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What investors need to know – Motley Fool



Pinterest became the latest technological unicorn to submit an IPO this week. The photo sharing social media app seeks a valuation of at least $ 12 billion, according to Wall Street Journal (paywall), which would match its valuation from mid-2017 when it increased $ 150 million. This valuation will also fit the current market value of Snap (NYSE: SNAP) – owner of another photocentric social media app, Snapchat.

But will Pinterest have a path closer to that of Snapchat or Facebook s (NASDAQ: FB) Instagram? Let's take a closer look at the company and how it fits into the social media landscape.

  Pinterest app on an iPad.

Image Source: Pinterest.

How does Pinterest differ?

Pinterest encourages users follow accounts and topics that reflect their interests in a manner similar to Instagram. But where Instagram users can share a picture they took of a meal they ate and described how great it was, Pinterest users could "stick" a picture of a meal they ate or would make the links to a separate site where they found the recipe.

In this way, Pinterest is even more a discovery platform than Instagram, and it is capable of driving traffic to websites organically. As such, the social media website can provide direct response ad products that fit in with users' normal platform behavior. In comparison, most Instagram or Snapchat content is designed to keep users in the app instead of sending them to another site.

Facebook has asked the potential for trading on Instagram. It is even reported to work on a standalone Instagram purchase program. Snapchat works to make it easy to find where to buy goods that users see in the real world just by taking a picture. Meanwhile, dealers and influencers have been promoting products including clothing, accessories and self-care products on Pinterest for years. The company introduced a "buy" button in 2015, and it is one of the few cases of social trading that actually works. The company expanded its product in October to simplify the shopping experience from the platform.

Pinterest's ability to easily drive traffic to other sites makes it appealing to marketers and advertisers.

Take a look at the competition

Pinterest is most like Instagram and Snapchat. While their parent companies do not provide accurate comparable statistics on their respective apps, the data can help us measure where Pinterest stands.

Pinterest

Instagram

Snapchat

Monthly users

250 million

1 billion

267 million *


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