Could Pinterest be the next Google?

Lucy Hughes our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 9/24/2015 3:23 PM
Pinterest recently announced that it had reached a milestone figure of 100 million active users per month. This once considered huge achievement has been marred by naysayers, who sceptically doubt the company’s gravitas. This may be in part due to its relatively small following in comparison to other social media behemoths such as Facebook, YouTube and Facebook-owned competitor Instagram; whom between them have amassed over 2 billion active users per month.

Fearlessly, Pinterest have set themselves apart from the outwardly imposed pigeon hole that it has been placed in, by branding itself as some might think, an unlikely competitor to Google. Co-founder of the five year old company, Evan Sharp states that

“We’ve been called a social network. But we’re solving a different problem, we’re a visual search engine for your phone.” With this bold and interesting statement, how can this non-traditional, ‘non-social network’ be used as a search engine?

Change your thinking

It is an easy mindset shift to see the correlation between the boards which people create within their accounts, and the types of things that users are interested in; in order for brands to gain insights into consumer behaviour. It is widely known that the more you can understand about your customer and predict their behaviour, the more agile your business can be.

Harnham see the need for predictive analysts and data engineers etc. as part of tight-knit data science teams increasing at an almost exponential rate. We see the benefit brands gain from understanding their customers better; this is a concept leveraged on a daily basis by retailers and large financial services brands alike. However, are other verticals and sectors missing out on the wealth of real time data that is created on a daily basis via this platform? Could a concept that Pinterest is trying to master take some of the guess work out serving personalised content and recommendations to make engagement easier?

Users of Pinterest, use the platform for three main reasons:

  1. To find aspirational imagery and motivation. 
  2. Plan and gain inspiration. 
  3. Define their personality.

The most valuable of the three use cases, is the second. This is because knowing when people are on the verge of a major life event, such as marriage, the birth of a child, retirement or moving house etc. is data gold dust in terms of user insight, and attractive to marketers. The potential to monitor these shifts in mindset should trigger a reason as to why a company could engage with buyers earlier to influence their decision making process in real time; and have a deeper resonance and impact.

David v Goliath

This could be the main USP that Pinterest could have over a juggernaut like Google, as the latter relies on a user having a query and initiating interaction before Google can collate user behavioural insights. With the introduction of “buyable pins” retailers can turn aspiration into action.

General Manager of Pinterest Tim Kendall supports this fact, stating

‘In fact, about 70% of these 100 million monthly users don’t just visit Pinterest, they wind up discovering something so interesting that they also save or click on it to learn more and take action.’

This is perhaps why Pinterest has such a high valuation of $11bn. It does not need to compete with the other social networks. It is creating its own niche that is proving ever more popular with its user base, as it has grown 81% in the last year and also includes more and more men every year.

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Weekly News Digest: 14th - 18th June 2021

This is Harnham’s weekly news digest, the place to come for a quick breakdown of the week’s top news stories from the world of Data & Analytics. Gov.uk: Five signs of a good data quality culture Particularly post-pandemic, we all want to know that our data is fit for purpose. In this article from the Government Data Quality Hub, they look at five ways to ensure that your data's quality is right for your's and your users’ needs. This includes: Everyone is involvedData quality is a commitment, not a taskYou know what works for your organisationYou know why quality mattersYou are proactive not reactive We know that committing to a good data quality culture is a continual process. This core advice allows us to take a step back and think about how you can understand your unique challenges and involve the right people, so you can prevent bad quality data before it damages your work. See more on this here. Analytics Insight: 5 types of artificial intelligence that will shape 2021 and beyond We really like this article from Analytics Insight that explores the future of technology, and specifically the rise in uses of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is often seen to be disruptive as there is an assumption that robots could take over and jobs are wiped out, but it’s more likely that humans and machines will work together to streamline processes across a range of industries. The different types of AI to keep an eye on include: Customised technology providerChoosy algorithmHuman-machine interactionReciprocating machinesTheory of mind We’re always excited to learn more about new technologies, click here to read more on this. KD Nuggets: Five types of thinking for a high performing data scientist In this piece KD Nuggets look at how the way our approach to problem-solving may be guided by your personal skills or the type of problem at hand. As a Data Scientist, appreciating different approaches can help you more effectively model data in the business world and communicate your results to the decision-makers. Whether this is model thinking, systems thinking, agent-based thinking, behavioural thinking, or computational thinking, taking the time to understand your approach will significantly help the way you complete the function of your role. To read the full article, see here.  TechRepublic: These 220+ courses will help you master tech skills and prep for IT certification exams We know that there is a digital skills gap. According to Boston Consulting Group, there will be tens of millions of job vacancies by 2030 that will be hard to fill because not enough workers have the required skills, many of which are in technology. One of the best ways to upgrade your skillset is to complete extra training and qualifications to ensure you’re always learning more about your market and providing yourself with the best opportunities to achieve your next career step. ITU Online has over 200 courses covering cloud deployment, cybersecurity and more. Of course, this isn’t the only way in which you can level up your skills, but it’s a good place to start! To read more about this, click here.  We've loved seeing all the news from Data & Analytics in the past week, it’s a market full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, get in touch with us at info@harnham.com.    

How Will Embracing Flexible Working Help The Life Science Sector To Grow?

COVID-19 has drastically changed ways of working in the Life Science industry. Overnight, teams moved online, while new research had to be prioritised. Life Sciences were already moving towards more remote working, and the pandemic has only quickened this shift. There is no doubt these changes have fundamentally changed the Life Science sector and how professionals working in this space operate post-pandemic.  However, uncertainty still remains about the viability of remote working for the sector and there is a divide between those able to work remotely and those who need to go into ‘wet labs’. Is remote working a step too far for Life Sciences? Collaboration  2020 saw an increase in collaboration between professionals working across different areas of Life Sciences. Interestingly, organisations who may usually compete came together to share data and work towards a shared goal. Collaboration is essential in Life Sciences, yet for many, remote working reduces spontaneous teamwork and creativity.  New flexible lab spaces may be the future for Life Sciences though. RUNLABS have recently opened their first fully equipped flexible lab space in Paris for scientists and companies working in Life Sciences. This space hopes to builds on the existing collaborative approach in the industry and encourage further cooperative innovation. Efficiency  Many employees noticed a spike in employee efficiency when working remotely. By eliminating commutes and increasing flexibility, employees were able to be more productive with their time. Remote working also allowed organisations to streamline processes and reduce time spent in meetings.  However, insight from McKinsey highlights that research and development leaders estimate productivity has fallen by between 25 and 75 per cent due to remote working. Those in pharma manufacturing have reported lower levels off efficiency, as well as the potential for lower-quality outputs.  Research The pandemic forced remote trails to become a necessity, and since then, they have increased in popularity. While face-to-face research is still preferrable, remote trials can reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Indeed, on-site monitoring accounts for a significant portion of the costs of bringing a new product to market, yet this is no longer necessary in remote trials.   Not only are remote trials more cost-effective, but they can open research to a wider range of patients and can increase the communication between trial participants. Diversity Flexible working can run a risk to diversity and inclusion though. McKinsey also notes that, ‘when faced with a crisis, leaders often revert to relying on the core team of people they already know and trust. This disproportionately affects women and minorities because they are often not part of that group. Differences in perceptions and experiences of inclusion results in individuals or communities being disenfranchised, which can be devastating to careers and create a two-tiered culture.’ We know that 27 per cent of D&I leaders say their organisation have put all or most of their initiatives that embrace diversity and inclusion on hold because of the pandemic. However, remote work unlocks new hire pools and opens up the workplace to a more diverse workforce. Workers are no longer restricted by their geographical location or personal circumstances. Flexible working is an opportunity for Life Science organisations to harness a wider talent pool and increase their diversity. There is no doubt that Life Science is one of the most cutting-edge sectors globally and the pandemic has only cemented this. COVID-19 has shown the potential for remote working in life sciences, and in-person health care professional access may never return to pre-lockdown levels. But, going forward life sciences need to remember remote working is not practical for everyone nor every role. Organisations will need to consider individual wellbeing and role efficiency as they decide their next step.  If you’re in the world of Data & Analytics and looking to take a step up or find the next member of your team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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