Pinterest co-founder: why we have yet to scratch the surface on profitable pinning
The online press is filled with Pinterest success stories on a seemingly hourly basis. Retailers are using their pinboards to drive traffic, others are using it to drive higher revenues per click, marketers are using it to create buzz for their new launches and lastly publishers are seeing it drive eyeballs.Turns out though that while the Pinterest pioneers have shown us a vital new tool to build engagement, we’ve yet to see the best of what this platform can offer, says Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp.
Sharp, speaking at Digital Economy Forum in Venice, told today of how Pinterest, the scrapbook-style social network, is still very much a work in progress. For starters, there are no revenues. Sharp, a former architect, shrugs and says he’s not the business mind behind Pinterest. Instead, he’s more focused on designing the perfect platform. “But there are plenty of things we can do in the area of advertising or retailing that would make sense,” he offers.
Still, there are plenty of urgent matters to consider when it comes to that platform. Firstly, there’s the language problem. For a global phenomenon (though, admittedly, Pinterest is not so well known here in Italy as evidenced by the few hands raised at the start of Sharp’s presentation), it’s available only in English. That will change soon, says Sharp. The other big shortcomings: Pinterest’s lone app presence is on the iPhone. There is is nothing yet for Android, nor iPad. Pinterest hopes to address these shortcomings shortly, though he didn’t give specifics on a timetable. It had better come soon: Android owners, for one, are falling prey to scam Pinterest apps.
“We’re less focused on demographics, and more focused on the platform,” Sharp says to reinforce the company’s commitment to evolving Pinterest for mobile users. And, if you’re curious about that demographic, this is what it looks like. Yes, a lot of mommy bloggers and collectors of various objects.
Sharp was asked the question all marketers want to know: what’s the secret formula to ensuring your pinning drives traffic, eyeballs and sales? Sharp said he’s been impressed by the usage of Pinterest by museums, some of which have used Pinterest to pin select images of, say, a exhibition as a way to get the public to discover great pieces of art. An alluring front door, if you will. But, he says in all candor, we’ve yet to see the best there is to offer on Pinterest. Pinning that inspires others to start their own collections, for example, have enormous potential, he added.
The big take-away point comes from Sharp’s rather elegant way of summing up what Pinterest means to him, and, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, to its avid user base. Pinterest represents a sea change in how we create, share and connect. Whereas Facebook is a walled garden, Pinterest is a curated catalog, curated by creative people whom you trust.
Sharp’s belief in the power of curation is a powerful one. To him, it is curation = creation. Curation in the hands of everyone is the future, he believes.
So get out there and start pinning!, is Sharp’s rallying cry. Otherwise, this is a business model with some pin holes in it.