Pinterest doubles the number of creators. In fact, it triples. Yesterday, the platform announced that it would add $1.2 million to its Creator Fund, a sum set aside to provide resources (cash grants, equipment and advertising credits) to Pinterest creators from underrepresented backgrounds. (which Pinterest defines as people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community). The news follows last year’s announcement that the company would set aside $500,000 to start the fund.
Money and resources will be distributed to individual creators who apply (you must already have 1,000+ followers on the platform), along with training from Pinterest and relationships with sponsor advertisers. The platform is rolling out the program in four tiers this year, starting with a focus on fashion and beauty. Later this year, Pinterest will be accepting entries from creators in the food, lifestyle (which includes home content), and wellness categories.
The move has resonance both within Pinterest itself and in the broader social media landscape. While the platform has carved out a valuable niche as the internet’s definitive tool for gathering and curating inspiring visuals, its growth has slowed somewhat. After a pandemic start of 478 million active users, Pinterest has now fallen to 431 million, which is still higher than 2019 numbers, but not the direction the company wants to go, especially since its competitor TikTok is increasing its growth to more than a billion active users. users.
Bringing creators — who drive obsessive engagement beyond “I need a quick video chat fix” — into the mix is a way for Pinterest to attract new eyeballs and deepen its relationship with its existing users. It’s also kind of new territory for the 12-year-old platform, which had largely been content to stake its niche as a curation engine. There is a lot of Things on Pinterest, but not as many people, which the company hopes to change in recent years.
“When we were talking to Pinterest users…we were like, ‘What’s the most inspiring thing for you?'” Naveen Gavinicompany product manager, said Protocol Last year. “They would respond with one person, ‘My mum is really inspiring.’ “This public figure is inspiring.”
To that end, Pinterest has rolled out a number of creator-friendly features, such as “Idea Pins,” a feature that lets users create Snapchat-like stories, and a “Watch” tab that highlights content. video. The platform has also enabled content to be shared across multiple platforms (you can now share Pinterest creations on TikTok, for example) with the aim of inviting creators working elsewhere to try Pinterest.
Funding direct to creators is just the latest step in a concerted effort to get more people on Pinterest. In this, the company is not alone. The last five years have seen a huge spending spree as various platforms have actively courted creators with direct cash payments. According to TechCrunch, TikTok has a $200 million fund to pay creators; Meta pledged $1 billion for creator bonus programs; and YouTube says it has spent $30 billion on creators over the past three years. Even Pinterest itself has another fund, totaling $20 million, set aside to reward creators for participating in various challenges.
Pinterest allocating this fund specifically to creators from underrepresented backgrounds also fits into the broader cultural landscape. In the aftermath of the 2020 racial reckoning, social media platforms sought to diversify both their own staff and their roster of creators – Instagram earmarked $25 million for black creators, while YouTube allocated $100 million. Spotify recently announced a $100 million fund for underrepresented creators.
In recent years, funding direct creators has become a go-to decision for social media platforms, whether recognizing the cultural moment, addressing societal injustices, attracting a wider audience, or making all of the above at once. Just as the global economy is in labor shortage, platforms desperately need a diversity of talent, and they are willing to pay for it.
Homepage image: Courtesy of Pinterest