Pinterest isn’t just another social media network.
What appears to be the fastest-growing social media site ever has become a huge traffic referral (arguably, more powerful than Google+) for all businesses. An increasing number of companies are leveraging the platform to reach a new audience, increase visits to their websites, and generate leads or retail sales. And guess what? It’s working.
Over the past few months, you may have heard some chatter about a brand new social network called Pinterest. According to compete (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/pinterest.com/), unique visitors to Pinterest.com increased by 155% just in one month, from December 2011 to January 2012.
Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more.
Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own collections or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting” via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing.
Founded by Ben Silbermann, of West Des Moines, Iowa,the site is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and inventors. It is one of the “fastest growing social services in the world.”
Pinterest was first conceptualized in December 2009 by co-founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra. The first prototype was launched in March 2010 where it was available to a small group of colleagues and family members. Since its inception three years ago, it has developed into a well-funded site financially supported by a group of successful entrepreneurs and investors including: FirstMark Capital, Jack Abraham (Milo), Michael Birch (Bebo), Scott Belsky (Behance), Shana Fisher (Highline Venture Partners), Ron Conway (SV Angel), Kevin Hartz (EventBrite), Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp), Hank Vigil, Fritz Lanman, and Brian S. Cohen.” As Pinterest continues to grow and develop, so does its business opportunity as a promising marketing platform, especially in terms of data collection for retail companies and marketing strategists.
In early 2011, the company secured a $10 million USD Series A financing led by Jeremy Levine and Sarah Tavel of Bessemer Venture Partners. In October 2011, after an introduction from Kevin Hartz and Jeremy Stoppelman, the company secured $27 million USD in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, which valued the company at $200 million USD.
Retail companies have taken advantage of Pinterest for advertising and style trending. The web design provides an ideal layout for “style conscious retailers”, where products can easily be visualized within a consumer context. Companies like The Gap, Chobani, Nordstrom and West Elm use Pinterest as a tool for online referrals that link users with similar interests to a company.The Gap has arguably taken the biggest initiative in their use of Pinterest, employing their own themed pinboards such as “Denim Icons” and “Everybody in Gap”.
Baynote founder Scott Brave sees Pinterest as an ideal environment to collect affinity data; a resource that holds the potential for substantial demand and income. This data “reveals valuable relationships between consumer behaviours, products and content”, where it can be collected and sold as marketing analysis.
As of March 2012, Pinterest is valued at $1.5 billion.
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- How Pinterest works and top reasons you should be using it
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