Why PINS is Winning — Big

Jun 05, 2021

In the last two years, Pinterest has really separated itself when it comes to both user growth and consumer happiness.

One look at the LikeFolio Outlier Discovery Grid tells me everything I need to know about who is winning the hearts and minds of social media consumers:

On the horizontal axis, we plot each brand according to the increase or decrease in social media mentions over the past two-year period. A company located farther to the right indicates faster growth.

On the vertical axis, we plot the Consumer Happiness score for each brand. The higher up a company appears on the grid, the more satisfied its consumers are with the product.

The top-right of the grid is where great companies live — with faster growth and happier customers.

That’s where we find Pinterest.

And it’s no wonder…

Mentions of downloading and using Pinterest have increased by nearly +50% vs. 2019.

In addition, Pinterest edges out more traditional “social” sites when it comes to Consumer Happiness — besting Facebook by more than 20 points.

A lot of this has to do with the underlying use case for each site.

Pinterest doesn’t face the same political hurdles as Facebook, isn’t as reliant on user-generated content as Snapchat, and is actually designed to promote connections between consumers and new brands, products, and ideas.

This is critical, because brands (and advertising) are how these social media sites make money.

It’s estimated that U.S. retail social commerce sales will rise by 34.8% to $36.09 billion in 2021, representing 4.3% of all retail e-commerce sales.

All of the social media platforms on the scatter plot above are focused on improving “shopability” — and the visual-based nature of platforms like Pinterest and Instagram position these channels well for future growth.

But only Pinterest has a “shop mode” to allow users to filter only shoppable pins.

Translation: Consumers actually ask to be served ads, and shop them.

That’s unbelievable.

While other social media platforms try to figure out how to push ads to users without upsetting them too much, Pinterest actually has users begging to see more ads!

According to management, this has increased product searches by 20x since the start of 2020.

LikeFolio data confirms elevated “discovery” on the Pinterest platform. Mentions of discovering a brand or product for purchase on Pinterest have increased by +48% YoY.

While user growth is slowing in the last quarter, engagement of existing users remains high.

It will be critical to monitor whether Apple’s privacy update will disrupt the ability for social sites like Facebook to effectively serve targeted ads.

LikeFolio data does show some signs of YoY weakness out of Facebook and Instagram when it comes to brand discovery. These mentions have dropped -40% and -20% YoY, respectively.

On the flip side, emerging social site TikTok is gaining serious traction with consumers. TikTok discovery mentions have increased +33% YoY and mention volume is building.

Look, it’s a crowded space, and there are only so many ad dollars to go around.

That’s why we’ve been so bullish on Pinterest for so long — because if anyone is going to win this space, it’s going to be the company whose users are growing and happy to be connected with advertisers.

Andy Swan
Founder, LikeFolio