Pinterest Business Model – How does Pinterest make money?


Social Networks have revolutionized the world in countless ways. Evidently, Pinterest has had a fairly prominent role in the process. The premium social network was launched in 2010. Since its launch, the forum has been nothing less of an ultimate successful venture.

With over 100 million active users, Pinterest has a market value of approximately $13 billion. The social networking website has cemented its place in the social media sphere with its unique design.

However, the question of how does Pinterest make money has still been a complex topic for discussion.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest has the honor of being one of the fastest-growing social networks. Furthermore, the venture capitalists absolutely loved it as a startup, and they still do. A social network that lets users save and share pictures, does not look like something new. However, it was an exciting new innovation in the field of real-time communication back in 2010.

The uniqueness of the forum lies in its mechanism. Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest stores users’ favorite content in the form of pins. What is a pin? It is a kind of a visual bookmark which redirects the user to the website it was created when it was clicked on.

In comparison to other social media platforms, Pinterest did not have any particular target audience. The social network was there for any and everyone to share their content of interests.

How does it work?

As mentioned earlier, Pinterest follows an unusual mechanism of storing users’ data online by pinning images and content. It connects millions of users worldwide who have pinned billions of content pieces. The content ranges from architecture, clothing, design, fan art, interior design, places tutorials and what not!


Business Model

One of the major factors of Pinterest’s instant and substantial success was the clarity in their motive. From the word go, the platform was following a web social catalog business model.

Due to the involvement of pins and pinboards in its business model, the platform was quickly recognized as a dedicated social networking platform.

As of today, the business model of Pinterest includes E-commerce, cataloging, and content aspects with a small portion of social networking features. Much like it’s competitors (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.), Pinterest also has an advertising revenue model which benefits from the users’ urge to visiting the ad websites.


If we are to summarize the entirety of Pinterest into a single component, it would be the pins in the social networking platform.

Pinterest serves as a catalog to save and share pins. When a user registers on the platform, it gives them the right to save anything they like on the internet in the form of pins.


Although separate pins for separate content is extremely convenient for the majority of people. However, for some of us control freaks, it would be better to group similar kinds of content in a major category. Pinboards are exactly that. A pinboard gives the user the right to gather similar pins under a group. Now since pinboards become clusters of information, they can be useful when shared with people looking for a specific topic. So, pinboards have two categories; private and public pinboards. Public pins and pinboards are viewable to every user.

Promoted pins

Since Pinterest does not have any implicit method of attracting revenue, it allows users to share promoted pins. Promoted pins are advertisements, paid content by renowned sponsors. These pins are camouflaged among the normal user-content pins, but they serve as potential ads.

Pinterest: Money-making strategy

Since its start in 2010, Pinterest had no revenue model till 2013. When in 2013, the platform introduced promoted pins. Basically, promoted pins is a new name for the promotion of advertisements. They seem identical to normal pins. However, they are not.

In actuality, promoted pins are advertisements in the form of pins on the user dashboard. The promoted pins can be searched through the search results and can be found in a number of places on Pinterest.

The basic idea is to promote the product of the identified sponsor, which redirects to the sponsor’s website or application.

Suited for Businesses, why?

In modern days, a number of businesses prefer investing much of their resources in marketing on Pinterest than on other social networking websites. Why is that so?

The main reason is the self-creation of a marketing niche on the platform.

Pinterest has millions of users who form pinboards which are accessible by other millions of users. Now, when content is present in the form of clusters, it is easier for different marketers to showcase their content and engage maximum audience response as compared to the scarce placing of advertisements in other social networking platforms.

According to a recent survey, almost 96% of users in the past 6 months reported that they use Pinterest to research and gather information. Another 93% reported that they use Pinterest to plan for purchases.

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