Hurrah ! Pinterest celebrates fifth birthday with rising massive audience

April 3, 2015 2:58 pm

A employee walks past a Lego wall at the company’s San
Francisco office. Pinterest has just celebrated its fifth birthday
Photo: AP.

In its five short years of life, Pinterest has become ‘the’ place
where brides-to-be create wish boards of wedding china photos and
do-it-yourself home renovators bookmark shiny turquoise tiles for
bathrooms.
It’s where people share ideas and ingenuity and get
creatively inspired. And it’s fueled a new way of searching for items
that’s even stolen traffic from tech giant .
The San Francisco-based venture capital darling was recently valued at $11 billion.
While its core audience has always been female, Pinterest says its popularity is growing faster than ever among men.

It
is winning in the all-important social-mobile space – the vast majority
of “pinners” connect from mobile devices – and is enjoying a healthy
expansion overseas.

As Pinterest celebrates its fifth birthday this week –
hopefully with perfect bacon cupcakes topped with a single, artisanal
beeswax candle – here are five things to know about the site and where
it’s headed.
Who uses Pintrest?
Pinterest had
79.3 million unique visitors in February (the latest data available),
up 47 per cent from a year earlier, according to Internet research firm
comScore. The vast majority were women, but male visitors grew at a much
faster clip: 62 per cent for men versus 42 per cent for women.
Enid Hwang is the company’s community manager and the fourth employee ever hired at Pinterest.
She
wouldn’t disclose what percentage of users are male but says
Pinterest’s male user base in the U.S. has doubled in the past year.
She doesn’t think Pinterest is for women any more than it is for men.
“At its most fundamental, we believe that Pinterest is a tool for unlocking people’s creativity,” she says.
Pinterest
often gets lumped in with popular social networks like Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram, but there are plenty of ways that it stands
apart.
Hwang sees it as more intimate and personal. While
Facebook is about sharing what you did, read or saw recently with 400 of
your closest “friends,” Pinterest users pin stuff for their own
inspiration and benefit.
While others can see it, she says Pinterest people are “saving stuff that means a lot to them personally.”

Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp. Photo: AP.
Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp. Photo: AP.
“Main trends”
Popular “man
trends,” as Pinterest put it recently, range from do-it-yourself home
projects such as making a wooden couch sleeve for your drinks, to
different ways to tie knots, to the world’s best hiking trails. And then
there’s the more unusual.
“Last year, we noticed a trend of survivalists using Pinterest,” Hwang says.
These
pinners found “creative ways of solving what they might do if there is a
zombie apocalypse,” she adds, or a more mundane natural disaster.
There are Pinterest boards of basement fallout shelters, disaster preparation and the contents of survival backpacks.
After
Pinterest introduced “Place Pins” in late 2013, the vast trove of
pinners’ travel-inspired boards became easier for people to find. Users
pin photos, links and videos inspired by past trips or travel
aspirations. Place Pins are designed to work sort of like an online
travel magazine combined with an interactive map.
By the numbers
• There are now more than 50 billion “pins” on Pinterest. One billion boards have been created.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Pinterest has six international
offices: in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Brazil. More than 40 per
cent of Pinterest users are outside the U.S., up from 28 per cent in
2013.
• About two-thirds of the content on its site was created
by brands. “If we were in the magazine business, (that) would be 50
billion pages being ripped out and referenced,” says Joanne Bradford,
head of partnerships at Pinterest.
• Earlier this year,
Pinterest raised $367 million that valued the company at $11 billion. It
says it may raise as much as $211 million more, and plans to use the
more than half a billion dollars for international expansion and other
corporate purposes.
A new way to search and shop
Pinterest’s
penchant for exposing people to something new has turned its site into a
learning and shopping hub that can be more useful than Google and other
search engines for certain topics. Many people now go to Pinterest
first when they are looking for ideas on planning a wedding, preparing
an exotic dinner, planning a kids’ birthday party or finding the perfect
pair of shoes for a new outfit.
Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp
likens this phenomenon to “search without typing,” making it
particularly well suited for smartphones.
Diversity
The
heat is on tech companies for lacking gender and racial diversity among
their employee base, especially in the highest ranks. Pinterest is no
exception. At the same time, the company seems to be doing better on
this front than some of its Silicon Valley counterparts. According to
statistics released last July, 40 per cent of the company’s employees
are women. This compares with 20 per cent at Apple Inc. and 30 per cent
at Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. Among Pinterest executives though, it’s a
different story. Nineteen percent are women, compared with 21 per cent
at Google.
“We’re not close to where we want to be, but we’re
working on it,” wrote Tracy Chou, a software engineer and tech lead at
Pinterest, in a blog post last July.

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