Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

And they don't mind the ads, according to a new survey.

By Erin Griffith
July 29, 2015
July 29, 2015

Pinterest is quickly shaking the image that it’s just for women. A new survey, published this week, provides further proof that men are “pinning.” Men now make up 18% of Pinterest’s users, which is a 5% jump over last year, according poll commissioned by Ahalogy, a Pinterest marketing partner. Almost two thirds of men on the site have joined it in the last year, the poll notes.

Sure, the vast majority of Pinterest’s users are still women. But the stereotype of Pinterest as being just for middle-aged Midwestern moms is shifting. Younger users are on the rise—67% of the active pinners surveyed were under the age of 40, compared with 49% a year ago. Hispanic users also grew from 3% in 2014 to 9% of the sites users, according to the survey.

The poll surveyed 1,015 Web users, 505 of which used Pinterest at least once a month. Of that group, 206 used Pinterest every day. The full survey is available on Ahalogy’s website.

More notable to Pinterest advertisers, the study shows 47% of Pinterest users are aware of the site’s new ad formats but don’t mind them. That’s up from 35% last year.

I’m wary of this result, since Ahalogy has a vested interest in promoting that idea. But it is hardly a surprise; in fact, it has been the promise of Pinterest all along. It’s the driving force behind Pinterest’s $11 billion valuation.

On other social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, people are there to socialize. On Pinterest, which CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann has said is not a social network, but a place to save things for later, people are in shopping mode. In many cases, they’re saving things for later in order to possibly buy them. Pinterest users are in consumption mode, the thinking goes, so conversion rates will be through the roof. It’s been called “a capitalist’s dream.” Almost half of Pinterest users surveyed by Ahalogy say they use Pinterest instead of browsing catalogs. Pinterest is their “go-to” source for DIY and crafts, home decor, and weddings, the survey said.

Pinterest’s ad product, Promoted Pins, is only a year old and the company hasn’t provided any results or case studies from advertisers. But the survey indicates (conveniently) that brands have a vital place on the platform. A whopping 83% of active pinners said they’d rather follow their favorite brand than their favorite celebrity. Nearly three quarters said they’d rather follow their favorite beauty brand than favorite makeup artist. The study reports similar results for baby products over baby experts, designer brands over fashion icons, and hair care brands over celebrity stylists. Nearly three quarters of active pinners say they bought something because they saw it on Pinterest.

Now, pinners can shop directly on Pinterest. The company introduced a “buy button” earlier this summer after years of anticipation. In July, Silberman was quick to point out at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference that Pinterest’s core business will be advertising, and it will not make money on the buy button.

Rather, the buy button is a way to streamline the shopping process for users. It’s probably a wise move to focus on advertising. Pinterest may a tool for consumption, but advertising, with its high margins and lack of physical inventory, is a better business to be in than commerce. If, as this survey indicates, users both notice the ads and truly don’t mind them, then Pinterest will have solved the Web’s “original sin.”

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