(image source: Pinterest)

Last week TechCrunch has given insights into some juicy figures and financials leaked from Pinterest (Leaked Pinterest Documents Show Revenue, Growth Forecasts / TechCrunch). Andreessen Horowitz used this information to solicit limited partners to invest in its special investment fund for Pinterest earlier this year, valuing the social media company at $11 billion.

Here’s a little summary of what we know now. The key essence for me is the whopping jump projected in revenues until 2018. Compare this to the user / MAU projections for the same timeframe and it is clear what’s ahead: very decisive monetization activity in the area of advertising. Here’s the key figures TechCrunch has shared:

Revenue projections:

  • Revenue Forecast 2015 ($mn): $169
  • Revenue Forecast 2018 ($mn): $2,800
  • Revenue Growth ’15-’18: 1556.80% (that’s a 16.6-fold multiplication)

Revenue per user projections:

  • Revenue per user 2015: $1.44
  • Revenue per user 2018: $9.34
  • Revenue per user growth ’15-’18: 548.61% (that’s a 6.5-fold multiplication)

Monthly Active User projections:

  • End of 2014 MAU (mn): 88
  • Forecast MAU 2015 (mn): 151
  • Forecast MAU 2018 (mn): 329
  • MAU growth ’15-’18: 117.88% (that’s a 2.2-fold multiplication)

Other key and remarkable statements we can extract from the leaked information:

  • over half of U.S. women between the ages of 18-54 have signed up for Pinterest
  • strong growth amongst male users, growing 133% last year (2014)
  • strongest growth outside of the U.S., accounting for 60% of new users
  • fastest growing markets last year (2014) were the UK, Japan, France, Germany and Brazil

Their primary advertising product today is “promoted pins”. Promoted pins are charged cost-per-click by default but can also be applied with more flexible charging depending on to be agreed engagement activity.

So once again, expect a massive push in the advertising and promoted pins area. Whatever comes, it must be big to spur those aggressive revenue plans. Compare the 2.2-fold growth of the monthly active users (MAU) with the anticipated 16.6-fold growth of revenues! Pinterest is getting really serious about squeezing a lot more revenue out of each user than in the previous ramp up time in the recent months. I am very keen to see if Pinterest will manage to monetize its active user base in such an aggressive way, especially considering first insights from Instagram and what people think about graphic advertising formats like promoted posts in their ecosystem (More than 50% of Instagram’s biggest fans hate ad increase / VentureBeat). Pinterest should have an easier job though on mashing user-generated content with ads, since “user-generated content” in their service is “user-curated 3rd party content” in most of the cases. Who bothers when there’s adequate promoted content among that?

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