Everyone is talking about... Pinterest
You cannot go anywhere at the moment without someone mentioning Pinterest - the virtual pinboard that "lets you organise and share all the beautiful things you find on the web".
The mission is to connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting - "we think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests".
It is certainly connecting people - it passed the 10 million unique user mark in record time. In December 2011 Pinterest had 7.5 million visitors and by January 2012 this number had risen to 11.7 million.
Pinterest - the numbers:
- It is valued at around $200 million (£125 million)
- It has around 13 million users
- Females account for 68% of the site's global audience and 85% of activity
- There are more than 200,000 users in the UK (56% are male)
- UK users are much wealthier - 29% of them earn $150k+ v just 2% of US users
- 42% of users are aged 25-34; 28% are 35-44 year olds
- It is the fastest ever site to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark
- Pinterest has 16 employees and is based in Palo Alto, California
- 97% of Pinterest's Facebook fans are women
- It is used by more than 100+ brands including GAP, Blockbuster and Whole Foods
- Over 1/5 of Facebook-connected users are on Pinterest daily
- Daily users have increased by more than 145% since the start of 2012
- Pinterest is generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined
Pinterest allows users to curate collections of images from across the web under different categories. People can also repin images to their own board. According to Google Ad Planner, the social media site's US audience was mostly interested in fashion, arts and crafts, recipes, seasonal events and holidays, and interior design in January.
This reflects Pinterest's female-dominated audience - 83% of users in the US are female. The top 'pins' today (though they change all the time) seem to follow suit - wedding dresses, cakes, cute dogs, nice sayings, hair ideas, art, flowers and so on. At the moment, people searching the web for fashion are nearly 11 times more likely to gravitate to Pinterest than the average internet browser.
The UK audience, however, differs and is mostly male driven. Among them, venture capital, web stats, analytics and blogging services are popular topics. Although the UK audience seems to made up of early adopters, so it is predicted that this will change in time.
Pinterest even has a PinFaves.com fan site, which tells you the top 'upcoming pins' (which include Smart Doggy, Chasing Fire Novel and Pink Grapefruit) and the 'top today' (Bridal Dress and Cute Hair Style). One of the site's most repinned items according to PinFaves is the 'Epic Closet' - shared 28,857 times.
Petula Dvorak, a columnist for the Washington Post, recently wrote an article titled: "Addicted to a website call Pinterest: Digital crack for women". She says "it has come along at the perfect time, just as the novelty of Facebook is fading. And unlike Facebook or Twitter, where it is ultimately obvious that your profile photo is from 1987 and your check-ins are no more exotic than Dairy Queen, Pinterest boards (which can never be made private), advertise only your hopes and dreams, the Stilton Gold style you aspire to, rather than the Velveeta life you live".
In a blog post in December, comScore called the site "exceptionally sticky" - pointing out that it keeps it users engaged for long periods of time; while TechCrunch's Josh Constine said the site "has struck a chord with people's desire to portray their identity in a more stable fashion than content streams like Facebook and Twitter".
However, The Daily Beast's Dan Lyons wonders how Pinterest will make money. "To really get big, Pinterest will need to attract big brands that want to reach the audience it has assembled," he writes. "That seems easy enough. It's an attractive audience, since many members are already looking to buy things and are using Pinterest as a shopping tool.
"But some hurdles remain. One is the small but growing amount of objectionable content found on Pinterest, stuff that advertisers don't like to put their brands next to, like softcore porn, pro-anorexia boards, and copyrighted material that has been grabbed without permission."
Although he points out that one huge thing that Pinterest has in its favour is the amount of time its members spend on the site - in January the average user spent 89 minutes there, more than on any other social network except for Facebook and Tumblr.
See Mashable's Pinterest infographics - How do US and UK users compare? and Everything you wanted to know about 2012's hottest startup - for more information and stats. And read the BBC's article Pinterest: Just what exactly is on it? here.