Pinterest. Have you heard about it? You probably have. It is the fastest growing….. social platform on the web. I paused there because this is the thing. I am not quiet sure how to categorise it yet!! Is it a social networking site? Is it a photo sharing site? What exactly is a virtual pin board?!
Using Google insights we can see the phenomenal growth in searches for information to the site over the last 3 and a half months. A few interesting facts that can be revealed from my Google insights search are
- The country with the 4th highest regional interest in Pinterest is Macadonia (after USA, Canada and New Zealand)
- Ireland rates 8th
- The highest search term is “what is pinterest”?
- Search levels really began to grow in November 2011 and exploded in January 2012.
The site’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” So their intentions are definitely to capitalise on people’s insatiable appetite for all things social. But the question has to be asked are we really able to find the time to squeeze in more social media especially when it is based largely on images of what other people think are cool?
The site still operates on a semi closed basis with people needed to be invited by other members, or requesting an invite directly from Pinterest (which takes a few days) to get access. This is all the more reason why their 11 million unique visitors is so impressive as access isn’t granted automatically. There’s no doubt this has added to the hype around the site through increased curiosity, but making your potential user wait a few days could be risky! They want to see the site now, but might not be so bothered by the time they get around to accepting the invite! How and ever it seems to be working and I have no doubt the site will continue to grow rapidly for at least a certain period of time.
Right now it’s the early adoptors that I know that are on board and trying to find a usage for the site. Pinterest encourages you to follow people in your area of interest when you sign up to the site which makes sense. Exposing you to the types of “pins” you like will increase the chance of you coming back.
But lets face it if a site wants to be social then it needs to connect people who know each other. Google+ is great, but only a few of my friends are on it which means Facebook is still the de facto location for connecting with people.
Currently I have 9 friends on Pinterest and their “boards” consist of a few haphazard cool photos, a few social media related infographs…and the odd image of books or films they think other people should know they like!
I’m no different too. I’m not arguing that the site isn’t extremely slick and easy to use. But right now anything I have posted there is simple to have something there. I have never once though wished there was someplace to gather random images online of the things I love!
But maybe I have it all wrong. Instagram is a place for people to post pictures to in a semi similar fashion and people are passionate about it. I never thought I would take so many pictures of random objects and landscapes, but instagram has changed that.
Pinterest is simple taking this a step further. In the same way they there is a whole tribe of people out there called instragramers where people are bonded through their common love of take instagram images, Pinterest recently held their first meet up in San Francisco where people could come together and reveal in the joy of this new application!
So when the dust settles from all this hype who is actually going to the main users of the site? Right now there seems to be a strong following amongst women. According to Ignite social media almost 80% of users are women
and I suppose this makes sense. My girlfriend, and I will go out on a limb here and say she is not unique, spends an awful lot of time looking at pictures of what other women are wearing.
Whether its in fashion magazines or high street store websites she wants to see clothes. Pinterest allows users to easily take images from any (not Facebook actually) site and Pin them to designated boards in a cool aesthetically pleasing way. This could be very appealing to no end of people whether that is fashion magazines or stores themselves, or stylists, designers or simply enthusiasts who want to show their keen eye for good fashion. It also allows people (girls) to pin items that they would like to their own boards as a kind of wish list.
And this is where Pinterest stands apart from some of its counterparts in their early start up days. It is actually earning revenue. Each pin that is added to the site is a link, and Pinterest takes these links and modifies them by adding a affiliate tracker code. Through an existing company called skimlinks, retail sites will pay a small commission each time they sell a products to the site that has sent them that customer through a link. What that means in affect is that if my girl friend had a pin up of a lovely coat she wanted to buy, and some one clicked on that pin and went to the site it was being sold and then bought it, Pinterest would make a small commission from that. Now take into account that Pinterest directed more traffic to retailer sites than YouTube, Linkedin or Google+. In the last six months, the retail deal site ideeli.com has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.
So now I am beginning to see the potential of the site, how can businesses take advantage of this? From what I can gather from meandering through board after bored (!) of pins is that content is still king. Pin good images of what your target audience is interested in and you will get followers. But to really fully leverage Pinterest I think it is key to engage. Along with other social media sites having a dedicated person looking after engagement will allow businesses to follow people who follow them back, comm
enting on there pins, re-pining them and making people feel involved.
Over the next few weeks I am going to be working on my boards so be sure to follow me and I promise I will follow back! Any thoughts or feed back good or bad is really appreciated.
- Development of Pinterest began in December 2009 and the site launched as a closed beta in March 2010.
- On August 16, 2011, Time magazine published Pinterest in its “50 Best Websites of 2011” column.
- In early 2011, the company secured a $10 million Series A led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Shortly thereafter, in October 2011, the company secured $27 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, which valued the company at USD $200 million.
- The company was named the best new start up of 2011 by TechCrunch
- In January 2012, comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.