Visual idea board site Pinterest is approaching $1 billion in advertising revenue as it gears up for an initial public offering (IPO) in mid-2019, reported CNBC, citing people familiar with the matter.
The privately held social media company soared past the $500 million ad sales mark in 2017, and has nearly doubled that this year, according to the anonymous sources.
The growing popularity of Pinterest has attracted 200 million monthly active users who use the platform to share fashion ideas, travel plans, recipes, home decor and other style and craft projects. Big fashion and beauty brands have prioritized the site as they allocate more dollars to their digital ad budgets and capitalize on the trend for shoppers who spend time browsing for products on their mobile devices. As users "pin" items that they like to form public, curated lists of subjects such as apparel items and bucket-list travel destinations, Pinterest receives valuable and targeted data about consumers' interests and their potential buying behavior. "Buyable pins" allow customers to turn other users posts into a shopping experience by offering the ability to view pricing and buy products if they wish.
Pinterest Takes on Facebook-Google Duopoly
While Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (FB) continue to dominate the digital advertising space with a combined 57% hold over U.S. digital ad spend, according to eMarketer, Pinterest offers a way for businesses to diversify their budgets.
Competition has proven tough in the industry, with social media rival Snap Inc. (SNAP) suffering after its IPO due to competition from Facebook's wildly popular Instagram platform. While $1 billion is well below a $2.8 billion in projected ad sales that TechCrunch reported on leaked financial documents in 2015, many are bullish on Pinterest's combination of visual, social and search ads onto one platform. As Pinterest finds its niche in the e-commerce space, Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report indicates that 55% of its users were on the site to find and shop for products, compared to just 12% and 9% for Facebook and Instagram, respectively. To its further advantage, Pinterest doesn't need to worry as much about the safety and privacy issues that have hurt its social media peers in the recent past.
Trades on the secondary market value Pinterest between $13 billion and $15 billion, noted CNBC. During the company's latest fundraising round in June 2017, Pinterest had a valuation of $12.3 billion. Other tech giants slated to go public around the same time next year include ride-hailing leader Uber Technologies Inc. and home-sharing titan Airbnb. (See also: 6 IPOs Bringing Rich Profits To Stock Investors.)