In recent months, Pinterest has gained significant traffic, raising questions about its long-term viability for advertisers. I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me—in fact, it’s packed away with all my other prognostication devices, but according to my recently downloaded ‘Magic 8 Ball App’, I should “Ask again later.”
For now, I’ll tell you a little about the service, and the potential behind it. Pinterest is a collaborative photo sharing network that allows users to create, share, and manage boards based on particular interests. Pinterest is similar to tumblr, but they’ve gone a step further—they’ve made their platform fun, intuitive, and very attractive to brands.
Pinterest appeals to the sensibilities of scrapbookers and mood boarders of yore—the dull procedure of clipping photos of your Aunt Debbie has been replaced with digitally pinning expensive handbags and outfits that Debbie ought to consider. Pinterest has pushed the scrapbooking function further by allowing you to manage and share boards with people—creating conversations and communities around shared interests. Pinterest, in this sense, succeeds over tumblr’s reblogging functions, which allows little in way of dialogue. This is part of the reason why Pinterest’s user base is growing at an exponential rate, and why advertisers are flocking to it.
Tumblr has gone on record as saying it’s opposed to advertising, and this could hurt them in the long run because brands have been proliferating and profiting off of Pinterest’s tumblr-like format. Certainly, in the same fashion that Facebook was able to cut into MySpace’s userbase, we’re going to see the same dynamic occur with Pinterest and tumblr in the months ahead.
One reason for this shift is Pinterest’s focus on the user experience and a friendly interface. Pinterest has made their dashboard feel alive with its focus on user collaboration—its aesthetics have a unified feel; each user’s profile page looks the same, making it feel like they've taken a page right out of Facebook’s 'simple profile design' playbook. Pinterest has also made image scanning conducive with its side-to-side book reading approach, while tumblr remains content with its clunky, archaic top-to-bottom scrolling interface.
Tumblr still offers a decent blogging component currently missing from Pinterest’s interface. However, blogging isn’t the focus here; Pinterest knows what it wants to be. Now go make your Aunt Debbie happy. Start pinning away.