Fellow Renegade Merlin Ward put together these thoughts on the future of Pinterest. I thought they were quite insightful and hope you do too:
Like any new start-up, Pinterest is being pulled in multiple directions. Everyone wants something specific from the platform, from the users who log in to share to the brands that use it to influence. While many claim that the addiction of Pinterest is a habit that is impossible to break, others are saying their explosive growth will soon come to an abrupt halt. Even Pinterest itself needs to think about its future – how it will grow and how it can be sustained. So what does Pinterest have in store for its future?
Brands will tell you that Pinterest has incomparable SEO qualities, and SEO companies will back them up. It’s been recorded that the platform has twice as much purchasing power in your sales funnel than Facebook. That’s a pretty good punch for any retailer, small or large. The implications of Pinterest referrals have been so great that businesses are being built around it. Companies like Piner.ly have built analytics platforms that track “Pinterest Campaigns” and allow you to schedule pins to drive traffic. If it were up to brands, Pinterest will be around for a long time.
However, regular Pinterest users – the majority of whom are women – are the ones who made this photo-sharing platform popular and an industry-driving force before brands bothered to take notice. Pinterest’s rapid growth spurt in January 2012, and the thousands of images that are now being shared daily, are all directly correlated to the addiction of its users. As it turns out, users that joined in 2011 are nearly three times as likely to make purchases online or offline after pinning, and they pin twice as often.
Quickly scan the blogs and you’ll see that users are looking for ways to optimize their time on this addictive, time-sucking network. Others, however, criticize that the crafts and DIY activities never turn out the way they are depicted and its all a sham. Enter the blog Pintology (http://pintology.blogspot.com), which rates crafts and products on a series of qualifiers, giving users the inside scoop on which pins are the best. Users are instinctively providing their own solutions to the Pinterest “problems.”
Although it leads the way in photo-sharing websites, Pinterest still has competitors. Without a strong mobile experience, Instagram holds its ground for the on-the-go camera-phone photographers. Niche sites like Wanderfly (travel based with interests, travel planning) and Gtrot (Geolocation based, location reviews – travelers) have sprouted for those specifically looking for photo-based travel solutions, and male-targeted sites like DartItUp (mainly pins for purchase) and Manterest have muscled their way into the market. These niche sites, despite their small market share, are making waves with users.
Still, Pinterest has their own interest in mind. It is a business, after all, and businesses need to grow and make money. It already has an explosive user base, so it can readily turn its attention to raking in revenues. Pinterest already makes an estimated $9 million a year in affiliate links to products, but it may benefit further by building a purchase solution into its platform. And what about adjusting to users needs? Well, the crafty site could also build a pin rating system to gamify and add value to the users’ pins. Above all, Pinterest needs to work on its mobile experience. The app and mobile bookmarklet falls way short of the web-based platform and seems to discard the mosaic, hyper-discovery of content the browser version – and seriously, is an Instagram doppelganger really a solution? It is Pinterest’s turn to make the next move and only time will tell if it will be a part of our future.
(And a shout out to our friends at UMarketing for these insights http://www.umarketing.com/blog/umarketing/handicapping-media-race).