Pinterest’s user base is, of course, predominantly female. Which makes Rubin — who was hired last week as Pinterest’s first head of brand — an interesting choice given that his last job was as senior vp of marketing at Unilever, where he worked on Axe, the ultra-masculine men’s body care brand that some have criticized as misogynistic. And having pinned only 22 items on Pinterest, Rubin is hardly a Pinterest power user.
But that kind of perspective may serve Rubin well as he tries to expand Pinterest’s user base. If Pinterest wants users to realize the platform can be used for more than just wedding planning and kitchen remodeling, a different frame of mind might help.
“Growth is my mandate,” Rubin told Digiday. “There’s a large and incredibly committed user base. Expanding that into more audiences and expanding it globally is why I am here.”
That means, at least in part, bringing more men to Pinterest. While there’s a small contingent of highly active male pinners, Pinterest’s user base is still 71.5 percent female, according to comScore. Other major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr have far more gender-balanced user bases.
“David Rubin is really big on using data — sociological, behavioral, etc. — to tap into what motivates people,” DigitasLBi’s group director of social and content strategy Jill Sherman told Digiday. “And that’s where Pinterest is failing with men. They haven’t cracked the motivation code. How to attract men and keep them using the platform beyond saving things that pique their interest.”
Sherman added that expanding Pinterest’s user base will be critical to the business’s burgeoning ads business, and that new features like guided search and interest following will make Pinterest more palatable to those currently not using it. No wonder, then, that the marketing video for Pinterest guided search shows how the platform can be beneficial to men in four of its six storylines.
Lindsay Williams, vp of media and analytics at Rokkan, is more generally skeptical about whether people will use Pinterest’s search feature.
“Convincing anyone, male or female, to visit Pinterest for the purposes of ‘finding’ something specific (i.e., a watch), still feels like a new behavior and is largely owned by search engines and other social networks,” Williams said.
It’s Rubin’s mandate to make more people aware of these features and how to best use them, making Pinterest more broadly appealing in the process.
“This is a fantastic brand already,” Rubin said. “My job is to help unlock that for more people, more often.”
That means becoming more like Facebook and Twitter, which, given the success of their ads businesses, makes sense.
“You either go broad or you go deep. You either try to become a single network and command enough audience reach as possible like Twitter and Facebook, or try to create more niche, private communities that aren’t as large and open,” Chris Bowler, global vp of social media at Razorfish said.
The risk of trying to cater to wider swatch of user, however, is diluting your brand and alienating the diehards who have been with it from its infancy.
“There’s always risk when trying to broaden a brand’s appeal,” Sherman added. “But Pinterest wants to evolve into a platform that we use in our daily lives, like Facebook and Twitter. So, they’re focusing on men in a bigger way. From their perspective, who better to plan a vacation or home remodel with than your spouse, right?”
ANA’s programmatic buying guide aims to shine a light on murky inefficiencies for CMOs
The Association of National Advertisers released a guide on programmatic media buying that aims to save marketers billions of dollars a year.
Can Niche build the next decentralized social platform? Here’s why it matters
Niche is a decentralized online marketplace and social networking platform rolled into one. Unlike other social apps, it doesn't carry ads and it doesn't harvest user data.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research deep dive: YouTube investments pay off for publishers’ brands, revenues
In this final installment of Digiday+ Research's deep dive into how publishers are using social media platforms, we're covering how publishers are investing time and money on YouTube -- and how that's translating to their revenues and brands.
SponsoredWhat gaming habits reveal about media consumption
Jordan Shlachter, head of research, Activision Blizzard Media Entertainment choices have never been more abundant, and gaming has emerged as one of the biggest winners in the battle for audiences’ attention. While gaming’s exponential growth has been well documented — there are currently nearly 3 billion gamers worldwide spanning a diverse set of demographics, interests […]
How The Washington Post’s Joy Robins is using lessons from 2020 to handle the current economic slowdown
Joy Robins' role as CRO looks different than it did a year ago, but in a volatile economy, a media company's revenue sources are subject to change as well.
How media companies like The New York Times, BuzzFeed and Gannett are managing costs in an economic downturn
The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Gannett and IAC are identifying areas to cut costs, from marketing budgets to hiring slowdowns and layoffs.