After skyrocketing in popularity, Pinterest and Instagram have risen above their social media competition through the power of visual communication. After both launching in 2010, Pinterest has recently become the third most used social media site behind Facebook and Twitter while Instagram was recently acquired for $1 billion.
Popularity in numbers
Described as a virtual pinboard, Pinterest allows users to create and organise boards containing links and images to share with followers. Users ‘pin’ or link to pages or products they find on the Internet and include a caption, which other members can share (“repin”) or favorite. Pinterest boards include categories for fashion, recipes and many more, with the ability for users to make their own boards for specialised categories or occasions like weddings or parties. After having members join through invite only registration, Pinterest opened up its site to all users in early August and now ranks as number 38 in a list of the world’s most used sites and number 15 in the US.
In separate studies, there has been a noted gender split between Pinterest popularity in the US and the UK. According to a phone survey by the Pew Internet Project, nearly 1 in 5 women in the US are on the pin sharing site. Visual.ly, a site for data visualisation, said that of Pinterest’s estimated 12 million users in the US, 80% are women. While women dominate in their use of Pinterest in the US, the gender split is even in the UK. Of the UK’s 200,000 users, 56% of those are men and 44% are women.
Another social media outlet that has soared in popularity is the photo sharing app Instagram. Available on Android and iPhone platforms, Instagram has over 80 million downloads. After snapping photos using their mobile phone, users can modify and enhance their images through a variety of filters, even making them look like vintage photographs. With its easy photo sharing, visual appeal and use with other social networking sites like Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, the app has become popular with young adults. 12% of adults online use Instagram while 27% of its users are between the ages of 18-29.
Recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, Instagram has been integrated into the largest social networking site, making it easier to share photos through the app.
Why use Pinterest and Instagram
Cited as a social shopping site, businesses have eyed Pinterest because many of its users are now using it to buy and sell products featured as pins. Users can sell products by adding prices to their pins by typing them in the description before pinning them to a board. Bigger businesses have begun to use Pinterest while studying the site in order to increase sales. Zappos, a branch of Amazon.com, has created an app called PinPointing, which recommends purchases based on what users are pinning.
With the data collected of its users, it is no wonder businesses are now trying to tap into this new means of revenue. The average UK user of Pinterest is more wealthy than in the US, with 29% of UK users in the top income bracket as opposed to 3% in the US. Pinterest users have also been described as more likely to share a purchase than Twitter or Facebook users.
Even non-profits like Amnesty International and UNICEF have begun using Pinterest in order to support their mission and gain donations. Pinterest’s ability to add a follow or pin button to a site’s page also makes for a valuable sharing tool.
With its popularity amongst young adult users and after millions of downloads, everyone from casual photographers to musicians are using Instagram in order to promote their images. Instagram will most likely be a long-standing app considering its now close integration with Facebook.