Pinterest Disappoints Analysts Who Say Company Needs Higher Engagement Levels
Pinterest this week reported a loss of $124.7 million, or 23 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2019, compared with a loss of $18.9 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts sit on the fence about the company’s future.
“Not the ‘treat’ we were hoping to see,” wrote Michael Levine, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, in a research note. “The deceleration in the U.S. advertising was far more than we had hoped for and while not awful for Q3 (though well below us) on a two-year stack at 104% down from 115% in Q219.”
Levine likes the infrastructure and advertising options the company has built for international markets, but other analysts do not.
Pinterest, which has tried to engage consumers with its search features, has failed to gain any significant user engagement in Australia, Russia and Africa, and the company largely seems to be a U.S. phenomenon, wrote Trip Chowdhry, equity research analyst at Global Equity Research, in a note published Friday.
He believes Pinterest engagement levels are plateauing and the company’s initial public offering (IPO) marked the company peak.
“Pinterest will continue to struggle with profitability and engagement,” he wrote.
Chowdhry is known for his straightforward approach. “Pinterest has the worst engagement,” he said, among all the social media companies tracked, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, and Instagram, he wrote.
During the earnings call, one analyst asked management how Pinterest will acquire new advertisers. Ben Silbermann, cofounder and CEO of Pinterest, during the earnings call said the company is working on using its advertising dollars to build a “pipeline” of small to-mid-sized businesses that will advertise on the platform, but the program must have the ability to quickly recoup the funds spent.
Pinterest has yet to push its brand on consumers. To date it has focused more on re-engaging existing users, perhaps by reminding them of a seasonal event such as Thanksgiving. It’s more about building awareness through the brand.
Evan Sharp, the cofounder and head of design at Pinterest, told Fast Company about a strategy called “compassionate design” that centers on the idea that emotional outcomes matter in internet services.