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When Pinterest was first launched in 2010, it was an unknown little cranny of the internet. Amassing a small following, mainly of micro-bloggers who wanted a more visual experience, it remained in relative obscurity.
That is, until 2011 when a surge in popularity put it in the top ten list of social networks. Then, between January and February 2012, the site had grown by a staggering 85%. Making it an undeniable hit that has continued to grow more and more ever since.
But what is it about the site that makes it so special? How come people are so addicted to pinning? What is its draw for the more than 60% female user base?
It is hard to say, for sure. But we can make a few leaps and guess some of the elements that have turned Pinterest into such a massive success in a time where social media sites are everywhere.
The Visual Element
Social media was made for sharing. For most sites that is a rule of communication, with more text than anything else. Even links often lead to text-based websites. But Pinterest is entirely based around the visual, with little to no text necessary. Especially with the internal linking system, which has so many images repinned from within the site itself rather than from a third party where you would have to provide credit.
There is something relaxing about being able to work with photos and nothing else. Plus, it is a great way to inform, catch users attention and provide viral content. Making it perfect for both professional and personal use.
The Product Potential
Businesses have been seeing the way that Pinterest can be used for marketing products and services in a way completely different than on other social media sites. Because it provides both a picture and the ability to link it off site, the uses for ecommerce are exciting. Especially for small businesses that need an affordable way to go social.
While companies have jumped into other sites, like Facebook and Twitter, people are visual creatures. So their target audience can be better drawn with the use of images. Plus, you can promote sales, deals and new items you have just released. All with a simple ‘pin’ and next to no effort.
The Collecting Nature
Humans are eager collectors, and are attracted to the idea of sentimentality and practicality in that collecting. So is it any surprise that we are so addicted to a site that is dependent on that concept? Graphic designers can collect typography and logos. Fashion enthusiasts can collect runway and magazine photos. Foodies can collect dish pictures. DIY fanatics can collect project ideas. Brands are collecting testimonials (you can see MyBlogGuest testimonials on Pinterest as an example)… and the list goes on.
Pinterest is a literal digital pinboard. It exists for the sole purpose of giving people a place to collect photos, ideas and inspiration. Everyone can enjoy that.
The Dumb Luck
Finally, you have what I believe is at least a fair part of it: luck. Sure, the idea for Pinterest is really cool. It has an innovative design, covered a part of social media that had gone largely ignored by other sites, reached a female demographic that isn’t always so easy to get and ultimately made something both fun and functional.
But many sites have come and gone in the past that have been able to make something really interesting and new. They just don’t find the success that Pinterest has, especially so quickly. Which is why I believe that somethings it is just the luck of the draw that gives certain ideas a boost over others, and leads to success.
Why do you think Pinterest is such a success? Let us know in the comments.