Pinterest hit a milestone this week, announcing that it has reached 100 million users, far exceeding the estimates of some analysts' calculations earlier this year.
As the New York Times reports, "[Pinterest] has faced scrutiny over whether the size of its user base and business growth can justify its huge valuation." Over the past five years, the company has grown to a valuation of about $11 billion dollars.
Earlier this year, a report by eMarketer guessed that Pinterest would hit 47 million users in the U.S, by 2015, and 59 million U.S. users by 2019. *
According to Tribune:
Co-founder Evan Sharp told AFP that most of the users "are not just visiting Pinterest once a month, but they're actually discovering something so interesting that they're saving it or are clicking through to the website."
"It's 100 million active users, more than 70 per cent of whom are actively engaged," he said in a telephone interview. The disclosure from Pinterest is the first time since its launch in March 2010 that it has discussed the number of users.
Sharp said that the majority of Pinterest users are women but noted the gender gap "is closing a little bit every month."
However, Pinterest's numbers are lower than Instagram, which claims some 300 million users.
It is only in the past year or so that Pinterest has made moves into monetizing its growth. Slowly it has offered itself to advertisers, allowing big brands to buy promoted pins. And, while ads may seem more intrusive on Instagram, interrupting photos of fuzzy cats and weekend warrior selfies, Pinterest relies on its users to save items that they theoretically want to buy.
The question, as with most tech companies of this age, is how they will meet their valuation. But what the numbers do suggest is this: Pinterest is not going anywhere anytime soon.
*Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story failed to disclose that those predictions were for the U.S. only. We regret the omission.