Pinterest Growth Strategy: Case Study
Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that allows users to create and share collections of bookmarks they’ve assembled as boards, which can be followed as a whole, or “re-pinned” in part.
The concept as it is now understood is incredibly simple and oddly addictive, but when Pinterest launched in 2010, the first users, attracted by an invite-only beta, weren’t quite sure what to do with it.
The first crop of users thought they were looking at some alternate version of Instagram and floundered until a smart growth strategy led to the creation of an insta-following hack. Rather than have to seek out boards to follow, new users automatically found themselves subscribed to the most popular feeds on the site.
This was an excellent move on the part of Pinterest designers since the initial pin content on the site was quite high — and remains so today. Many of the first invites went to professionals in the areas of art, design, architecture, fashion, and crafts who immediately understood the concept of “inspiration boards.”
Those fist design savvy users set the tone and showed subsequent Pinterest members how to use their boards to create their own collections with no regard to “rules.” A board can be anything a user wants to make of it. Pinterest is about the curation and sharing of inspirational ideas.
This spirit leads to an unusually high level of subsequent sharing on Twitter and Facebook. The average Pinterest user seems to want to say, “Hey, look at what I found!” This generates high social engagement and fuels new user sign ups.
Consequently, Pinterest users become quite passionate about curating the content of their boards. Many are also participants in online gatherings like conventions and fairs where they broaden the site’s user base through enthusiastic word of mouth.
It’s common for boards to be linked to blogs and websites. A collection on Pinterest is easier to build and update than a web page and has a higher chance of generating user involvement. The visual presentation of the boards is clean and compelling.
Once users are signed up, they automatically receive a subscription to weekly updates of activity on boards they follow that include thumbnail images of the most recent pins. They can also search for and follow users among their Facebook fans.
This aggressive policy of notification enhances the already highly social climate and has steadily driven user adoption. Consequently, Pinterest posts some impressive numbers.
From launch to July 2013, the site gained 70 million users and has about 2.5 million page views per month.
Thanks to well-designed apps that preserve the Pinterest experience, 75% of daily traffic is from mobile sources.
Approximately 5 million items per day are pinned.
As of June 2017 – Pinterest raised another $150 million and is now valued at more than $12 billion