How does Pinterest make money?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, the common point among all these social media platforms is that they improve communication. Simply put, they have changed the way people communicate with each other. But there is one application that is quite different from these social media applications but is still considered a social media platform. 

Any guesses? If you have read the title you would have already known that we’re talking about Pinterest.

Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. The idea of Pinterest is quite simple. Whenever a user finds content or product that is interesting or any way related to them they can save and share it as pins. To make it simple for you, these pins are the digital bookmarks of the content or products that will redirect you to that particular website it was created for. 

Aesthetic wallpapers, beauty tips, DIY tips, sketching tips, latest products, interesting recipes, etc these are some of the pins that you will commonly find in a Pinterest feed. If you’re someone who likes collecting images or content that interests them, then you will like this application. 

Let’s dive deep into the History of Pinterest

History of Pinterest 

In the words of Pinterest founders, this platform is the world’s catalog of ideas. Their ultimate goal is to help people find content (things) that interests them and try it out in their daily lives. This platform was founded back in 2010 by Evan Sharp, Ben Silbermann, and Paul Sciarra. Since then no looking back. The application has gained massive popularity, it has more than 320 million monthly active user base across the globe. When it was just 2 years old, this platform had gained around 10 million unique audiences, isn’t it amazing?

This platform has become quite popular with its audience to discover new things every single day. It has around 200 billion pins for them to browse through. From shopping to hacks you will find new things every day. Most importantly if used right, Pinterest can become an excellent marketing tool for businesses. 

Some of the interesting Stats of Pinterest

  • Pinterest has around 51 million international monthly users
  • More than 70% of Pinterest users are Woman 
  • 80% of woman use this platform to plan their life moments
  • More than 50% of users spent around $500 or more on beauty products within 6 months
  • Around 52% of millennials use this platform
  • Pinterest users use the application at least once a week. 

Why is it most effective for businesses?

The best thing about this platform is that it doesn’t have a specific audience. So it has a diverse group of users, predominantly women. If you have seen the recent stats mentioned above you would have understood it. But another interesting statistic is that around 40% of dads in the United States use this platform to plan for their fatherhood. As you have seen people of all ages are using this platform, you can reach your demographics quite easily. This isn’t a platform just with pretty pictures, it directs users on a path to purchase an item.

More than 93% of people have said that they use this platform to plan their future purchases. So if you upload your product catalog on this platform with all the required details along with your link that redirects them to the checkout page, once they reach the checkout page there are high chances of them purchasing.

Let the numbers speak, around 45% of users are using this platform specifically for shopping. This platform is generating 4X times more sales compared to other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This platform has created a niche for marketers to tap into for marketers. As you see here users are searching for the pins based on their interests, so the brands will have a high click-through rate for advertisements and more people will convert to. Around 95% of people have said that they use this platform to research and gather information about products.  

Pinterest business model 

As you have already understood Pinterest allows users to save or share by pinning the content or images. Back in 2010, this platform started out as a social catalog business model that allowed people to share and save their interests. But more people started recognizing it as a social networking platform as it has public pins and pinboards that people can reshare and repin. As of today, this platform has evolved a lot; it has now e-commerce, product catalogs along with the sharing, and saving pins. Around 85% have said that Pinterest engagement has played a major role in their purchase decision.

Like any other social media platform, Pinterest is also an advertisement revenue model i.e., it makes revenue through advertisements. This platform benefits from the users that visit it. Although it has not yet unleashed its full potential in revenue generation. But it is going in the right direction. 

Before you go any further you must understand the primary elements of this business model

  • Pins
  • Pinboards
  • Promoted Pins
  • Buyable Pins


As you know this platform is a catalog to save and share pins. So after registration, the users will find different pins that are related to the interests they have submitted to Pinterest in their feed. If they like any feed they will automatically save the pin to their account for future reference. You can even download these images to your phone.


Pinboard is a collection of pins related to a particular niche. For example, if you’re someone who loves watches then you can create a separate pinboard for watches and save all watch related pins there. This way you will not lose any of your pins and having labels will make them easy to find. 

Promoted Pins

Promoted Pins are the revenue source for the Pinterest i.e., advertisements/ paid content. These advertisements are given by the sponsors in the form of pins. Such pins although they look like normal pins on your feed they’re quite different. Like other social media platforms, Pinterest also targets these promotional pins to the users based on their demographics, interests, searches, etc. Simply put, this is how Pinterest makes money.

Buyable Pins 

Pinterest has also introduced the checkout option like Facebook and other social media platforms. The users can now purchase directly from this platform without going to the merchant’s website. But it doesn’t charge them any fees from the merchant. The only purpose of introducing the buying option is to improve the user experience. But this service is offered to only merchants who use Shopify, BigCommerce, or Salesforce Commerce cloud. It is not known if the Pinterest charges any commission from them. Not only them, but Pinterest is also in contract with the digital wallets companies Braintree and Stripe. These wallets are used to store the customer card details and conduct the transaction on the platform itself.

Until 2013, Pinterest was just a social catalog, it didn’t have any revenue source until it launched the promoted pins or advertisements. These are a win-win situation for both users and advertisers as they both get what they want. The reach depends on the sponsor’s bids. And the bids depend on the demographic and interest factors. 

Bottom line 

Pinterest is quite different compared to other social media platforms. While the other platforms promote communication, this platform helps the users in finding new things related to their interests. As it doesn’t have a specific age group, marketers can tap into this platform to promote their products. Interest in learning more about such social media platforms make money, then check out our other articles on various business models.
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