Is the Success of Pinterest A Bubble?
Pinterest is very unique social media platforms that has allowed it to stand out and become one of the most popular social media sites. The site quickly toppled Instagram as the most popular image sharing platform and has been particularly successful for e-commerce brands.
Unlike other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+; Pinterest became really successful even though it does not have too much space for textual content. Moreover, the site is simple with very few features. Users cannot chat with others, send private messages, etc. Advertisers cannot create ads either that other users can see.
Yet users have flocked to this image sharing site. Many experts believe that the simplicity of Pinterest has made it so successful. Users can
- pin images
- re-pin them
- comment on pins
- create boards and
- follow users.
Brands have started to use this social networking site because they can upload pictures of their products and allow followers to share them on other social networking platforms. However, is the success of Pinterest just a phase? Will it be able to survive in the long run with just a few features?
If Pinterest does not come up with a strong revenue model then the Pinterest bubble could burst soon. Twitter is aggressively looking for new sources of revenue and Pinterest should do the same for long term success.
The success of Pinterest has surprised many. Launched in 2010 by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp, the site did not see the initial massive success that Twitter or Facebook did. After a few months, Pinterest could gather only a few thousand users and Silbermann even had to write personally to many of the users offering his personal information just to retain these initial users. The company was also unable to find investors initially.
However, Pinterest slowly started gaining momentum in the year 2011 when it launched its iPhone app. This app attracted more downloads and users than expected, catching the eye of key publications and investors like Time Magazine that named Pinterest as one of the best websites of 2011. Soon enough Pinterest caught the eye of tech publications such as TechCrunch and a host of investors.
Since then, the company has become one of the top five social media platforms in terms of number of users and daily registrations. Now the site ranks third behind social media giants like Facebook and Twitter and people do not have to ask for an invitation anymore to sign up. As of February this year, Pinterest boasts of close to 50 million users and this number is growing quickly.
Why is Pinterest so unique?
Pinterest is devoid of many features and apps. Also, almost 80% of its users are women unlike other platforms, where the user base is more balanced. Pinterest is also a haven for stylish, eccentric and youthful people and hipsters. The site is way more aesthetically appealing than Facebook or Twitter where content is the focus and is very attractive. Pinterest is still seen as being more exclusive than its competitors. Where other social media platforms are flooded with kids and teenagers and spammy content, Pinterest still has a more mature user base that uploads very unique content on the site. This is why brands are clamoring to get ahead on Pinterest. They want to attract the affluent, independent and influential users on Pinterest.
Is the Pinterest bubble going to burst soon?
It looks like Pinterest is becoming a tad too mainstream for its user base. Since Pinterest removed the invitation-only access policy, its original users seem to be leaving. In 2012, millions of users left the social media platform and the number of overall users and monthly users dipped significantly.
Also, the company has no clear revenue strategy. Recently, Rakuten – a Japanese e-commerce giant invested heavily in Pinterest but its reasons are not clearly known.
Although Pinterest is a site that is known for driving traffic towards e-commerce websites – often much more so than Facebook and Twitter, it is still an unproven product. The ultimate goal and revenue generation model of Pinterest is not known. Also the fact that e-commerce giant – Amazon did not choose to invest in Pinterest is worrying to some experts. This shows that Amazon does not see a future for Pinterest.
Pinterest has an evaluation of $1.2 billion, which is also surprising to some experts as they have no idea what this evaluation is based on. To prevent the imminent Pinterest bubble burst, the company must create strong revenue generation models.
Some suggest that Pinterest can become a market research hub as it has so much information on consumer tastes and preferences. Others suggest an ads API like that of Facebook and Twitter could help Pinterest. The final decision is up to Pinterest.
About the author: Jessica Davis is a Content Strategy Specialist with Godot Media – a leading Content Services company. She has years of experience as a blog writer and has helped various online business succeed through an effective blog marketing strategy. Her other interests, besides social media management, internet marketing and search engine optimization, are technology, sports and fashion.