Pinterest really? That scrap booking site that sits somewhere on the outer peripheral of social media discussions. Yes that is the same one.

Pinterest is a visual social network where people create and share image collections of recipes, hairstyles, baby furniture and just about anything else on their phones or computers, Pinterest isn’t yet five years old, but among women, who make up over 80% of its users, it’s already more popular than Twitter, which has a market capitalisation of more than $30 billion. Pinterest’s U.S. user base is projected to top 40 million this year, putting it in a league with both Twitter and Instagram in the US and moving fast internationally.

Pinterest-Chart

To date, Pinterest’s users have created more than 750 million boards made up of more than 30 billion individual pins, with 54 million new ones added each day. Back in March 2013 Mashable reported that Pinterest Drives More Traffic to Publishers Than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit Combined. And as Adobe recently reported that site visits from users coming from Pinterest yield 55 cents a piece in revenue, up 150% year over year, that puts it ahead of Twitter, with a revenue per visit of 44 cents, but behind Facebook, at 93 cents. And yet another study, this one by Shopify, found that orders driven by Pinterest are substantially larger than those produced by Facebook or Twitter. In fact, at $80 per order, Pinterest even tops Google and Amazon.

A great way to think about the world of social media is; Facebook is selling the past (what I have done) and Twitter the present (what I am doing now), Pinterest is offering the future.

And this is the really exciting part for marketers in that it’s about what people aspire to be & do.

Advertising is essentially selling to people’s desires and aspirations. It’s not what they are but how they want to see themselves. How many adverts are full of young fit people having fun in the sun? As eye balls continue to shift online Pinterest seems the ideal location to take the advertising dollars that TV and glossy magazines have been holding onto.

Paid search always talks about how it’s “intent based results” are what drives it’s success. But surely when someone pins an image of a wedding dress to one of her boards, she’s sending up a signal flare to the merchandiser who might want to sell her that wedding dress. It says, ‘I’m organising this into a place in my life,’ like when people tear out a page of a magazine. And it is the magazine experience that has been driving Pinterest’s success. It is probably the best discovery / browsing engine on the internet.

It’s also turned out to be perfect for mobile phone screens, where ads must appear in the main feed or not at all. More than 90% of Pinterest usage is on mobile, higher than Facebook (68%) and Twitter (86%), according to comScore.

So it’s time to re-think how you look at that ‘other’ social media network, devise a strategy and how you are going to engage and market to these aspirational buyers.