Gen Z-ers are making aspirational boards about houses they want to live in, places they want to visit, and even people they want to date, says Sarah Pollack, Pinterest’s global head of consumer marketing.
The app also brings a more visual alternative to traditional search. Some Gen Z-ers are ditching Google, substituting the search engine by browsing on TikTok, Instagram, and now Pinterest. “Search is getting increasingly fragmented,” says Jeremy Goldman, senior director of marketing, retail, and tech briefings at research firm Insider Intelligence. When people are looking for outfit ideas, recipes, and vacation travel, they may turn to Pinterest, where they’ll be connected to products by their interests, rather than by who they follow.
Despite its success, Pinterest is still a smaller fish in a sea of social media giants. YouTube, TikTok, SnapChat, and Instagram are each used by more than half of teens, according to a recent Pew Research survey (the survey did not mention Pinterest.) But the pinboard site may have a leg up: In a 2023 survey from global market research firm Forrester, 33 percent of adults under 25 said they found Pinterest to be “cool,” the highest rating of any social media site. Instagram and Snapchat were close behind, with TikTok, Facebook, and X all coming in lower.
Pinterest earned some Gen Z love in 2022 when it unveiled a collage-making app, Shuffles, which let users take photos themselves or use images from Pinterest’s own library to create mood boards with animation and effects. But as creativity-driven as Shuffles and Pinterest may be, they’re also persuading people to buy things, and luxury brands are paying attention, seeing what styles people are pinning and leaning into those trends. Pollack says 84 percent of Gen Z-ers say they look to Pinterest for products to buy, and that the company wants to connect every item people can pin to a way they can buy. And with direct shopping links, visual discovery, and integrated ads, Pinterest is “aligned with what advertisers and what retailers want,” Goldman claims.
If Pinterest’s predictions for 2024 hold true, we can expect to see more “grandpa style” clothes, people playing badminton, and even “jellyfish haircuts.” The true test for Pinterest, though, is if it can hold Gen Z’s attention longer than these trends do.