Search results targeted women

This explains why no men were using Pinterest

If you ever wondered why Pinterest took off with women and not men, we have our answer. Friday the company announced it had changed its search filtering options so that men could see results catered to their gender.

In the past, when searching for workouts or clothes their feed would fill with pins targeted to women. Since Pinterest’s early users were women, the application spread virally through that demographic. Naturally the most popular pins and pinners are, as a result, for women or by women.

That shut out men who might also find the technology useful but didn’t like the results they were served. Although some people who identify as men might appreciate a more feminine selection, not all would. Take a look at Pinterest’s screenshot on the difference in genders:

The difference in gender searching on Pinterest. Left: Men ; Right: Women
The difference in gender searching on Pinterest. Left: Men ; Right: Women

The new gender focus will appear as a toggle, allowing women and men to search for items of the opposite gender as well. That could be helpful for anyone with more androgynous taste, or it could serve well for gift shopping purposes.

The attempt to make Pinterest appealing to men comes from the company’s new head of brand, David Rubin, who formerly ran marketing for the ultra dude product Axe body spray. He was brought on in part to achieve that goal, and he started by commissioning Pinterest ad storylines to appeal to men and filling men’s home feeds with male products. Frankly I’m surprised it took the company this long to create gender specific search results — it has been around for over seven years, after all.

With the product announcement Pinterest also revealed new statistics, saying that its number of male signups have grown 73 percent year over year. It’s impressive numbers for the U.S. As we’ve covered, in some other countries, Pinterest has actually had a far easier time recruiting men to the application.

Since it’s a user-generated content site it’s demographics tend to build on themselves. The more women — or motorcycle fans, or cooks, or interior designers — are on the site, the more pin will be created that appeal to them.

To kickstart other groups Pinterest has to woo them with product shifts, and it’s doing just that.

7 Responses to “This explains why no men were using Pinterest”

  1. “Frankly I’m surprised it took the company this long to create gender specific search results — it has been around for over seven years, after all.” That is one other reason why I’m so disenchanted with any marketing efforts in the digital world today. They keep missing the mark unnecessarily…playing off of assumptions, biases and prejudices still. This solution is such a “duh”…it’s about time.

  2. I am very much a hearty heterosexual male but find that my log in screen is infested with pictures of Scarlet Johansen. A very nice lady but I don’t want this screen and I can find no way to change my log-in screen. Any ideas?

  3. Panjwani Ajay

    Pinterest is an interesting model. Some sort of public bookmarking. It is actually a most blatant affiliate setup. In a blog you explain some concept then hope people might click on affiliate links as an extension to what their interaction were with the blog. But on Pinterest, all that formality is done away with. It is like one of those trade magazines that has only ads and no articles. The fault lies with with flatness of user hierarchy, yes there are stats about followers that clearly indicate a users influence etc but there are no cloaks. A cloak is where a user forces signal loss of overlaps. So if user A is talking corelle then corelle talk of user B (also followed) gets cloaked. This is almost sacrilegious but necessary. Naturally it is not an ideal or just solution, it is only to ensure that the recommendations are not motivated. Once cloaking takes effect, there would be no need to swing search for different genders.

  4. I think it’s just a fundamental difference where most men don’t really care to look at pictures of products unless they’re actively in the market for them. Most men don’t window shop either and really don’t like spending time at malls unless they specifically need something.