Last week, the image-sharing social-media business, Pinterest, announced its financial results for the quarter ending June 30, 2022. Despite the company reporting a $43 million net loss compared to $69 million in net income during the year-ago quarter, Pinterest stock jumped about 20 percent after the company’s earnings release. The jump appears to trace to two developments.
First, consider that the metric of monthly active users (MAUs) has gained importance in measuring a social media business’s long-term earnings potential and therefore, its appeal to shareholders. While the number of worldwide MAUs of Pinterest declined 5 percent during the second quarter, from 454 million in 2021 to 433 million this year, the number of Pinterest MAUs was flat in second quarter, compared to first quarter, and slightly better than what analysts expected – a slight decline to 431 million MAUs.
Second, on August 1, Elliott Investment Management, L.P. disclosed that the firm had become the largest shareholder in Pinterest. In a press release, Elliott executives Jesse Cohn and Marc Steinberg explained the firm’s interest thusly, “As the market-leading platform at the intersection of social media, search and commerce, Pinterest occupies a unique position in the advertising and shopping ecosystems, and CEO Bill Ready is the right leader to oversee Pinterest’s next phase of growth.”
Pinterest, founded in San Francisco in 2010, is the world’s 14th-largest social network. The company makes money principally by serving ads on the company’s website and mobile app. Users of the website and app can discover inspiring ideas on topics ranging from party planning to home remodeling and from food to fashion. Visual stimuli (“pins”) take the form of still images, animated GIFs (graphics interchange format) and videos, all of which are presented on pinboards. Users can create their own Pinterest boards, each with its own theme or purpose. A user’s Pinterest profile is comprised of one or more such boards. Users can elect to “follow” other users’ entire Pinterest accounts, or just specific boards that interest them.
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