We Heart It quietly amasses a following, sneaks up on Pinterest

With 20M young, active users, We Heart It has become the dark horse of social networks

We Heart It has quietly amassed 20 million active monthly users and given Pinterest some competition.
We Heart It has quietly amassed 20 million active monthly users and given Pinterest some competition.

If Pinterest is looking over its shoulder, it's probably keeping an eye on We Heart It, an image-based social networking site that has quietly amassed a user base of 20 million.

We Heart It is a social site focused on photos, much like Pinterest. However, unlike it's older and bigger rival, We Heart It has that marketer's dream of a 16- to 24-year-old core base and US$8 million in investor funding.

The site says it's adding a million new users a month.

We Heart It has quietly amassed 20 million active monthly users and given Pinterest some competition. For a company that was incorporated two years ago and hired its first CEO just two months ago, We Heart It has made a lot of progress.

"We've been very quiet. We've been focused on the product and our users," said CEO Ranah Edelin. "Facebook is great. I use it all the time. I have a lot of respect for them but this is about defining who you are and expressing who you are in a visual way. And that can make it easier to understand someone."

We Heart It is built to enable users to collect and share images, which sounds a lot like Pinterest, a pin-board-style service that also allows users to create and share collections of images.

Pinterest, with about 50 million active users, is known for having its older users who are interested in do-it-yourself projects and images focused on gardening, fashion and crafts.

We Heart It's younger users are more interested in telling the world about themselves through images of things they're interested in, says Edelin.

"You can follow people, but it's not about connecting with your friends," he said. "Facebook is about connecting with the friends you know. This is more about following people you have shared interests with. If I'm interested in scuba diving or traveling, I'm going to follow people interested in the same thing."

Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis, said younger users especially are increasingly into sharing images, perhaps more than written posts, on social media.

"Look at how somebody uses Facebook compared to a site like this," said Shimmin. "You are telling people who you are through this service without writing a 4,000-word manifest. What strikes me as compelling is that some people may not feel comfortable talking about what they had for breakfast but they can tell people who they are, in a very intimate way by associating themselves with things they like."

We Heart It is all about what things, interests, causes or hobbies people want to be identified with. It's kind of like a visual ID, Shimmin added.

"Here you get rid of these contractual social obligations," said Shimmin. "This is more emotional, I think. It's more about following images than people."

We Heart It youthful base, and the fact it's adding a million new users a month, gives Pinterest something to worry about, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

"I had not heard of the site, but my teenage girls had," he said. "Social media is like TV channels, in that as long as it is very different and has enough scale, it can pull users away from the largest sites. This is very different from Pinterest, which has drawn an older and more diverse crowd but 20 million active users is impressive."

Pinterest needs to figure out how it could draw in the 16 to 24-year-old demographic, Moorhead added.

Shimmin, however, said there's plenty of room for both Pinterest and We Heart It to succeed with their own user bases.

"The market for social network destination sites is phenomenally large and vibrant and able to support a wide array of audiences," said Shimmin. "I think Pinterest and We Heart It have a different philosophy about them and I think the market can house both. You don't' have to pledge your allegiance to one or the other."

<<p>Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Maintaining trust in a sceptical world: The power of brand trust

The faith people have in brands creates opportunity for those brands to become trusted advisors. In turn, this builds success by increasing the brand’s profile, letting it broaden its product offering and driving stronger customer loyalty.

Dan Ratner

managing director, uberbrand

When growth stalls: How to boost growth in large organisations

The push to start new businesses continues. In Q1 2017, the number of seed and angel deals increased by 1.4 per cent compared to Q1 2016.

Con Frantzeskos

CEO, Penso

Why we need diversity in marketing

​When we read articles about the need for increased diversity in marketing land, it is often through the lens of gender.

Jodie Sangster

CEO, ADMA

Interesting insight, well explained and the examples are just apt.Thanks for sharing!

FreshMindIdeas

The politics of branding - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

When the world that we live in floods with gigabytes of content every day, we have to learn to be selective about it. Such educational we...

Paulina Cameron

ADMA launches education program to tackle viewability, ad fraud and brand safety

Read more

Hi, i am an Aistralian ALK patient, been on xalkori dec 13 to oct 15 and achieved remission of disease, since been on Ceritinib until no...

gary packer

Pfizer Australia adopts AI-powered digital analyst tool for sales and marketing decision making

Read more

Hi James, shouldn't marketers also be focusing on collecting and utilizing up to date first-party profiling data on customers so that mes...

Tom

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Read more

Wouldn't reconnecting with younger consumers be in direct contravention of the code on alcohol advertising?

Tim Palmer

Vodka Cruiser reconnects with younger consumers via category-first Facebook Live campaign

Read more

Latest Podcast

Getting Intimate with CX Ep 5: Tammy Marshall, founder, The B Hive

How much of customer experience is having the foresight to know what those individuals might like, versus asking them? In Episode 5 of this new podcast series, BrandHook MD, Pip Stocks, talks with Tammy Marshall about the importance of asking your customers questions, how consistency plays a role in engagement, but how the unexpected adds extra value.

More podcasts

Sign in