Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media websites and is slowly becoming recognized as one of the social media behemoths, much like Twitter and Facebook. However, there is one major difference between Pinterest and other social media websites – Pinterest is largely female dominated. There is nothing wrong with this, but Pinterest will have to tap into the other half of the population if it hopes on being as popular as its competitors. With about 70% of users being female, how can Pinterest market itself towards men?
Pinterest executives have tried making the topics a bit more gender neutral (i.e. putting pizza and tacos in the cooking section) and have tailored search results based on gender (i.e. a search for “workouts” will pull up “Men’s Fitness” or “Women’s Health”). These changes have been rather successful as topics like “geek,” “cars and motorcycles,” and “men’s fashion” have all seen an over 100% increase in trends.
Part of the stigma might be that men, especially masculine-identified men, tend to reject feminine products. A 2009 study byBrett A. S. Martin and Juergen Gnoth tested how men felt about masculine, feminine, or androgynous male models in advertisements. The subjects were “primed” beforehand to take a private perspective by writing about their “sense of independence” or collective perspective by writing about their “sense of connectedness with people you feel close to.” Most masculine-identified and feminine-identified men preferred masculine male models. Only the feminine-identified men who were primed to take the collective perspective preferred the feminine male models.
Another major problem is that the website’s layout features an overwhelming use of content. Women can process more information more quickly and at a lower threshold than men can. “If this was a magazine, they’d turn the page,” Ms. Meyers-Levy said. “It works for females because they like detail, they like more complexity.”
Marketers who advertise on Pinterest also have a harder time reaching out to the men who use the website. A 2012 study from The Social Habit found that women pin clothing and fashion to get ideas of what to buy. Men pin clothing that they already have and want to show off.
Luckily, there are a number of male-oriented brands that are doing quite well on Pinterest. A few successful companies include Sports Illustrated, Dollar Shave Club, The Art of Manliness, and GQ Style. These brands might not be as successful as Elle or Sephora, but it’s certainly a start.