Pinterest Media Partnerships Exec Talks Stats, Updates and Priorities


Pinterest has captured the fancy not only of skiers, gourmet cooks and brides-to-be, but also media executives thanks to its high referral traffic. Robert Macdonald, an avid skier recently hired to head Pinterest’s media partnerships said the platform’s dynamic reminds him of when he used to find and clip ski images from magazines, then saved them for future reference. In his new role he’s focused on ecommerce and monetization plans for Pinterest.

While those programs are still a work in progress, Macdonald spoke recently at Association of Magazine Media/ MPA’s Audience 2.0 event in New York. There he discussed Pinterest’s mojo, key statistics and analytics, latest and planned features, how it’s different from other social platforms, and future priorities, such as video.

Usage statistics:

Macdonald shared key data points that show Pinterest’s ongoing appeal.

  • Overall there are 30 billion pins organized into 750 million boards.
  • There are over 60 million monthly users, with 75% of usage coming from mobile.
  • 70% of users are women. (Note: per TechCrunch article, male users are growing fast, and usage by gender is more evenly balanced in emerging countries.)
  • The average pin is repinned, or shared, 11 times.

Pinterest Skis Image Resized

Content and sources:

“The majority of content comes from brands and media companies and 10% of all pins are based on articles”, Macdonald said. Notably, most Pinterest content is evergreen. For example, in a holiday related project they’re working on with The New York Times, they’re incorporating recent food related articles and recipes as well as those from a few years ago.

Goals and processes:

Simply put, “Pinterest helps people find things they love, through their interests and passions, and inspire them to do things in life”, said Macdonald. The process is also straightforward, and involves users discovering, or finding the pins in their feeds through search, saving, or collecting pins on boards, and taking actions, like learning, based on what they saved.

Features for media sites to use:

Macdonald reviewed key how-to features for any sites who want to incorporate Pinterest.

  • There’s a ‘pin it’ button across the site.
  • The SDK feature activates mobile pinning.
  • The ‘follow’ button allows readers to share.
  • Sites can showcase content by using pin widgets, board widgets and profile widgets.
  • They’re testing a tool that will credit original sources of images, like photographers.

Analytics 2.0 Data:

Pinterest data reveals what’s trending, key audience demographics, what devices pinners are using and where they’re saving their content. “The most popular pins also have value as story fodder”, Macdonald said.

Differences vs. other digital platforms:

Macdonald, a former Google executive, said Pinterest is more similar to the search platform in terms of discovery, but with a focus on visuals. He also views Pinterest as more of a personal platform than other social media. He noted that many users keep their boards secret, like when they’re planning for major occasions such as weddings.

Overall he sees Pinterest serving mainly as a future planning device, while Twitter is more about sharing current news, and Instagram and Facebook focus on documenting and sharing past activities.

Moving forward – videos and ecommerce:

“Most of Pinterest’s usage now is around images, but video is a huge growth opportunity. We’re integrating video into our systems, and we anticipate more people pinning video content in the future”, Macdonald said.

“Over time, Pinterest will become a monetization vehicle”, he added. First they need to better understand the referral traffic, or the pin cycle, since these users exhibit highly qualified intent. They’re in the process of figuring out how to add value via ecommerce.

Many parts of the country were blanketed in snow and fog this week, so hopefully those plans will become clearer before the upcoming ski season draws to a close.

(Image courtesy of Pinterest)