Why is Pinterest trying to be TikTok?

Why is Pinterest trying to be TikTok?

Pinterest’s monthly active users declined despite a revenue report that topped Wall Street estimates. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

TikTok, the short-form video platform that reached over 1 billion monthly active users in September, is forcing other social media companies to adopt new strategies and reinvent themselves to keep up. A recent example is Pinterest.

As Pinterest’s earnings for the quarter ending Dec. 31 beat Wall Street estimates, the platform’s global monthly active user count was down 6% year-over-year. In a possible sign of turmoil within the company, The Information, a technology news site, reported at least seven senior executives left Pinterest recently. Also adding to the turmoil, PayPal considered acquiring Pinterest for $45 billion in October. The deal never happened, however, due to shareholder uncertainty.

Pinterest is a platform where users can create inspirational boards, visually showcase ideas, and explore content related to topics ranging from food to fitness. The company describes itself as a “visual discovery enginewhich began by helping users find answers to questions such as “What should I cook?” and started adding new features like videos to keep its users’ attention and grow. During a conference call with analysts and investors on Feb. 3, Pinterest executives cited short-form video as one of the ways they plan to combat declining user numbers.

“It’s the path to enriching the user experience and connecting with shopping experiences over time,” Pinterest chief financial officer Todd Morgenfeld said on a call with customers. investors and analysts. Pivoting to video “will result in frequency of use, more people on the platform, and over time, a connection to purchases and commerce activity that will differentiate the platform, both concerns users and advertisers”.

Add a short video to a crowded market

Pinterest embedded”idea pins”—which expanded the site’s Story Pins and allowed users to post short videos with enhanced editing capabilities—in May. In October, the platform introduced a “monitoring feature” that mimicked The format of TikTok by allowing users to scroll through short videos. Pinterest also said it would invest $20 million to compensate certain creators.

Freddy Tran Nager, senior lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said users appreciate short videos, but pointed out that the market is oversaturated.

“It’s all over the place so there’s nothing remarkable or innovative about introducing even more short video,” he said. “There are too many on the market right now.”

Instead of trying to exploit TikTok’s market share, he argued that Pinterest should differentiate itself more. “If TikTok is MTV, then Pinterest should try to become HBO, something a little more sophisticated,” Nager said.

Pinterest also has a different user base and audience than platforms like TikTok and Instagram. According to Comscore data cited in Pinterest March 2019 S-1 filingthe platform reaches 80% of American mothers who use the Internet, a key demographic that has significant discretionary purchasing power.

“You could say that — and many marketers have said this, not just myself — older Americans have all the money,” Nager said. “So let TikTok have the teenagers who get an allowance and let [Pinterest] be the domain of professionals, creators, mothers, workers, whoever.

Why is Pinterest trying to be TikTok?