On the first day of its IPO, Pinterest launched at $19/share and closed at $24.40 (+28.42i%), giving it a first day market valuation of $24.9B. In our rush to look innovative and our obsession with "what those kids are doing today," we spend a lot of time talking about sexy new startups that shoot up with hockey stick growth like Snapchat, TikTok, Buzzfeed and many others. Associations with these media allow brands to test new audiences, brainstorm creatively, be part of the national zeitgeist and, if we are being honest, have a greater appeal to those planning media than older, more staid media partners.
Or we speak, rightfully so, about the Goliaths in the industry like Facebook, Google, Amazon and others for their ability to drive incredible reach, generate data (with all that entails) like no other previous media entities and establish themselves as part of the daily routine for literally billions of consumers worldwide.
Then there is a site like Pinterest -- a media company that is based on consumer-generated content yet has avoided many of the brand safety and data pitfalls of others. A media property that has triggered millions to try new recipesand attempt DIY projects that they never would have, and designed more weddings and Bar Mitzvahs than most planning partners put together. Yet, Pinterest is the Rodney Dangerfield of social media. (Millennials and younger, please watch the movie Back to School immediately and IMDB Rodney.)
As an industry leader I spoke with recently said, "If Pinterest were a wedding guest, it would have definitely been on the 'B' list." It just isn't spoken of in the same, must-buy tone that other media properties receive. Which may be a miss. It has 250MM unique global visitors per month (125MM in the U.S.) which qualifies as high reach by any measure. More importantly, it has an incredibly strong connection with consumers. In our most recent The Myers Report Media Brand Equity Valuation study, a survey that evaluates eight key attributes in brand perception on over 150 media brands within 1,200 agency and marketer leaders, Pinterest was highly rated on Sustainability (which measures the ability of the brand to thrive in a new media world) at a 114 index and Affinity (the emotional connection between the brand and the audience) with a 119 index. Further, Pinterest reaches 83% of U.S. women 25-54.
Pinterest has a robust ad business, but it trails its peers. Why is that? It could be that that its female skew cuts out a portion of marketers looking to reach Millennial males, although male usage of Pinterest is growing. It also could be that Pinterest's ad content is fairly limited to "promoted Pins" which are effective in that they can be targeted by age, audience and search relevancy and almost exactly resemble Pinterest content; but they lack major sponsorship marquis ad units and video ad placements. Going forward as a public company, upping their advertising offering while balancing consumer experience should be a top priority.
As our research shows, Pinterest has a strong, loyal user base that sees longevity unencumbered by brand safety challenges to date. It is also a media property whose very essence is to inspire creativity and innovation across several consumer and small business use cases. That hyper-focus on creating is fertile ground for marketers seeking to engage with consumers who demonstrate intent and can be reached at moments where they are open to relevant messages. It's still a bit of a sleeping giant, but there is every opportunity for Pinterest to show even stronger growth with a wider palette of creative units and sponsorships to offer marketers.
Disclosure: I have no current direct financial position in Pinterest.
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