I've been fascinated, and slightly horrified, by their pivot away from social functionality and towards a vision of a neutral bookmarking site.
It's not that I'd want Pinterest to be more social in and as an end itself, but rather because I think it better incentivizes people to create good quality content, and it makes it easier to discover things I want to find.
There's very little ROI for cultivating a public image on Pinterest, so few people put much effort into doing it. At the same time, people who have taste similar to mine are a much better way to find things than any algorithm Pinterest has ever released. And yet, they keep emphasizing algorithmic recommendations while disincentivizing people from publicly expressing their taste and making it harder for me to follow people I like.
And then there are the ads, which, as a bunch of other commenters have pointed out, tend to be really far out of line from anything I've ever expressed interest in. It's just off-putting to see a bunch of low-quality ads for tacky crap in the middle of my feed of minimalist interiors.
Maybe they have something up their sleeves, or maybe I'm very different from their target user. Otherwise I just don't agree with their product direction.
This seems likely to be an inventory issue more than anything else. Fine-grained targeting requires fine-grained ads which requires a sub-linearly scaling sales team.
It's not something you'll hear unless you're in the know, but there is a pretty high level of animosity towards Pinterest in most retail marketing departments. I love Pinterest, so it was surprising to learn when we started this work, but it boils down to: 1) traffic from Pinterest ads show very poor quality / engagement. 2) Pinterest has not been a good partner - they've actively "snubbed" a number of big labels. There are even a few major retailers who "deleted their Pinterest". 3) Organic Pinterest basically doesn't work, so they won't even put an intern part time onto managing their Pinterest account. Even one of their top retailers, Nordstrom, appears to use a bot to post to their account.
When your ad dollars don't show ROI, people spend elsewhere. And if your main customers aren't engaging your platform, that's definitely trouble too.
So yeah, a ton of fear mongering on here. I'm long on Pinterest.
Yep, I could not have said it better. Pinterest is now intent on serving us up predigested pap, while at the same time serving us up more literally to advertisers. Item: It's impossible now to discover who else likes a pin that you love. It's bewildering, it's a sea-change, and it effectively renders Pinterest useless to me now.
My bigger concern is yours, that Pinterest will lose its human touch by removing social features. The new tried-it feature seems like a promising new foray into making Pinterest social again in a way that's uniquely Pinterest. Time will tell.
"There isn’t a user-generated component on the platform, so people aren’t here to learn about what they’re friends are doing. They’re there to plan their lives. And people plan their lives through content that brands produce.”
This sounds completely wrong to me...
However, I know I'm at least somewhat atypical in my spending habits & life planning, so it's hard for me to judge.
I hope Pinterest can succeed and overcome its current challenges. Even if I do not ever get a job there, what is good for one company lifts everyone else in our industry (unless you are a direct competitor!)
HR Managers can outsmart each other day and night on how to make it more funny, bubbly, friendly, etc to you by pulling off more and more crazy ideas to make you feel like we're one big family, but when shareholders decide to cut corners, don't be surprised that your key-card and password doesn't work, and you are greeted by a large-sized man in dark suit you never met before who will gladly escort you and your cartoon box of your office belongings outside. Oh and don't email HR questions like "What happened, I thought we are one big family, so you told me", because for legal reasons you will not get any response at all!
Source: own experience :)
Who else but the employees of a company would lead an internal conference?
My biggest qualm is the number of low quality ads. Ton of stuff for diet drinks, teeth whitening, skin cream and the like. And fidget spinners, lots of fidget spinning ads. Perhaps I haven't used the app enough to get more personalized ads, but I do hope the side of the service improves.
Once they gain major brand traction, there seems to be a big shift to catering more towards the big brands who care more about impressions and less about direct response, and who are fine paying very frothy CPMs for it. This typically coincides with a purging of the "lower quality" advertisers whom the big brands don't want to see their ads next to.
Happened with Google, Facebook, etc., so not really surprised to see it happening here with Pinterest.
Then, once the big brands come to play, the platforms change what ads are deemed acceptable and start kicking off those that started out using the platform.
You nailed it.
But that totally depends on the brand tolerance for it. For example, if you are a big family brand, you're not going to be an early adopter of Outbrain and Taboola type stuff if your adjacent ads are acai berry drinks, colon cleanse kits, etc. that all link to flogs and fake news sites because the network might be turning a blind eye to quality at that stage of things.
And the way the purging happens is pretty interesting too. Typically it comes in the form of new policies. I forget what the wording was at the time, but I recall when FB started making the shift, some of their policy wording and examples was so obviously targeting recent things affiliates had been doing on the platform it made me laugh. Even reading through their current policy site's prohibited list is pretty much a checklist of every major affiliate category there is.
The suggested pins for me are just as irrelevant. I spent quite a bit of time marking each irrelevant pin and ad as such, but it didn't seem to help. I finally turned off suggested pins, but ads aren't optional.
Well, technically you can always install an ad blocker.
A lot has been written about how people go on Pinterest with shopping intent. It's a way to window shop the entire internet, curated by friends. They never really monetized it much though. Individual influencers made money by leveraging referral programs.
It seems like Pinterest was way ahead of the curve when it came to having image-heavy content and a heavy focus on lifestyle products. But they missed the boat on video and a lot of the influencers moved to Instagram or Facebook.
If I see something on Pinterest I'm interested in, then I'll go to Amazon to see if it's offered there, and if not, I'll head over to Google to see if I can get it cheaper. I'm not going to buy directly from Pinterest unless it's a link directly to Amazon.
IMO Pinterest should have had skimlinks for everyone, and a PinterestPro for the "influencers".
I'm surprised that people would throw another $150M on this particular bonfire. Like so many other bookmarking sites before it, Pinterest is overreaching. Their best outcome (for investors, not users) is likely an acquisition by Facebook.
I'm notorious for taking on too many projects. Time to sleep when I'm dead.
I guess I should but I also love to have some time alone before the rest of my family wakes up (and before people turn up at work).
This constant need to grow really irks me.
That's what Twitter should have done as well. Pinterest won't do it, for the same exact reason Twitter didn't, making the same business mistake with predictable consequences. They all want to be the next goliath and none of them are going to be (and when that reality sets in, they all become reactionaries under pressure from a dozen angles, working from a position of weakness).
1) Growing for the sake of growth - buying users, anti-user lock-in features, dark patterns, etc.
2) Growing as technology improves - the cost of creating/publishing videos has decline massively in the last few years for the average user, thus products that utilize video to create better experiences should be built.
Pinterest has a: show me the sales, problem, I suspect. Public comparables in social like Twitter & Snapchat are going to cap their upside until or unless Pinterest can somehow demonstrate a very profitable business model. If those margins never arrive, Pinterest is going to be worth something a lot closer to Yelp than Twitter. From $12 billion, there's a massive downside risk in the last few rounds for Pinterest investors if this gets a similar reality chopping to what Twitter & Snap have.
Meanwhile Pinterest... well, maybe they have a lot of interior decorating collections and cupcake ideas, but there's also a ton of spam and most people I know that used it years ago don't use it now.
How are the two even close?
Pinterest is 7 years old, has close to 200M MAUs, and is still growing at a good enough pace for investors to justify this kind of valuation. Pinterest also excels in huge markets which you are probably not familiar with: recipes, weddings, fashion, and interior design.
Even though most people you know don't use it, there are still 200+ million people out there in other demographics that do use it. Probably a lot of them have never heard of Twitter :-D.
FWIW I think Twitter is undervalued as well.
What I have no idea about is how Pinterest will make money. Ultimately, Twitter could continue for years without making money, and there are a number of things they can charge for (larger tweets, a Pro service, tweet pipeline, user data, faster access to Tweets) (perhaps sell Trump's tweets to HFT firms, 500ms before the rest of the world sees them?) Meanwhile, Pinterest is full of shitty ads if you turn off your uBlock, and the only other revenue stream I can think of is Amazon affiliate stuff, which has probably dried up now that Amazon turned off that pipe.
If anything, just seems like Pinterest has big execution problems more than business-model problems.
1. Commission earnings from inserting their own affiliate identifier into pins to things on Amazon. I'm not aware of what other sites they earn commission from, but that has probably dried up some as Amazon's commission structure changed. Notably they now allow users to post/pin things with links containing user's affiliate code.
2. Paid promotion for user pins, something in between "native ads" and "search ads". Pretty common for anything that might be considered a marketplace, but it works on Pinterest I guess.
3. Sponsored video content to play along paid promoted pins, not unlike Snapchat's corp paid video content.
Also, Pinterest's demographics are VERY desirable to marketers.
I search images these days and I click a result only to be thrown into a Pintrest on-boarding flow and unable to get the image I wanted.
Honestly think they should be banned from Image Search results.
I thought one of the best use cases was as a wishlist, but that's not gonna work with a registration wall.