Of course, Pinterest’s age-old image problem remains, with the platform often being dismissed as ‘female-centric’ – a place for wedding inspiration and rainbow cake recipes. But having surpassed 150m monthly users in 2016 – a 50% increase from the previous year – and a growing male audience, could this be a false assumption?

Here’s a rundown of why it might be worth paying Pinterest a bit more attention this year. And to learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s range of social media training courses.

Encourages path to purchase

Unlike Twitter or Facebook, which both have messaging or communication at their core, Pinterest is built on strong commercial elements. 55% of Pinterest users visit the platform for the sole purpose of finding or shopping for products. In comparison to just 12% doing the same on Facebook and Instagram respectively, the opportunity to directly drive sales is unrivalled. 

With a Buy Button and Promoted Pins, brands now have the opportunity to expand visibility on the platform, serving native ads to relevant feeds and search results. 

Incorporating AI

Further to this, Pinterest has recently announced that it is incorporating artificial intelligence into its platform, using deep learning to improve its Related Pins feature. 

By drawing on user data, it will be able to serve pins that are more related to the user’s context and ongoing activity. 

This focus on personalisation is already proving successful, with early testing resulting in 5% more engagement on Related Pins.

Introduction of video ads

Last year, Pinterest launched video advertising or ‘promoted video’, allowing brands to add another dimension to their presence on the platform. With a reported 60% increase in the number of videos saved on the platform, it is clear that users crave this visual medium to further enhance their browsing and shopping experience.

By pairing video ads with promoted pins, brands have even further opportunity to drive sales, with beauty brands in particular making use of tutorial videos and customer reviews.  

Expanding male audience

While fashion, beauty and weddings remain a few of Pinterest’s most popular categories – Pinterest is not actually dominated by women. In fact, male usage increased by 70% last year, and 40% of the site’s monthly active users are now made up of men.

So what are they doing on the site? Funnily enough, exactly the same thing as women, which is curating and discovering content related to their hobbies and interests. 

Brands are also realising that the platform doesn’t have to be so gender-divided. One example of this is Pinterest’s new microsite aimed at Super Bowl fans. Based on the idea that sports viewers will search the platform in advance of big events, looking for party planning ideas and other related content, it aims to target potential buyers, as well as increase the platform’s focus on personalisation.

Examples of brands on Pinterest

So, how exactly are brands utilising Pinterest? Here are a few of the best examples.


Pinterest acts a bit like a shop window display for Etsy, carefully curating collections to highlight the very best of the marketplace.

For shoppers, it provides inspiration and encourages purchases. On the other hand, it is a brilliant marketing and promotion tool for Etsy sellers.

Lonely Planet

For travel brands, Pinterest can be a highly effective tool for targeting consumers in the ‘planning’ stage.

Lonely Planet uses the platform to curate travel guides, drawing on content from bloggers and social influencers as well as its own site. This approach encourages a community-feel, meaning that users are inclined to contribute to group boards.


Last year, L’Oreal Paris launched a series of Promoted Pins and video ads to promote a new line of highlighters. Results show that these ads increased purchase intent by 37.2% and boosted brand awareness by 30.7%.

By targeting users with relevant and well-timed content, L’Oreal is one of the best examples of how to use Pinterest for advertising purposes.


Recipe ideas are a great way for supermarkets to drive sales of ingredients, as well as improve general brand awareness.

Tesco does this particularly well, using its Pinterest presence to target food-related searches and curate healthy and family-orientated recipes.


Apparently, more men use Pinterest than read GQ magazine or Sports Illustrated combined.

This puts the platform’s scale into perspective, as well as its ability to target men who are already interested in specific media publications.

GQ is one magazine that capitalises on online interest, using Pinterest to curate helpful and fun content. It’s not afraid to be a little off-the-wall, either. I spotted a particularly humorous board called “Leonardo DiCaprio’s Year in Leisure”, detailing everything fun that Leo did back in 2014.

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