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What is Pinterest and why should I care?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 10th February 2012

If you haven’t heard about Pinterest yet, then you soon will. This is the latest startup darling of the social media world and one that many in the media are claiming has become the fastest growing website ever as it announces over 10 million users after just nine months.

Techcrunch has reported that the service reached 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in January 2012. That’s up from only 7.5 million in December and 418,000 in May 2011.

So what is all the fuss about? Well Pinterest is a site where you can ‘pin’ images to a ‘board’ (a pinboard, geddit?). Each board that you create has a specific theme such as ‘things I want to buy’ or ‘fashion’. A board can either just be for you to post to or you can set up a collaborative board where more than one person can contribute.

At the moment boards are public, but the option to have private boards is coming further down the line apparently. The social element is very similar to Twitter; users can follow your boards and you then get a stream of ‘pins’ from those you follow in your stream.

Design is key

The first thing you’ll notice with Pinterest is that it is beautifully designed and incredibly easy to use. As the focus is on images, you get this great collage of pictures whenever you login with the ability to ‘repin’ (think retweet), ‘like’ or comment (think Facebook) on pins posted by others.

Pinterest integrates seamlessly with Facebook, which might be one of the main reasons for its viral success so far.

Interestingly, the Techcrunch article reveals that high earning women, aged between 18 and 34 are driving Pinterest’s success so far, a very different crowd to the normal tech startup early adopters, but one that could prove to be incredibly profitable in the long term.

Talking of which, how will it make any money? Well, that’s as yet unclear, but there is an affiliate model struggling to get out with products that are pinned getting a price tag added to them. And there is an interesting recent blog post which suggests that Pinterest is using affiliate links to further capitalise on this feature.

Anything in it for brands?

Of course, brands have been quick to get in on the act with companies like Gap, Mashable, WSJ and even Blockbuster. Clearly, it is particularly suited to brands where images play a big role, with organisations like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

But with multimedia playing an ever increasing role online, I’m sure we’ll see a rise in the number of brands using the service in the coming weeks and months. As ever, it is all about having a clear strategy and a reason for being there.

So why not give it a try? Don’t forget to follow me!