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Against All Odds: Pinterest’s Evolution Over Time

April 3, 2012 · 11 comments

in Social Media

Pinterest’s Evolution Over TimePinterest is only 2 years old but it has 12 million users (and growing rapidly) with a number of daily visits to die for. Today Pinterest is the ‘It’ social photo sharing site that began in 2009 by Ben Silbermann and was operated from a tiny apartment until the summer of 2011.

Now it is one of the most rapidly growing social networks, a powerful b2b marketing tool and a force to be reckoned with, with an Ipod app last updated in February 2012 and an Ipad app in development.

Pinterest has such versatility and can be used for all different markets including personal use, B2C and Business to business

The journey of success

The pinboard style website was started by Ben Silberman from West Des Moines, Iowa. Silberman is currently CEO of Pinterest; he rarely gives interviews but is always greeted with warmth by the crowd whenever he does.

Silverman used to be a collector as a child, and extended his hobby to create Pinterest that started out slow but boomed into stardom thanks to his perseverance.

Pinterest is a unique vision of looking at the world, Silverman’s vision. He thinks of boards as a representation of the world, and Pinterest grid-like design represents that. At the very start, however, not many appreciated it: the world was too enthralled in ‘Likes’ and ‘retweets’.

Humble beginnings

Pinterest looked like a failure at first, with only 10000 users and few of them using the site daily. The first 5000 users were contacted by Silberman personally, and the interest of these people was what kept the website going during the first difficult year. The goal for Silberman at that point was to keep it in existence.

Despite the unprecedented growth in the last 6 months, Silberman says Pinterest was no overnight success. Many internet entrepreneurs give up in the first few years, seeing no major growth in followers, but Silberman never did. He says after witnessing the failure of many products he created when working for Google, seeing the ‘Site Down’ sign go up wasn’t an option. He kept going, and his determination and hard work paid off.

The limelight

In June 2011 Pinterest and Silberman began to appear in the media, additional staff had to be hired and Pinterest’s humble office in a small apartment had to expand. The number of unique visits in September 2011 was 1.68 million; by February 2012 it was 16.23 million – an 866% increase.

Pinterest snowballed to the top, and today Pinterest users spend an average 98 minutes on site per month (compared to 2.5 hours on Tumblr and 7 hours on Facebook) – figures that speak for themselves.

The visuals

Pinterest is primarily used by women, and the overwhelming majority (97%) of Pinterest’s Facebook ‘likes’ are also made by women. Pinterest does remind people of an old fashioned way of collecting scraps of beautiful images on a board. Digital hoarding of this sort is different from everything else out there.

Indeed, the success of Pinterest may be down to its decidedly visual nature, the immediacy of having 11-12 images on screen at the same time that users can process quickly, jumping straight to the stuff that matters to them. Facebook had pictures, of course, but it took time to first find them and then click through; Pinterest is in-your-face visual and no time is being wasted.

Easy categorization

Photography, Architecture, Design, Technology, Travel, Fashion – the list of categories on Pinterest is likely to be growing as more b2b marketers and social marketing geniuses ‘get’ how to work with Pinterest, making their approach visual.

Pinterest is a great way to see what is happening in different spheres, what is popular, what the public wants and what the competition is doing, or ‘pinning’, to use the term of the site. In terms of research it is an amazing tool that works on a visual level and helps the user process large amounts of information very quickly.

The speed

It’s not just easy to digest Pinterest; it’s also easy to contribute. Pinning takes just seconds and the contribution is neatly arranged into a themed board. Perhaps this sense of accomplishment (creating something so visually appealing in just minutes) is what attracts people to Pinterest.

The simplicity

While Facebook and YouTube have recently introduced improved (and more complicated) designs, Pinterest is as simple as it gets. Images are key with minimal text, almost no icons, easy scrolling and effortless searching. Comments and repins are almost invisible, with images taking centre stage. Is that why Pinterest is known as the fastest site in history to break the limit of 10 million unique visits?

Perhaps. But one thing is clear: Pinterest should be taken seriously by all, including social media marketing gurus and b2b marketers. It’s a channel too potent to miss out on.

Image Credit: nuchylee

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

John Gaydon April 4, 2012 at 12:25 am

Thanks Kostas for showing me this article. I hadn’t seen it before.

It comes at a good time as I grapple with Pinterest!

There are so many Social options now with Google Plus moving in that I think we have to select a few to concentrate on. Interesting that females like Pinterest and prefer visual clues. I also note that videos can be pinned.

I guess another few hours working out how to integrate this are in order.
John Gaydon recently posted..Vegemite – The Nectar Of The Gods – At Least For Aussies!My Profile

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saha April 4, 2012 at 8:23 am

Exactly Pinterest is growing rapidly. Great platform to promote your business through photos and images.
Thanks for sharing this success story. An inspirational story.
saha recently posted..Some Drawbacks and limitations of Windows8My Profile

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Andy Nathan April 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Kostas,

That is awesome information about the start of Pinterest. Everyone knows who they are now, but few realize that it was not an overnight explosion like it has been discussed in the media.

Andy
Andy Nathan recently posted..Google Plus Is The Next Step For Your BusinessMy Profile

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Steve Vernon April 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Thanks Kostas. I keep hearing about Pinterest, but like so many, I feel so overwhelmed with all the social media options I just keep thinking, “Why add another level to all the confusion? Focus on one or two of the ‘big boys'”. Well, it appears that Pinterest may be quickly becoming one of those “big boys” that I apparently need to pay more attention to and consider as an option, especially since part of my work involves graphic and web design. I mean . . . how visual is that!
Steve Vernon recently posted..Those Pesky Plastic Grocery BagsMy Profile

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Stacy April 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I never knew the history of Pinterest, it’s really interesting! I love using Pinterest but I because of that I have to be careful because I can get sucked in and lose time.

Thanks for sharing! It’s always inspiring to hear how the big guys started as a little fry!
Stacy recently posted..Take Small Steps to Make a Satisfying LifeMy Profile

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hannah crossfield April 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

i cant believe how addictive it actually is and how much potential traffic it can drive to your website, i was reading something on mashable the other day where new initiatives can sometimes just get lost and be a fad- but i think pinterest is here to stay

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William Earl Amis Jr III April 6, 2012 at 2:01 am

Kostas,
Well done!

I never knew of this platform and must do some research on how to put it in my dialy activities.

It all sounds good and like comments above, there are so many new things popping up you must take care and not get involved with every new cool thing. You will find yourself on less production in your business than ever before.

Kostas, your a great visionary and one to keep an eye on. I look forward in following your great success in our industry.
William Earl Amis Jr III recently posted..Your Passion Is Your BusinessMy Profile

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