Amid the resurgence of tech stocks, Pinterest has filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) expected to launch around June this year. This move means opening the company’s performance data to the general public. With this move in the near future, one wonders how will the platform change?
Not a Social Network…
Looking at the previous instances when companies went public, it can go one of the following two ways: First, it can go really well like it did for Facebook (went public in 2012). Facebook has seen incremental and often exponential growth in business, continuing to do well. The second way is what happened with Twitter and Snap Inc. Both platforms have struggled to deal with increased pressure and scrutiny since being opened to the audience. A lot of the struggle arose from the unavoidable comparisons with Facebook and the inability of the platforms to distance themselves from this standoff.
In this regard, interestingly, Pinterest has been working for a long time to avoid a similar fate as Twitter or Snapchat. Pinterest has maintained the line of not being a social network but a discovery engine and a repository of ideas for users to explore. This has benefited Pinterest as they have managed to avoid comparisons with platforms like Instagram (4 times more active monthly users) even as people point out its social features.
… but a Discovery Engine
While calling itself a discovery engine distances Pinterest from Facebook, it may put it in the cross-hairs of another tech giant – Google, owner of the product discovery platform Google Lens.
Pinterest is working towards unleashing their e-commerce potential with the introduction of the newly automated Shop the Look pins and improving visual search capacity. It is not a big task for Google to add something similar in their product to add more pressure on Pinterest on top of the added scrutiny from the IPO. Google has already unveiled an updated image search layout using contextual search tabs to refine search.
Amid comparisons with Facebook, struggles of Twitter & Snapchat with IPOs and competition from Google, it is hard to say how will Pinterest change after the IPO. One thing is for certain, Pinterest will have to consistently acquire market share in product discovery to thrive under the added scrutiny of the audience.