Advertisers remain optimistic about Pinterest despite decreased users in Q1

Pinterest’s Q1 results reveal global dips in monthly active users and slowing revenue growth. Advertisers, however, are still enthusiastic about Pinterest’s effectiveness, with the platform’s firm stance against disinformation and fake news proving to be a significant draw for placement of campaigns.

Pinterest is a globally used social media platform where users can discover, store and share visual inspiration through ‘pinboards’. The platform also functions as a visual search engine, and is a highly effective tool for marketers and advertisers alike.

Despite the platform’s global reach, it has seen sluggish growth in its Q1 results, with global monthly active users falling from 478 million to 433 million. Despite this disappointing slump, revenue has grown by 0.3%, to $574.885 million from $485.23 million.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine means Pinterest has reported a concerning dip in total active users in the European region, with a drop of 12% from 136 million to 120 million.

Despite this, advertisers note European tensions are unequivocally affecting all platforms, and similar trends in user numbers are to be expected across the board.

“Europe is presently facing disruptions that no one else is as severely. For the next 3-6 months, Europe will struggle in all kinds of ways, and if Russia’s aggression is not stemmed or settled, it might only get worse,” said Steve Allen, director of strategy and research at Pearman Media and former managing director of Essence Media.

In a letter to shareholders, Pinterest reported the war was the primary cause of decreased monthly active users across the globe. However, monthly active users around the world dropped off in Q1, with Pinterest reporting 94 million monthly active users in the US and Canada, a notable decrease of 13% down from 109 million as at Q4 2021.

An early crusader against misinformation 

Pinterest was an early adopter when it came to banning anti-vaccination and climate-related propaganda on its platform, leading the crusade against disinformation long before Facebook and Twitter. In early 2021, Pinterest explicitly banned all anti-vaccination search results, a move that generated “good optics” for the company as noted by Chris Walton, managing director of Nunn Media.

“It is hard to think of any advertiser who wouldn’t want their brand to appear in a more trusted environment than a lesser trusted environment. The very nature of Pinterest makes it less of a haven for fake news anyhow,” Walton added.

The anti-misinformation policies don’t just apply to content on the platform, though – they also apply to ads, meaning advertisers should be discerning about the perspectives their campaigns embody should they choose to advertise on Pinterest.

Pinterest’s April 2022 announcement of a comprehensive misinformation policy designed to combat false and misleading claims around climate change on its platform means that Pinterest can actively remove content that hints at climate change denial and refusal of human influence on the climate.

This latest move makes Pinterest the first major digital platform to introduce such vehement misinformation guidelines. The new policies possess a stark contrast to Meta, who have so far resisted calls to remove climate misinformation altogether.

When asked if it was ‘safer’ to advertise on a platform with these disinformation values, Allen said, “definitely”.

“The social digital space is awash with assertions, fabrications, opinions and lies. Anything that seeks to stem this is a huge step forward,” he added.

Eco-friendly values make the platform desirable for ‘green’ brands

Pinterest’s climate-friendly values are also reflected in their new ‘Creator Originals’ content series, a first-ever original content initiative on the platform which will be led by creators from all across the world and focus on areas like upcycling clothing, thrifting, and minimisation of food waste.

Notably, Pinterest will be offering ad credits to several climate-focused organisations including Potential Energy Coalition and Project Drawdown. Pinterest occasionally runs offers for marketers, where advertisers may be eligible for credits, which are promotional amounts that are added to the account for ad spend.

These progressions have increasingly made Pinterest a more desirable advertising option for brands with a focus on ecological sustainability. The nexus of values formed through ad spend on Pinterest may contribute to an enhanced depth of eco-friendly brand associations.

A new era of ‘inspo’: will video content always reign supreme?

Other platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are scrambling to replicate TikTok’s unambiguously addictive algorithm that consists solely of short-form, user-generated video content. Tik Tok has maintained its coveted status as the top-grossing app, surpassing $2.5 billion dollars in consumer spending in 2021.

Despite the heightened popularity of video content across digital platforms, Walton suggests that Pinterest’s spot in the marketplace is not losing relevance for advertisers any time soon regardless of its long-standing core focus on static image content.

“Nope, it’s not less relevant [for advertisers]. With all other things being equal, video achieves greater attention levels than static images. However, static images in a highly trusted and engaging environment have the potential to deliver greater value than video in poorer environments, assuming sensible pricing,” he said, indicating that advertisers intuitively perceive lower risk in disseminating their advertisements on Pinterest.

Pinterest has been successful for so long in part due to its singular focus on static visual appeal, with Allen noting that “visual appeal is, I suspect, forging a modest come back.”

“It’s a more creative platform zoning in on visual creativity and expression. One suspects video would be highly disruptive to its appeal,” he added.

The ongoing trend of video content across platforms doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Regardless of Pinterest’s falling global monthly users, some of whom may be victims to this prolific trend, Walton is still highly optimistic about Pinterest’s spot in the advertiser’s digital hierarchy.

“Pinterest is a favorable place to advertise in for certain campaigns. It is a highly trusted reference platform and inspiration tool for many consumers. When you have people coming to a place specifically looking for ideas and inspiration, then for many brands this is a great environment to advertise in,” he said.

Evidently, advertisers discern an intrinsic value in Pinterest. Its combatting of disinformation sees it remain a reliably desirable tool for advertisers despite mediocre Q1 results.


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