Pinterest Part 1 – An Overview

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Pinterest is the hottest new social networking site. It’s a combination between Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr, best described as a micro-blogging photo gallery. Why is Pinterest so popular? The reasons can be condensed into a few key metrics about users and user engagement:

  • Pinterest’s user adoption rate is exploding. In the past 12 months, traffic has increased by 300%, and now it is second only to Facebook in the amount of time an average user spends on the site per day.
  • Over 80% of the pins on Pinterest are repins. At a similar time in Twitter’s history, about 1.5% of Tweets were Retweets. This speaks to the amazing virality of the Pinterest network.
  • It’s a visual medium – and people respond more emotionally to eye-catching pictures than they do text.

Users on Pinterest have only two streams of interaction with the site, inputs from friends and other users and outputs to their own personal pinboards, or collections of images. As users find images that they like on the site, they can easily “like” or “repin” the image to one of their boards. In our experience, repins typically outnumber likes by a ratio of about 3:1. This is great for increasing the viral nature of the site and the opposite of Facebook, where likes outnumber shares by a ratio of 10:1. By pushing people to repin instead of like, Pinterest has tapped into social sharing in a way that no other social network has in the past.

Pinterest is most commonly used to collect images that people find interesting, funny, cute, useful, or simply images they want to bookmark. By allowing users to organize recipes, funny images, design ideas, wedding ideas, and fashion choices into easy-to-follow and easy-to-refer-back-to Pinboards, Pinterest creates a user experience unlike any other site. It’s a personal catalog of an individual’s own tastes and styles.

The demand for this type of service is clear. People love being individuals and sharing the things that they personally like. People love to create their own personalized Pinboards that they can refer back to when they want to remember that interesting scrapbooking idea, the recipe they saw last week, or the products they want to buy.

With user engagement metrics like this, we don’t see Pinterest being anything other than the next evolution in social media. We can look at a number of social networking sites that flopped to see why they failed. Sites like Twitter, that met with marginal success, were used initially and tapered off as information overload from useless, mundane tweets filled user boards. Some social media sites, like MySpace, offered something new initially but were later usurped by social media giant Facebook, which offered a better user experience. With the simplicity of Pinterest and the success that the site is seeing in its earliest growth phase, we can’t imagine any site doing what it does better or taking away the brand image that it has developed. It’s here to stay, and that’s why we’re releasing articles over the next week to help you understand how your brand should build a niche on Pinterest to market your products.