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Pinterest reaches 100 million monthly users

The San Francisco startup's global push helps it surpass 100 million monthly active users. But that's still far behind rivals like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Pinterest is announcing its user number for the first time. Pinterest

Online bookmarking site Pinterest on Wednesday announced it has crossed a major milestone: 100 million monthly active members.

The new milestone underscores the 5-year-old startup's ambitions of evolving from a bookmarking site into a go-to for discovering a range of products. In the past 18 months, Pinterest said it doubled its number of users, with 45 percent of them coming from outside the US.

"This year we're focused on growing internationally," said Pinterest spokesperson Jamie Favazza. "Pinterest has been available internationally for years, and the first translated version of the site launched for French Pinners in June 2013." Today, Pinterest is available in more than 30 languages.

Despite its transformation and growth, the San Francisco-based startup is still catching up to its social competitors. In comparison, Facebook just crossed 1 billion daily active users. Twitter and Instagram each announced around 300 million monthly users. Meanwhile, Snapchat announced 100 million users active every day. This is the first time that Pinterest has released its user number.

"Pinterest has had a slower user growth rate than most of these other [social networks]," said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer.

As the sixth-most valuable venture-backed startup, Pinterest has seen its virtual clipboard business grow by helping people uncover unique items and websites for specific needs, such as decorations for a wedding or the best recipe for a family meal. The suggestions are considered useful because they offer easy-to-digest context: article Pins offer headlines and story descriptions, recipe Pins list ingredients and cook times, and product Pins list price and availability.

"Pinterest has a strong outlook for advertising sales, given its positioning as a discovery and planning tool for life's major moments," said Williamson. "It's still a solidly female demographic but ... many media outlets have survived and thrived targeting a female audience."

Also as part of Pinterest's expansion plans, the startup announced in February that it was launching a service to help people cut through the noise when it comes to finding the right iPhone and iPad apps. Applying the same approach Pinterest uses for other "pinned" items, "app pins" let users search for apps and download them directly from the Pinterest app without ever leaving to go to Apple's App Store.