it is still worthwhile. Unlike Instagram, you can link to e-commerce sites and not just your Facebook Business profile
  • Pinterest Lens is like when you use Shazam for finding music, except here you scan an image to find relevant Pins. You can take a photo direct from the app or upload an image from your camera roll to let Pinterest scan it and give relevant Pins
  • Visual Search is another helpful feature, not specifically for shopping, but equally good. Visual Search makes it possible for discovering items you see in a Pin elsewhere on Pinterest. For instance, you saw a chester of drawers in a home renovation Pin but there is no product information. With Visual Search, you can search that chester and eventually might land the shop selling that product or something similar 

Advertising

How to make money travel blogging
Photo by Millo Lin on Unsplash

One key difference between the platforms for business owners is the reach of Instagram vs Pinterest marketing.

Over the years, both platforms have offered services for e-commerce, creatives, and bloggers.

Advertisement is a crucial element of running a successful online business or maintaining an online presence if you are a blogger or a content creator.

Although there are ways of increasing your engagement and audience organically, paid advertisement is a good option if you’re looking to expand your reach and won’t mind a little bit of investment.

Instagram advertisement has been quite popular among digital marketers and business owners. It offers a wide range of tools and options for increasing your customer reach.

Since Instagram is now owned by Meta, previously called Facebook, its advertisement tools are top-notch for cost-effective.

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Through sponsored posts or stories on Instagram, another name for Instagram ads, you can display your content to your audience, regardless of where they are in the world and whether they follow you or not.

With Instagram advertisement, you can choose demographics specific to your target audience so that you get the reach you are looking for.

There is also an option to change the call-to-action – it can be anything from “buy now” to “learn more”.

In terms of content types, you can include photos, videos, carousel posts and stories in Instagram ads. Over time, you can check which content type is more engaging.

Pinterest offers advertisements too, but slightly different from Instagram. Instead of curated content, you can advertise your products directly.

This can include a single image of your product as a Pin or promotional video, carousel and app Pins.

Currently, you can run Pinterest ads in certain countries only, but work is in progress and soon this feature will be available in other parts of the world.

Unlike Instagram where you only get to choose your target audience, Pinterest allows you to target customers in three different ways:

  • Existing customers – using information from their mobile or email
  • Visitors on your profile
  • Pinterest users similar to your target audience

These ad options give marketers and business owners a lot of room to explore and decide which market and customer they must focus on. This is a helpful tactic in deciding where to put your money.

The Pinterest conversion rate for ads is said to be anywhere from 1.5% – 8%. While that might seem low, it’s actually quite high.

Conversely, the Instagram conversion rate, which is considered worth the investment by major companies, is only around 1%.

ROI

How to use Pinterest or Instagram for business, Pile of currencies from around the world
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

ROI or return on investment is the value you derive from your investment.

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider when comparing Pinterest vs Instagram for business use.

In this case, this value comes from investing your time, money and efforts on Pinterest and Instagram for scaling your business or promoting your blog.

ROI is calculated by dividing the difference between the value that you derive and costs, from total costs.

Instagram costs can involve content creation, which can include the equipment you need like cameras, microphones, computers, or space for shooting content, ideas, people to work with like influencers or creatives and advertising funds.

It can be really expensive, depending on your business type, to use Instagram as the main digital marketing hub for your business.

Not to mention you have to constantly monitor your ad’s performance and spend some time understanding how the analytics work and what to make out of them.

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With Pinterest, there is so much to consider. While both platforms offer similar content formats, they offer different link-sharing options, shop features and marketing tools.

Pinterest also makes it easier to drive traffic from your profile to your storefront or website, making it far easier for you to capture your target audience.

On Instagram, as we know, adding links and directing customers to the storefront requires a bit of a job.

Of course, in the end, it also depends on your business type, but overall, Pinterest has more features suitable for promoting a blog or business and thus, offers greater ROI.

Final verdict: Pinterest vs Instagram

When deciding between Instagram vs Pinterest for business it comes down to two aspects:

  • What you are selling – product or service
  • Your customer type and their buying patterns

These two factors are crucial in deciding whether you should put your money and efforts into Pinterest or Instagram since running a blog or a business is a difficult task in itself.

Since Pinterest has more users from the older age groups and with more disposable income, it is more lucrative.

Users on Pinterest come for ideas and inspiration, and if they see an ad product from your business or a creatively designed Pin that directs them to your blog, they are more likely to benefit you.

On Instagram, aesthetics and social connections are given precedence over factors Pinterest deems important for a business.

While visual appeal is necessary to attract customers, the lack of advertisement flexibility or link-sharing options can be a bummer for a blogger or business owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How are Pinterest and Instagram similar?

Both are online social media sites that operate mainly with images uploaded by the user. Instagram has more of a focus on comments, likes and followers, whereas Pinterest focuses more on having your pictures shared amongst other users’ boards on the platform.

What is more popular: Pinterest or Instagram?

Both platforms are used by different yet diverse users. Instagram has more than double the amount of regular interaction than Pinterest, with over one billion people using it per month.

✅ Why does Pinterest stand out versus Instagram?

People using Pinterest often head there for inspiration or artistic creativity, whereas Instagram is mainly used for self-promotion and sharing. While both platforms are predominantly visual-based, Instagram predominantly features photographic and video content, whereas Pinterest pictures contain multiple art styles in addition to photography.

✅ Is Pinterest social media?

No, Pinterest often gets lumped in with other social media platforms, but it is not considered social media. Instead, Pinterest is a search engine.

✅ Can I use Pinterest pictures on my Instagram?

It depends. If the images used in your Pinterest photos are yours and you own the rights, then this is perfectly fine. However, if they are stock photos, there is likely a copyright issue when it comes to using them on Instagram.

✅ Is Pinterest better than Instagram?

This completely depends on your intended target audience and what you want to use the platform for. Pinterest is better as a long-term search engine for your content. While Instagram can be better for marketing and building a following.


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