Pinterest Q2 Eclipsed By New CEO’s Plan to Monetize Mix of Social, Search and eCommerce

pinterest, pandemic, social media, engagement

One month into his new role and Pinterest CEO Bill Ready was given a rousing 20% ovation from Wall Street Monday after the former PayPal and Google executive told investors he planned to unlock and monetize the ailing social media company’s unique potential.

In delivering the 12-year-old San Francisco-based company’s second quarter results, Ready told investors that during his career, he’s rarely come across a business that had Pinterest’s mix of tools.

“I joined Pinterest [as CEO] because it offers people a digital experience that is genuinely unique and positive and because we’ve only just begun to tap into the possibilities that experience has to create value for users and advertisers,” Ready added before pointing to its enviable position at the intersection of social media, search and eCommerce.

“I’m incredibly excited to help unlock the company’s potential,” Ready said, referencing his long career in ecommerce and payments.

While acknowledging that there are many places for consumers to buy online, he countered that there are very few where consumers can shop, browse, discover and get inspired before they buy.

“Pinterest has inspiration, discovery, and strong user intent, all in the same place,” Ready said, pointing to the “unique mindset” of its 433 Million active users’ — or “Pinners” — who are deeply involved in the process of finding and saving the content they love.

“You save something because you plan to return and take action on it,” Ready added, calling this type of engagement “a highly differentiated first-party signal” that he plans to leverage and create value for Pinners and advertisers alike.

Taking Action

To be sure, Ready’s remarks and reputation — along with fresh reassurances from Pinterest’s new top-shareholder Elliott Management — offered a welcome relief to financial results that saw revenues up 9% but active users down 5%.

“Pinterest is a highly strategic business with significant potential for growth, and our conviction in the value-creation opportunity at Pinterest today has led us to become the Company’s largest investor,” Elliott said in a statement released alongside the earnings report.

While echoing Ready’s view of Pinterest’s “unique position” in the advertising and shopping ecosystems, the Elliott announcement also referred to the newly appointed CEO as the right leader to oversee Pinterest’s next phase of growth to realize its full potential.

Elliott made no reference to reports that it is also taking a stake in PayPal, the beleaguered FinTech that itself has — and is — said to be mulling another bid for Pinterest after terminating one last year.

The Struggle is Real

Even with the 20% after-hours bounce in its stock price, the reality cannot be dismissed that Pinterest has fallen nearly 70% over the past 12 months, a slump that has dragged its market value down to $13 billion from close to $50 billion last year.

“I recognize that there is a lot of work ahead of us, especially during a period of significant macroeconomic headwinds and general consumer uncertainty,” Ready said on the call, before insisting that Pinterest is operating from a position of strength, as a growing and differentiated business that offers a distinct value proposition to advertisers.

To that point, in the past month alone, Pinterest has bought AI-powered fashion site The Yes, brought on a new CEO, and unveiled its new Shuffles app, which simplifies collage-making, as well as the sharing and shopping for user’s favorite online finds.