Pinterest has sparked fevered excitement amongst marketers in recent weeks. The pinboard-based photo-sharing website first launched quietly in late 2009 but was only recently opened up to invitation only registration.
But since late last year, the site’s traffic has grown on a near-exponential curve. ComScore recently recorded monthly unique visitors in the US at 11.7 million, making Pinterest the fastest site ever to break through 10 million users in the US.
In Europe, growth has been fastest in the UK, most likely due to the shared language with the US, and had 245,000 unique visitors in January.
With an iPhone app already released and new apps for the other leading mobile platforms, Pinterest looks set to continue to enjoy further rapid growth this year.
But why is Pinterest so popular? Pinterest taps into an existing human desire, to share great things with others, and makes it simple, fast and rewarding. There’s a brilliantly-designed validation mechanism baked into the default settings which notifies you by email of others’ interactions with your pins. Seeing this near-instant interaction with content you have shared provides a powerful reward mechanism for users, thereby encouraging repeat visits and deeper engagement. Pinterest also continues, despite its dizzying growth, to tap into the scarcity principle by requiring new users to request or receive an invite before they can register to the site.
It’s clever stuff, playing subtly on some of the most powerful psychological triggers in use on the social web today. And the users love it!
But, more than anything, Pinterest is just a joy to use. So easy, so quick, so seamless. They’ve nailed simplicity into everything, and once a user has added the Pin It bookmark to their browser they have the easiest and friendliest way imaginable to share the great things they discover online.
So is Pinterest unstoppable? Despite all its current meteoric success, from what I’ve seen so far I doubt Pinterest has sufficient depth and longevity to remain a standalone platform for long. It would, however, make a great addition to the core functionality of some of the existing networks like Facebook, Flickr or Google+. How long before one of these big players decides to snap up a bargain?
Still not tried Pinterest? I’ve been collating up some of the best social media related infographics I come across on the web. Please take a look through my Social Web Factoids board and enjoy: http://pinterest.com/allisterf/social-web-factoids/