Pinterest is Filing for an IPO to Branch Away From Traditional Social Networks

According to an article on Social Media Today, the social media platform known as Pinterest is reportedly aiming to launch its initial public offering (IPO) in June of 2019. This action will cause Pinterest to shift their performance data into the public eye as well as potentially change the way Pinterest operates in the future.

Pinterest wouldn’t be the first social media network to file for an IPO. Facebook listed back in 2012, Twitter followed in 2013 and Snap Inc. in 2017. Going public has caused Facebook to have increased success time and time again, where Twitter and Snap Inc. haven’t been so lucky. Twitter at times struggled under the increased market scrutiny. Twitter is even still trying to change the narrative around active users and the comparison with Facebook. Snap Inc. has also faced intense pressure that forced it to change its broader trajectory.

While both Twitter and Snapchat have been in more direct comparison with Facebook, Pinterest has been working to separate itself from the traditional social media networks. Pinterest has continued to note they are not a social network and have instead described themselves as a ‘discovery engine’ and ‘a catalog of ideas’. Few would argue that the social elements of Pinterest are as prevalent as they once were. Pinterest’s statement seeks to re-focus the narrative around the company. This action will most likely cause Pinterest to stop being compared to Facebook as much as prior to the IPO filing, although it will most likely face new scrutiny.

One of the biggest threats for Pinterest is the new market it’s trying to branch into, product discovery, is owned by Google. Pinterest will seek to boost ad revenue through direct response, on-platform purchases and improved contextual discovery, through the use of tools like ‘Shop the Look’ Pins and evolving visual search capacity. Google is essentially trying to advance its options along the same lines. Once Pinterest goes public and comes under increasing market scrutiny, Google may choose to take the Facebook route and use that as a cue to heap the pressure by launching similar tools. Google has already begun keeping tabs on Pinterest as early as last year. Google launched an updated image search layout, using a Pinterest-like format, that included additional and contextual search tabs to further refine users’ searches.

I personally never viewed Pinterest as a social media network because I always used it as a more user friendly version of Google where I’m able to save images onto boards to rediscover later. I think Pinterest should continue to stress that they are not a social network cite to lessen the comparisons made between them and Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. I think Pinterest is doing the right thing by filing for an IPO because it could offer many opportunities for Pinterest to grow. I know something I always wish Pinterest did was show me where I could buy the items in the pictures. For them to want to be seen as a place people look to for purchasing items is a great goal for the company because I think most people already think of them as a place to go to discover new ideas.

Pinterest filing for an IPO will have a huge impact on how businesses operate on the site. I think more businesses and brands will start to invest more time and resources into Pinterest because it will officially be known as a site to go to in order to shop for items. Previously, I think most people associated Pinterest as a digital mood board and a place to find DIY projects. I also think the brands and businesses currently on the platform might have to put more emphasize on their products people can directly buy instead of just promotional materials.

The biggest downfall I could see for Pinterest in the future is many bloggers may no longer use the platform. Pinterest will begin to be flooded with users looking to buy products, not to read about the Europe vacation packing tips or holiday cookie recipes. Bloggers might have to start venturing out to other platforms that will allow them to reach and grow their audience.

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