Pinterest, the visual discover tool Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp in 2010, is looking towards India, a country of “long term importance”, for its next growth burst. The service now has a third of its users in the US, but is investing heavily on international growth with local teams in other geographies as well as local content in 32 languages, including Hindi.
“We help people find the stuff they love, but at scale,” says Matt Crystal, Head of International at Pinterest, where he leads international expansion efforts. In a telephonic interaction with Indianexpress.com, he said sign up from India have gone up by 150 per cent in the period between January and August this year.
“Localisation is the goal and we are working on connecting people to local content, brands, publishers. We are customising the category feeds to make content feel more local and relevant,” he said.
Crystal said they were very excited to see how Indian pinners and businesses are using the service in interesting ways. For instance, chef Sanjeev Kapoor uses it to showcase his recipes, while Yash Raj Films uses it to connect better with its fans. “It is still early days, but more and more businesses are beginning to understand the benefits of being on Pinterest through signing up for a business account,” he added. In many markets retailers and online sellers use the service to woo customers to products, thanks to price listings shown with the pins.
Unlike the US and UK where Pinterest is considered to have more female users, the service has equal interest among men and women in India. Fashion, travel and technology are big in India, says Crystal, adding that technology is not generally a top five category in other countries.
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Like other web services around the world, Pinterest too has been witnessing a shift towards mobile, with 75 per cent of usage now coming from the smaller screen. This seems to be why the company has recently launched a messaging service around the 2 million odd pins that are sent every day on Pinterest. The service lets users reply to pins, reply with a ping and message multiple people.
“Messages makes it possible to have one-on-one or group conversations and respond with text, or a Pin of your own, which makes it easier to plan projects on Pinterest with the people in your life, and have conversations about those plans. For example, if you’re planning a road trip with friends, you can send Pins related to the stops you want to make along the way, and save your favorite ideas to a board. Or if a couple is planning dinner for the night, they can send Pins and ideas back and forth to decide what to cook. It’s different from What’sApp or Line and other messaging platforms because conversations are around a Pin, and are focused on planning,” Crystal added.
The company is now investing on mobile first product innovation. Among them is a recent feature called guided search that lets users keep filtering the search without really knowing what they are looking for. The feature becomes a great content discovery tool for mobile users and has now been rolled out for web too.
Though not so popular among news and media companies in India, Crystal says news organisations can use article pins feature as more than five millions articles are pinned everyday. “Pinterest is a great way for writers and publications to reach new and existing audiences, drive traffic to their sites, give stories longevity, and provide visual components to stories. An increasing number of media sites are adding the Pin It button to make it easy for people to save and share their articles to Pinterest and reach an audience of tens of millions of pinners.”