Since its debut five years ago, Pinterest has become increasingly popular for sharing photos and news on wedding plans, home renovation ideas, creative projects, favorite hits and even articles from this publication. Whether pinned for public or private consumption, the items on and use of Pinterest have grown considerably since its inauguration, and particularly this past year.
San Francisco-based Pinterest has a valuation of approximately $11 billion. The site drew more than 79 million unique visitors during February (March figures are not available yet). That is up 47 percent over the prior year, according to data from Internet research firm comScore. The vast majority of the site’s users are women. However, male visitors to Pinterest grew at a much faster clip: 62 percent for men versus 42 percent for women.
Enid Hwang, the company’s community manager employee, reported recently that the site’s male user base in the U.S. has doubled in the past year. Women use the app for creative projects, but so do men. They add do-it-yourself project ideas and information, and things like advice for survivalists.
It is amazing how quickly social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have changed the way people do things. Sites for chatting, complaining or bragging have allowed people to keep or get back in touch with former colleagues, schoolmates and distant family. They have drastically changed the way people search for information.
Among the social media sites, Pinterest likes to consider itself as different. Hwang said they “believe that Pinterest is a tool for unlocking people’s creativity.” Facebook involves sharing what one did, read or recently saw with 400 of close “friends,” whereas Hwang points out that users on their site pin stuff for their own inspiration and benefit. While others may see the items pinned, people use the site to save things that mean a lot to them personally. That has helped the site become a sort of idea search engine, where people look for ideas on other people’s boards for everything from planning a party to renovating a room.
Pinterest gets the bulk of its traffic from mobile devices. Some estimates say 80 percent of the traffic is from mobile users. Instagram is another online social media site that is moving more to the mobile arena.
In the first 5 years, more than 50 billion pins have been placed on approximately 1 billion boards people have created on Pinterest. Those have largely been in the United States, but more than 40 percent of users are outside the country. From its naissance in 2010, the company has grown by leaps and bounds to accommodate and support its popularity, even abroad. Besides its California headquarters, the company now has offices in Japan, Britain, Germany, France and Brazil.
What is the future for the company, at least in the next five years? In 2010, it would have been hard to predict its success. As Pinterest hits the five-year milestone, it will be interesting to see if people are still sharing ideas on the site another five years down the road or if something else will emerge.
By Dyanne Weiss