Chances are, if you were asked what website is closest to firing users’ imagination the way Facebook did in 2006, startup Pinterest would not be on your list. But it would be on Ron Conway’s list and on 3+ million other lists around the world. And on mine, for what it’s worth. Pinterest is a bookmarking website + inspiration board + crowd-sourced online catalog or as one user puts it,
Pinterest is visual crack for the visually stimulated.
Born two years ago on Thanksgiving Day in 2009, the site has 3.3 million insanely engaged users who consume a total of 421 million pageviews in the U.S. or 128 pageviews per user. It is also growing at an annual compound growth rate of 45% according to Compete and TechCrunch. Two things make Pinterest unique – that it has caught on with the DIY crafter, designer, artist and mommy crowd before the early tech adopters (the latter are flocking to it now), and that it seems to fit several niches effortlessly e.g. photo sharing (like Flickr, Picasa and Instagram) across multiple platforms, and DIY Artists (like Etsy).
Let’s talk about the users first. 70% of the 3.3 million users are women. The website over-indexes on women who constitute 70% of the 3.3 million U.S. users, especially 25-24 year olds who do most of their browsing from home, per Alexa. Given this demographic, users rely heavily on Tumblr to “pin” or discover content. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that users are already using this discovery process for experiential shopping (a.k.a serendipitous browsing) for items like jewelry, beauty and skincare, fashion and art. Watch out as CPG, Beauty and Fashion brands stampede to the platform in 2012!
Now let’s look at how visitors are using Pinterest. First of all, I really like that I don’t have to be a registered user to browse the site – that rates a big thumbs up in my book. Granted this pulls down registered users but the fact that users remain highly engaged seems to indicate that the platform has legs over the long term. Since users often use the platform to pin images, as I’ve done with my Why I Love NYC board, photo sharing platforms like Flickr, Picasa and even Instagram (which restricts sharing to iPhone users only) are logical competitors. Take a look below at how Pinterest (in green) stacks up against these entrenched competitors per Google Trends. At close to Flickr’s 2007 levels, it stacks up pretty darn well!
Pinterest being a big draw to the DIY community, let’s do an Etsy vs. Pininterest (in red) comparison below. Yowsers!
As a digital strategist, I’m always interested in unearthing scrappy ways to help brands increase their audience, drive awareness and engage with their customers. So I’m going to chase this post down with a quick piece on how brands can jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Accompanied by a shot of educated guesses on how Pininterest can monetize the platform and keep their investors happy. Stay tuned.