Pinterest was once hailed as one of the most promising social networks in the world. However, in a world dominated by Facebook and Instagram, it became one of the "other social apps" that some people use along with Snapchat and Twitter. However, the world suddenly changed for Pinterest last week: Pinterst became one of the most downloaded apps in the world overnight, and the reasons behind this sudden rise could be a huge difference maker for the company.
Pinterest Skyrockets to One of the Most Downloaded Apps in the World
On Saturday September 19th 2020, something strange happened to Pinterest: Pinterest suddenly skyrocketed to the top of the Apple App Store's ranking of the most popular applications. This was especially surprising given that Pinterest's app have generally hovered around top 30 to 50 in the ranking in the past. Not only that, it has been more popular than even apps like Instagram, TikTok and Zoom in some major markets like the US, the UK and Singapore. That it seems to be getting more downloads (on Apple devices) than TikTok is very important due to the importance of younger demographics for social networks: teenagers have historically been trend setters, and popularity among them have foreshadowed meteoric rise of various social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Tiktok.
Download Ranking in the Apple App Store (US)
And this trend was not isolated to just a few countries. We found that Pinterest's popularity is skyrocketing in dozens of countries around the world, all occurring around the same time. Is Pinterest reinventing itself as the next hot thing in the global social media industry?
Apple the Kingmaker: iOS 14's Customizable Theme & Teens
It turns out that gold literally may have fallen on its lap when Apple released its new operating system iOS 14 on September 16th. iOS 14' new feature that allows users to customize their home screens & icons has been so popular that it has created its own theme of TikTok videos garnering over 2 billion views in the past few days already.
And where are teens looking for the perfect images for inspirations? They are flocking to Pinterest to share & discover ideas to jump on the bandwagon. A simple search on Twitter for "ios 14 pinterest" shows a plethora of results where people are sharing their latest iPhone background & icon themes, and they are all using Pinterest to do so.
What Does This Mean for Investors?
This renewed interest for Pinterest could literally be a fountain of youth and opportunity for the company and its investors. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest all make money on advertisements, and more eyeballs means more revenue for them. Of course, iOS 14's new homescreen customization could be a fad that ends once everyone has set their backgrounds. However, this could last much longer than one might think. First, Android could introduce a similar feature to compete, which will prolong the trend for much longer. Also, now that that consumers, especially younger ones, are seeking to use Pinterest en masse globally, the company now has a chance that it would have not easily gotten otherwise to engage a massive set of new users, experience an immediate boost to its growth and to find new use cases for product in the long run.
Not only that, such an inflow of affluent (i.e. Apple users) and trend setting consumers could be the weapon Pinterest needs in its arsenal to engage more advertisers. Currently, Pinterest's current valuation of $22bn is significantly lower than all other social media platforms, largely due to the fact that its revenue remains lower, as we wrote prior to Pinterest's IPO. If Pinterest is able to take advantage of this sudden tailwind (their management should be actively looking for ways to do so), its business has an enormous amount of value to be gained. How they jump on the opportunity is definitely worth closely monitoring over the next few quarters.