What’s Next for Pinterest?

official-pinterest-logo-tile-300x300This visual discovery and storage website has experienced rapid development recently and is still only five years since its birth at the hands of Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann. Pinterest has evolved from a closed beta site, available to just 5,000 users initially, to a globally accessible site that was listed by Time Magazine in the ’50 Best Websites’ list. Pinterest now has over 300 employees.

By using pinboards, users are able to save images that they find on the web as well as images they have stored on their own devices. Other users are then able to discover these images and save them to their own pinboards. If an image is on the internet then it is possible to ‘pin it’ to Pinterest. There is now the option to share these pins on Facebook and Twitter as they are added to boards. In 2012, after a series of copyright debates, Pinterest issued a ‘nopin’ html tag that people could use to protect their images online. Although initially users had to either be invited or apply to register, now absolutely anyone can register an account and businesses are increasingly taking advantage of this.

Pinterest is particularly popular with women and, in 2012, 70% of American users, and 83% of global users, were female. The most popular search categories during this time were that of food, drink, home décor, women’s fashion and travel.

It didn’t take long for businesses to catch on to the Pinterest trend and soon countless companies were promoting their products and services through pins. Despite its success, it wasn’t until 2013 that Pinterest began to make money. They did so by charging for adverts on the site. At this time the website had approximately 48.7 million users around the world. Close to the end of 2013, the company was valued at $3.8 billion. In May of the following year, it was considered to be worth $5 billion.

Today Pinterest is an amazingly powerful business to business marketing tool as well as an immensely popular social network. The average user will spend more than two hours on Pinterest every month, which is roughly a quarter of the time the same people spend on Facebook. In the past year the analytics tool has been added so that it’s now possible for those with business pages to see how their pins are performing. It is also possible to track the average number of daily impressions your pins get and how many times other users are re-pinning your images.
So having already conquered cyberspace, what’s next for Pinterest?

Well, the next step for the website looks to be the option to buy button. It is expected this service will be launched in the next six months. The button would work like this. You log in and scroll through your news feed, you see an image of a book (for example) that you like the look of and as you hover over it the buy button will appear. You would then be able to go through the sale process without leaving the site.

As more businesses have embraced Pinterest and advertise their products there, this has huge potential for expanding their business. Often users will see something they like on Pinterest and simply click to save it to a pinboard. The option to click through to the sale website exists but by bringing it on to the site Pinterest are encouraging quicker sales that require less consideration from the user.

There is no limit to the kinds of products that could soon be available for sale on the continuously growing website. It is believed that the company are going to use Stripe to handle the payment process. However this has not yet been confirmed. With this latest innovation from the Pinterest guys, it’s easy to see why they continue to attract such attention and large investment from other major web players.

By Alix Jones