Pinterest Business Model: Pin Your Favorite Images!

Pinterest is a famous social media network that is making the rounds. It is currently valued at $11 billion and this has been possible because of its popularity and the Pinterest business model.

Unlike other social media networks, it does not primarily connect two individuals together. It is all about images. You can ‘pin’ your favorite image. This allows you to create a visual bookmark that you can use to visit the source website that hosts that particular image.  

Pinterest does not target a certain demographic. It caters to all kinds of people who want to keep a record of images or just like collecting images for fun. Designers and other creative artists gravitate more towards this social networking website. Nonetheless, this website is open to all kinds of users to make the best use of it.

You can tell that Pinterest has done a lot of strategic planning when it comes to their business model. They work on the network effect to increase the traffic to their website. Their revenue model is based on advertisements. The majority of the revenue comes from the ads.  

Pinterest started in 2010 and has grown ever since then. Over the years, they have introduced new features. One such feature was the ‘promoted pins’ that was added in 2013. It was in the beta stage at that time.

Pinterest: What is it?

You would not believe it, but Pinterest was the fastest growing social networking platform at one time. Moreover, it was also highly valued by various investors around the world. The idea of Pinterest is to provide a platform to its users so that they can ‘pin’ their favorite images and share them with other people online.

The images and content are shared in the form of pins. These pins act as bookmarks that redirect you to their source. You can share your pins with likeminded individuals on Pinterest.

pinterest business model

Pinterest does not limit any certain type of users. It is open to anyone who can make good use of their platform. The ability to save your favorite pictures or designs in one place is very convenient for most people.

These aspects contribute to the rising popularity of Pinterest. It currently has over 100 million active users who pin and share images related to architectures, buildings, clothing lines, products, tutorials, scenic views, and fan art etc. You can find all types of images on Pinterest.

How to Use Pinterest?

Who better to teach the purpose of this website, then Pinterest itself? Pinterest has added a video on YouTube that is all about what it offers to its users. Have a look:


The Pinterest Business Model

Pinterest started off by creating a social web catalog for its users. This also acted as the motivation for the business model of the social media platform. They started off with this business model in 2010 and have stuck with it ever since.

pinterest business model
This is what Pinterest looked like back in 2010

The business model took off and the website started to be recognized as a social media platform because of the public pins and pinboards introduced by the company. The public pins and pinboards could be re-pinned according to the likes of the consumers.

However, the current business model has since evolved and now includes a host of different elements such as e-commerce, catalogs, content, and social networking. Just like Snapchat, Pinterest generates revenue on the basis of advertisements.

Pinterest makes money when different users visit its website. Their revenue model can be further refined to make profits. However, for now, it seems like they want to take things slow and not rush into things.

Important Elements of the Pinterest Business Model

The Pins

The entire idea of Pinterest as a social media platform revolves around pins. The social media platform is built as a catalog. You ‘pin’ images to save and share them. If you have an account of Pinterest, you can use the browser extension to pin things you like on the web. Moreover, you could also pin them by uploading those images on your Pinterest account.


Pinterest users can gather similar pins together and post them on a pinboard. A pinboard acts as a collection of pictures that have the same aspects. For example, a user who loves architectural marvel will include images of architectural masterpieces under one pinboard and call it ‘Architectural Marvels’.

The best thing about pinboards is that you can have private and public pinboards. If you wish to gather images for a personal project, you can create a private pinboard for your own collection. Pinboards help to organize a collection of images.

Pins and pinboards that are public can be re-pinned by other Pinterest users. Public pins are more likely to be retained by search engines than anything else shared or posted on Twitter or Facebook.

You can buy pins!

Pinterest allows you to buy different things from pins without redirecting to the seller’s website. Pinterest follows the Facebook approach and has an integrated buy button that makes the process seamless.

The best thing about this feature is that Pinterest does not charge the user or the seller to use this feature. This feature was built into the social media platform to elevate the user experience of end users.

However, you can only use this feature if the merchant’s use any of the three: BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud or Shopify.

pinterest business model

Promoted Pins Make Money for Pinterest Business Model

Till date, this is the only major moneymaking feature of Pinterest. Different sponsors and advertisers put up paid advertisements as pins. These promoted pins sit among the usual pins, but can be easily identified.

Promoted pins are target ads that depend on the search habit of the Pinterest user.  

pinterest business model

How does the Pinterest Business Model Make Money?

It should not shock you that Pinterest was not generating any revenue up until 2013 when they introduced promoted pins. These promoted pins were used to put up advertisements on Pinterest. These advertisements helped to generate revenue for this social media company.


Pinterest is built around pins and pinboards. You can pin different images on the website for your own personal collection or share it with other users. The company makes money through targeted ads that are portrayed as promoted pins.

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