Despite the growing popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, Pinterest has managed to stay in the race. I’m a Pinterest user myself – I scroll through a list of pins about fashion, food and fitness a few times a day for inspiration and the occasional cookie recipe. But if I want to shop online, Pinterest isn’t my source.
According to a study by Curalate, about 50% of Pinterest pins link to web sites that are either outdated or don’t exist. In other words, the sweater that I repinned this morning has most likely been sold out for a year. In fact, every time I get on Pinterest to browse pins, I see at least five pins that I pinned in high school. When I shared the Curalate statistic with my friends, everyone immediately related.
“Oh my god I know,” my friend Hannah immediately gave her two cents. “That literally happens to me every day. There’s a watch I’ve been wanting and every time I follow the link it says it’s been sold out. And I’ve been seeing it on Pinterest for two years.”
The problem with this is that looking at empty content isn’t a fulfilling way to use social media, and therefor Pinterest might not be a sustainable social media platform.
Twitter, Instagram, and now even Snapchat, thrive because of their constant feeds of new content. If I get on Twitter, I’m almost sure that I’m going to see original tweets and timely retweets of timely news stories. If I get on Instagram, the content is almost always new. If the photo was posted by a company, I know that product is probably still available. If I get on Pinterest, it’s because I have excessive time on my hands to look at photos that have no context.
The more social networks grow, the less time anyone will have to mindlessly scroll through old content. Unless Pinterest finds a way to connect pins to online retailers, and not allow sold out content to be republished, I imagine the app will slowly die out. But in this downfall lies the opportunity for Pinterest to become the ultimate online shopping network… more on that later.