Is Pinterest gearing up to be the next big thing in search marketing?
Often you are defined by the way you see yourself and it appears that by such logic, a leading visual discovery tool brand is gearing up to take the search marketing industry by storm.
It was a quiet evening down at the Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco yesterday, and an understandably small crowd had gathered for the company’s scheduled Q&A session with their head of engineering, Michael Lopp. However, what emerged from what could turn out to be a momentous night is that Pinterest is hugely ambitious, and clearly regards itself as an ever-evolving tool capable of taking the world of search to the next level.
According to Lopp, Pinterest is much more than merely a “scrap-booking” website, or even an item locator site; Pinterest now regards itself as an alternate source of conducting personalised search which combines the best elements of the search and discovery process to deliver hugely engaging results.
And as the image below suggest, Pinterest believes it is capable of delivering superior answers to certain types of user queries than the kings of the search engine world, Google.
Pinterest highlighted that since they unveiled their “Guided” Search facility just over half a year ago, their search volume figures per active user rose by a hugely credible 25%. They also reaffirmed that 75% of all their direct traffic is sourced from mobile devices, suggesting that it is on the mobile search landscape that they believe they have the best chance of chipping away at the unwavering market share dominance of Google.
Already a global phenomenon, Pinterest is currently available worldwide in 32 languages and has offices in 5 major countries (U.S.A, G.B, Germany, Japan & Brazil) .The company estimates that they currently have a whopping 30 billion Pins “within their system” with this figure forecasted to grow by 25% every quarter from now.
As the graphic above illustrates, Pinterest is attempting to utilise personalisation in order to outstrip Google – a technique which is beginning to rise in prominence and should ascend to the forefront of marketing strategies over the next few years. Already, major organisations such as Four Square have chosen to re-brand and adopt a personalised approach to promoting their company because it appears that in today’s marketing world, the consumer is only interested in what a business can do for them personally, rather than being told what is best for them by the transcendent and omnipotent advertising machine.
Whilst Google has gone to great lengths to ensure that their search engine is optimised for semantic inference and ultra-precise results, they have still make full use of personalisation in the manner in which they promote their search engine and its capabilities. Such negligence on the part of Google is rare and will most likely be rectified sooner rather than later, which means that there is a small window for Pinterest right now to assert themselves as the personalised search engine to use if you want to enjoy a hybrid experience which optimises your discovery process and search results at the same time.
Whether Pinterest will be able to capitalise on the gap in the market for an ultra-personal hybrid search tool is up in the air, though it does appear the future seems bright for the once one-dimensional organisation and questions will undoubtedly be raised about whether they will be the one who finally brings a degree of balance back into the search industry.
The only problem appears to be that the company is seen as a “women’s site” by some, which could alienate a percentage of the market, though the company has gone to great lengths to rubbish such a notion, using a plethora of statistics to do so…
Pinterest have sought to quash the idea that they are primarily a “women’s site”, pointing out that there is a 50/50 gender divide in the user bases in India, Korea and Japan. Whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with primarily appealing to a female audience (indeed 80% of purchase decisions in the U.S are made by women) it is clear that Pinterest feels it needs to have a cross-gender appeal in order to truly take the search market by storm.
They also highlighted that almost a third of all their new users are male and that male usage of Pinterest is actually growing at a rapider rate than the female population on the website. Upon initial reflection this appears accurate considering that it is men who are new to the site and comprise the bulk of the minority audience at present.
And just to confirm to every stubborn and somewhat conservative man they are fully in their rights to break the mould and join the platform, Pinterest said that the quantity of their active male user base has actually rose by double during the last year, emphatically announcing that there are now “more men using Pinterest in the U.S. than read Sports Illustrated and GQ combined.”