By Adam Fraser
In a move that feels parallel with Facebook’s hiring of Sheryl Sandberg pre IPO in March 2008, Pinterest has announced the hiring of Silicon Valley heavyweight, Francoise Brougher, as its COO.
Pinterest is rumoured to be considering an IPO in 2019, and this appointment appears to cement that perspective.
Pinterest is now increasingly describing itself as a visual search tool, rather than a social network. Always a platform where people pondered, dreamed and discovered (and often had buying intent), it is upping its game in terms of advertising products and recently signed a deal with major US retailer Target, in relation to advertising and Target using Pinterest’s visual search tool within its app.
Pinterest seems to punch under its weight given its size, garnering much less press interest than Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (if this blog is any sort of barometer, I last blogged about Pinterest in February 2015). However, it is a platform of significance – passing 200m monthly users in September 2017 (40% growth on the prior year), with 600m monthly visual searches using its lens tool and more than half of its users now coming from outside the USA. It remains the most female skewed social media user base, with 70% of its users being women. The volume of content is mind blowing with over 75 billion pins across 1 billion boards.
In terms of social commerce – buying directly from a social site rather than via the merchant’s website – Pinterest (which offers ‘buyable pins’ as a product) leads the way, along with Facebook.
According to the 2017 Sensis social media report, 10% of Australians use Pinterest (versus 94% for Facebook and 46% for Instagram).
Pinterest is undoubtedly a platform of significance, with a number of interesting, unique aspects – think female skew, buying intent, visual search capability. Whether it is suited to life as a listed company – see challenges faced each quarter by Twitter and Snapchat – is another question.