When Pinterest filed for an initial public offering last spring, it provided the public with a first glimpse behind the curtain, revealing how it sees itself, how it’s doing financially and, perhaps most interestingly, how many people actually use it.
The first point is a bit of a tricky one, as Pinterest is widely seen as a social network but doesn’t consider itself one. “Most consumer internet companies are either tools (search, ecommerce) or media (newsfeeds, video, social networks). Pinterest is not a pure media channel, nor is it a pure utility. It’s a media-rich utility that satisfies both emotional and functional needs”, the company wrote in its S1 filing, concluding that its platform is ultimately about discovery. Financially, Pinterest is doing better than many fellow former unicorns, as the company would have turned a profit in 2019 if it hadn't been for a $1.38 billion stock-based compensation expense.
The ultimate question for most social media platforms, nay “media-rich utilities”, is how many people actually use it. In Pinterest’s case that is now 367 million people, putting it way ahead of Twitter, which had 330 million MAUS when it last reported that metric in Q1 2019. As opposed to the latter, Pinterest’s user base is still growing strongly though. Between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020, the company added 76 million monthly active users, mainly thanks to strong international growth.