Pin it to win it: the rise of Pinterest in the USA and UK



Pinterest has achieved a great deal of notice and success in a relatively short amount of time. Since its launch in early 2010, the site has grown to become the third largest social network in the United States. The users of Pinterest in America primarily lean toward more craft- or design-oriented themes. However, Pinterest can be utilized in a number of ways to drive a curious audience to connect with a particular business. The differences between Pinterest’s success in the USA and the UK show that Pinterest can appeal to a wide range of people – and offer a world of possibility to any business.


What is Pinterest?

Pinterest’s quick rise to success left some people in the dark about how Pinterest operates and how it’s different from other social networks. Launched in March 2010 as an invite-only site by a small group of programmers and investors, Pinterest allows users to create collections, known as “pinboards.” On these pinboards, users can upload and manage images, videos, and other media content. Sharing of this content is made possible when users click the “Pin It” button. A personal media platform is generated, and browsers can select their own interests and easily access and communicate a wide variety of content via Facebook, Twitter, or other social outlets. Essentially, Pinterest acts as a digital corkboard for users’ interests and ideas.

Pinboards are a very visual display of users’ fascinations that can be easily navigated and distributed. It has become a very successful way to move potential customers to retail sites. People viewing a pinboard or creating their own can be linked to online stores or services. Users have already established a definite interest in a particular topic by pinning it, so transferring that interest into potential commerce becomes the next natural step for online business.



Popularity of Pinterest:  USA vs. UK

Pinterest is a great site for sharing and pinning images and ideas but, for some reason, hasn’t quite taken off in the United Kingdom like it has in the United States. The United States boasts more than 12 million users, compared to only 200,000 overseas ( This vast difference in popularity could be due to degrees of media exposure. In the UK, the technology sector has taken note of the rise of Pinterest, but it has not succeeded as well outside of that sector. In addition, the UK generally tends to avoid the “bandwagon” effect in regards to new sites and businesses. Pinterest might need to still prove itself as a valuable social network overseas.

While the majority of Pinterest users in the USA and UK are of a similar demographic in age and education, a remarkable chasm exists in relation to income brackets. In the USA, the majority of Pinterest users fall within the $25,000 to $75,000 bracket. The majority of UK users fall within the above-$100,000 bracket (using a pound-to-dollar conversion), with 29% of users making over $150,000. In addition, 56% of UK users are male. In the USA, 83% of users are female, creating a massive difference in audience.

The driving interests of Pinterest users in the USA and UK are different as well. UK users tend to focus on venture capital, marketing, content management, and public relations, much more so than USA users. The primary interests of USA users are craft- and leisure-related, including hobbies, interior design, and fashion collections. In general, interests in the USA are more personal, while the UK interests are more business-oriented. Is it only a matter of time before the UK becomes a hotbed of Pinterest use as more craft- and design-oriented users begin pinning?


Strategies to find success

Whether personal or business interests spark Pinterest use, key factors determine whether a pinboard is shared, as well as if the ideas from pinboards lead to sales. Creativity and personality determine success. Users can choose to follow pinboards if the presentation and content grab their attention. Distinct and polished images can draw a user’s eye. Helpful, organized content can make sure they return to a pinboard. Users’ interests are already piqued, but it’s important not to overwhelm them with an abundance of pinboards or overt marketing. Pinterest does not divide between business and personal identities, so the more personal and social a company is in pinning and sharing, the more attention and success they can achieve. Becoming a genuine part of the Pinterest community can increase commerce and broaden interests.

In just over two years, Pinterest has become a powerful means of sharing ideas and communicating online. Its success rate in converting interest to commerce is greater than Facebook and Twitter. While success in the UK is elusive at this time, it is really a lesson in how Pinterest uses differ. The more business-oriented flavor of the UK contrasts with the more personal interests of the USA. However, if companies can combine the best elements of the two, while continuously trying to attract new customers, conversions on both sides of the pond should grow exponentially.

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Written by Louis Rix

Louis Rix is the Marketing Director for one of the fastest growing online automotive sites in the UK and he is also Director and co-founder of the UK’s leading car finance broker.

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  • Pinterest rose unbelievably fast. In only 2 years they’ve become the third major social icon everyone is putting on their website (next to twitter and fb). As a web developer, I can say that business should only choose the Social Media services that they plan on using regularly. Empty social networking profiles don’t look good.

  • Thanks for this! It’s such an exciting time for Pinterest being
    the 3rd most popular social media platform. Thanks for all the
    strategies. An excellent Pinterest Influencer Network I’ve come across that’s
    been a tremendous help my biz is PinLeague. Just wanted to pass the word along.
    Hope this helps and thanks!

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