Will Pinterest Replace Advertising?

What is Pinterest?

You may have heard of the latest social media phenomenon Pinterest.

Started in March 2010, Pinterest allows its users to create and share theme-based image collections.

According to the site, Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

Pinterest’s Hockey Stick Moment

Pinterest has grown to over 7.21 million registered users as of December 2011.  This is phenomenal growth considering it had only 190,000 registered users as of June.  And more importantly, it’s 11 million weekly visits drove greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube — combined. 

Right now, Pinterest is popular among women who share images of fashion, home decor, recipes and food.  Many claim a serious addiction to it. 

But Pinterest is about much more than women’s apparel. It’s popularity represents a watershed moment in how we discover new products and services.

Call it social discovery

The Shift From Search to Social

When we search for a product on Google, we have to know what we’re searching for. We have to signal our intent to the search engine. Put your query in, get instant results (and ads). 

And since we already know what we’re looking for, we’re well on our way to buying the product already

In marketing parlance, these people are known as bottom of the funnel buyers. 

But sites like Pinterest and Svpply, operate at the top of the funnel. This is where people learn about new products that others like enough to share with the world.  

It’s social product discovery and it may just replace advertising someday. 

Will Mad Men Hate Pinterest?

Advertising’s primary purpose in life is to raise awareness of new products in the consumer’s mind.  The 30-second television commercial has been the ultimate top-of-the-funnel demand generation machine for decades. And I guess you could call the  Google Display network and Facebook Advertising the modern day equivalent. 

But let’s face it. We hate the intrusive nature of advertising. We tolerate it, but we ignore it as much as we can. 

Enter Pinterest, the first real player in the social discovery movement. 

Pinterest Profile

 Just login and and start discovering. You can follow the whole person or just just one of their boards. You can repin other people’s stuff on your board and you can get email notifications when others do the same for you.  

It’s much more visual than Google + or Facebook. You can easily view and interact with all the items on someones’s board.  You don’t have to worry about missing something because it’s already scrolled past your NewsFeed. 

Bottom line, Pinterest makes it easy and fun to discover new products.  And that might be the key to replacing the tired old 30 second commercial. 

Let us know if you need an invite to Pinterest.  Just put your email into the comments below and we’ll send you one ASAP! 


About the Author

Cristi is president and founder of Spark Inbound Marketing, an inbound marketing agency dedicated to high quality content creation and smart strategies to help companies attract more visitors and leads.
  • I must admit it, your point of view is interesting. But, honestly, while I’m reading your article, I don’t really find the strong arguments that could answer the question in the title. It’s like: “Oh, Pinterest is fun and easy and hopefully it will replace the old and tired 30 second commercial.” Just saying. 🙂

    • Alexandra, you’re right. It’s a pretty ambitious title for sure. I guess I needed to blow out the concept of social product discovery a little more. In that way, Pinterest could be a competitor to advertising. Thanks for the feedback though. What else would you like us to write about regarding Pinterest? Thinking about “How to Use Pinterest to Market a Toursism Business” or “How to Increase Your Pinterest Followers”