When it comes to small business internet marketing campaigns, visuals can be integral to attracting customers and leads, which may be why many companies are finding success advertising on the visually-oriented social media website Pinterest, according to a survey from market research firm Bizrate.

"Our research among online buyers shows that image-sharing sites have inspired purchases, a trend that will likely grow as more categories/images/retailers become available on sites such as Pinterest," says Hayley Silver, vice president of Bizrate Insights. "Smaller retailers appear to be leading the charge on sites such as Pinterest, as exemplified by their ability to ignite a passionate base of supporters to gain sales through grassroots efforts."

According to Bizrate's survey, nearly one in five shoppers say that their recent most recent purchase was made after seeing a picture of the product on Pinterest, which lead them to Etsy.com – a burgeoning e-commerce site.

The survey also shows which categories produced the most browsing activity from customers and which led to more sales. Home, Garden and Pool/Spa was the most popular category for browsing while Clothing and Apparel lead the way with sales, trailed by Jewelry, Handbags and Accessories. Art, Art Supplies and Hobbies as well as Entertainment were the only categories to sustain the same ranking in browsing as well as in sales (third and 9th respectively).

In addition, Pinterest lead almost 20 percent of customers to a company's Etsy store and nearly 15 percent to their brand's website, which can help companies convert leads into sales.The survey also shows that almost 30 percent of respondents visit Pinterest at least once a week, with 15 percent going once a day or more.

The website's rapid expansion may be one of the reasons why Japanese entrepreneur Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Rakuten (the Amazon of Japan), invested $100 million into the website, according to the New York Times