Pinterest is different.
And not just because the latest "it" site on the social Web is growing astronomically fast. In fact, at almost 12 million monthly users, it has reached the 10 million-user mark faster than any other independent site (i.e., sites with built-in users like Google +). This is a remarkable achievement when you consider that less than a year ago in May of 2011 it only had a little over 400K visitors. Moreover, it's still in an invite-only beta release (although invites are easy to get from other members).
The difference is the people using Pinterest. Normally, you expect to see early growth coming from the social-media-savvy, urban-tech-center, early-adopter crowd. However, Pinterest has gained huge popularity with a very specific demographic: mid to upper middle-class woman, between the ages of 18-44 who predominantly live in the heartland of America. In addition, 97% of Pinterest's 1M+ Facebook fans are women.
Some are comparing it to Facebook, but it's more along the lines of StumbleUpon in two ways. First, it relies on users who have similar interests to provide you with interesting content. Second, you can easily log on to the site and look up wondering where the past two hours have gone.
The uses for Pinterest are many and varied. However, from a branding and sales point of view, Pinterest holds a lot of promise. A recent report showed that Pinterest drove more referral traffic to Web sites than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined. Online discount retailer ideeli.com said that their Web traffic increased nearly 450% thanks to Pinterest. So it's no wonder that Pinterest also boasts many major brands like Lowes, Whole Foods and HGTV among its account holders. (Btw, it is interesting to note that the little-heard-from-or-talked-about StumbleUpon was second only to Facebook in referrals and better than Google.)
The Duffy Agency often tells our clients that whenever possible show, don't tell. That is, showing how your product works is better than telling people how it works. Pinterest allows brands to not only pin their products, but also build a brand personality through the pinboards they create. Whole Foods, for example, has boards dedicated to delicious foods. But they also have boards for recycling, health, organic gardening, and their Whole Planet Foundation. These boards are not only visually stunning, but also quickly tell the story of the brand and reinforce brand values. They show people what their brand stands for instead of telling them.
It will be interesting to see how Pinterest progresses in the coming year. We see Pinterest as an amazing new tool to help build our clients' brands (especially international brands since the site relies on pictures and not words).
But we're interested in what you think? What do you see as the big potential for Pinterest? How are you using Pinterest?
And, btw, if you would like an invite to Pinterest, feel free to email me.
(To see how The Duffy Agency is using it, check out our page.)