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Pinterest Loses 24 Million Users as Lockdowns Ease and Physical Stores Re-Open Around the World



After reporting 11 quarters of consecutive user growth, Pinterest has taken a hit, with the platform seeing a decline in overall users in Q2, though its revenue results remained strong for the period.

But users will be the key storyline here – as you can see here, Pinterest lost 24 million users over the past three months, with US users dropping 5% year-on-year.

Pinterest Q2 2021

The loss, Pinterest says, is largely attributable to the global vaccine roll-out, and the re-opening of physical stores, which has impacted adoption of eCommerce and online browsing.

As per Pinterest:

“Fewer MAUs came to Pinterest during Q2 than we expected. The primary driver of slower year over year MAU growth globally, and year over year MAU declines in the US, was the widespread easing of pandemic restrictions. As lockdowns lifted, people spent less time at home in Q2 2021 vs. Q2 2020. Given that many of Pinterest’s core use cases (e.g., decor, garden, cooking, DIY) are especially relevant at home, we believe we disproportionately benefited from increased time spent at home during pandemic lockdowns.”

In other words, last year’s results were somewhat anomalous, due to the pandemic, which means that these numbers will inevitably look bad in comparison. On balance, 454 million overall users is steady, in terms of the platform’s longer-term growth trajectory – it’s just that adding 62 million more users over the past year was not sustainable, which amplifies the losses somewhat.

For context, Pinterest’s user count jumped from 367 million in Q1 20 to 416 million Q2 20, the platform’s biggest quarter-on-quarter increase in its history (49m). Without the subsequent pandemic influx, and based on its current user count (454m), Pinterest would have posted an average increase of 17.4m new users per quarter over the past year, which would be considered good performance. But riding the COVID-induced wave has muddied that with a far more variable, and less favorable, comparison.

The specific impacts of the retail re-opening are also underlined in Pinterest’s notes, with the platform explaining that the biggest drag on its usage numbers was due to fewer people logging into the platform via the web. Pinterest also says that web-based Pinterest users were ‘less engaged and generating less revenue’ than Pinners who use the mobile app.

“In Q2, MAUs on our mobile apps grew in the US year over year, and grew by more than 20% internationally.”

So if you were targeting Pin users on the web, or your target market is primarily desktop-based, it may not be the best outreach option for your brand.

Pinterest does, however, note that both shopping and search engagement, overall, remain solid, so people are still discovering new products and brands, and buying through the app.

This particular element has benefited from the platform’s improved feed ingestion processes (catalog uploads were up 50% quarter over quarter in Q2), facilitating more shoppable Pins, and giving brands more opportunity to get their products in front of active consumers.

Essentially, what this means is that while Pinterest may not have as many users, overall, the users that it does have may prove to be just as valuable, if it can continue to refine and improve is in-stream buying experiences.

That’s largely reflected in Pinterest’s Average Revenue Per User stats, which have increased on Q1.

Pinterest Q2 2021

So even if it is losing some audience reach, the people that are using the app are still engaged, which is a positive sign for the app. 

Growth remains a key element, and Pinterest will need to get this back on track. But the figures, as Pinterest notes, reflect a market correction of sorts, following the surge in web usage last year, as a result of the global lockdowns. As that wave recedes, we’re getting a more accurate perspective on what can be considered each company’s actual growth trajectory – and in this sense, Pinterest is growing its core element, in providing a platform for shopping discovery and purchase and facilitating more marketing opportunities.

The top line user stats look bad, but the underlying performance figures still point to significant potential to reach prospective customers in the app.

Pinterest further notes that Gen Z Pinners continue to be highly engaged:

“US MAUs under 25 grew double-digits year over year and showed particularly strong engagement with our new native content format, Idea Pins.”

Idea Pins – which were Story Pins – align with the broader Stories engagement trend, so it’s no surprise to see them catching on with younger users. And the fact that Pinterest is seeing stronger engagement with this audience segment, as eCommerce sales continue to rise, is also a positive sign for future expansion.

Idea Pins

Pinterest says that the number of Idea Pins created daily has grown more than 7x since the beginning of the year and daily impressions from Idea Pins have grown more than 10x in the same period. Worth considering in your strategy.

In terms of revenue, Pinterest brought in $613 million for the quarter, a 125% YoY increase.

Pinterest Q2 2021

Pinterest says it saw particularly strong advertiser interest from large US retailers and travel brands, while the continued expansion of its business tools into new markets has also helped boost revenue intake.

Again, the numbers here subvert what will be the broader narrative, being that the platform has lost users. Because it has lost a surprising amount of MAUs – but taking a similar perspective to Twitter’s ‘Monetizable Daily Active User’ numbers, while Pinterest may have lost some audience, it may also be refining down to more profitable users, or people who are actually using the app to spend money. 

If Pinterest can continue to produce results, then it has a good opportunity to further solidify these results, and build from there – but the concern, of course, is that audience declines will result in less advertiser interest. Which is why Pinterest will need to underline the potential of its direct shopping options to maintain business activity.

Looking ahead, Pinterest has essentially said that it doesn’t know what to expect: 

“Our current expectation is that Q3 revenue will grow in the low-40% range year over year. We expect Q3 operating expenses will grow modestly quarter over quarter as we continue to ramp investments in our long-term strategic priorities, with plans to resume our brand marketing campaign in early Q4. Engagement headwinds on Pinterest have continued in July. The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions remain unknown, and we are not providing guidance on Q3 2021 MAUs given our lack of visibility into certain key drivers of engagement.”

So it could well report another decline in users in the next period. Which would be bad, but if Pinterest can keep producing results for advertisers, and encouraging ad spend, and keep improving its Shoppable Pins and direct selling options, helping businesses connect with its spend-ready users, then it may well be able to maintain its revenue growth momentum, and maximize its ARPU numbers, which it could then point to as a positive sign of business endurance, despite lower audience traction.

But growth will be the key story, and will remain the key focus until Pinterest can convince the market it’s not an issue. Because eventually, no matter how you look at it, it will be, and if Pinterest can’t keep growing and producing results for brands, its challenges could mount as the vaccine rollout continues around the world.


Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade



Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

Ad data and analytics provider DoubleVerify (DV) is building the right side of a cup base with a buy point of 32.53. The growth stock is today’s selection for IBD 50 Stocks to Watch.


DoubleVerify has a strong Composite Rating of 94 and a Relative Strength Rating of 89. Its stellar EPS Rating of 96 is even better.

Company sales grew 35% to $112.3 million in the third quarter while earnings per share of 6 cents grew 20% from the previous year.

On Jan. 10, analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight with a price target of 29. Shares gapped up over 6% on the news, and the move helped the stock start its recovery from the January low.

Growth Stock Surges After Finding Fraud Scheme

DoubleVerify helps advertising companies that target users on video, mobile, and social media platforms. The company also has an analytics side that provides data on consumer engagement.

The digital media analytics platform ensures that ads reach their target customers in a safe way. This means that ads reach actual people with the right context. The software also has tools to adapt ads to different devices.

Its technology also seeks to address ad fraud. On Thursday, the company discovered “BeatSting,” the first large-scale ad-impression fraud scheme that targeted audio ads.

DV Fraud Lab first identified the fraud scheme in 2019, which is largely responsible for advertisers losing $20 million in several scams, according to reports. DoubleVerify was credited for unveiling the fraud. Shares last Thursday surged nearly 4% in strong volume.

Deals With Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, Facebook

The company has partnered with leading social media and mobile platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok to improve ad impact and experience. DoubleVerify has a long-standing relationship with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META). The social media platform faced a massive boycott in 2020 when several companies removed their ads due to concerns over their brand safety.

In June of last year, DoubleVerify brought features that will allow marketers to see where their ads appear in a user’s timeline. The feature uses artificial-intelligence tools to understand the context in which ads appear. The feature also enhanced brand safety  and attracted Twitter and other social media platforms to try it out. Nonetheless, marketers did not buy in entirely, according to reports, as Twitter’s ad revenue continued to struggle.

The growth stock ranks second in the specialty enterprise software group. The stock went public in April 2021. The New York-based company has locations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Mutual funds own 39% of shares outstanding. That may not seem like much, but more funds have been picking up the growth stock over the past eight quarters, according to MarketSmith. The stock has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B-.

Exchange traded funds hold shares of DoubleVerify as well. The Invesco S&P Small Cap Information Technology ETF (PSCT) and the SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF (XITK) own DV.

Please follow VRamakrishnan on Twitter @IBD_VRamakrishnan for more news on growth stocks.


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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads



YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7



'Astonishing' New Cognitive Research Shows Gaining Knowledge, Learning New Skills, and Achieving Mastery Comes Down to the Rule of 7

While talent matters, the good news is we all learn at basically the same rate–and can “learn anything we want.” Think you don’t have the talent for entrepreneurship? For leadership? For programming, for design… for whatever pursuit you may want to, um, pursue? According to HubSpot co-founder …

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