Side Note

Pivoting to video didn’t work — so why not pivot to Pinterest?

Less than a year ago, a handful of publications announced they would be “pivoting to video,” laying off writers and editors in the process. For these publications, viral, easily digestible social-first videos — especially those shared on Facebook — were supposed to be the answer to lagging audience numbers and declining profits. Except it didn’t work: Facebook changed its algorithm, choosing to prioritize “meaningful social interactions” over posts from publishers. Unsurprisingly, the newest tweak to the algorithm resulted in even more layoffs.

Now that video is out, it seems that pictures are in; Digiday reported Monday that publishers — especially lifestyle websites — are increasingly turning to Pinterest to fill the void Facebook left behind. Digiday spoke with executives from publications like PureWow and BuzzFeed, with the latter suggesting that the platform would be helpful in promoting content that isn’t related to the news cycle. On the surface this makes sense, at least for lifestyle publishers: it’s easy to imagine your typical viral Facebook video being remade into a shareable pin. Instead of watching a clip about a glitter unicorn cappuccino, you can just repin a photo of it.

Pinterest’s trending board

Pinterest’s trending board

In a post-Facebook landscape, it’s inevitable that publications will have to diversify their traffic sources. The trouble is, instead of learning from the past, the media industry still seems to be looking for the “next” Facebook. If relying on outside platforms didn’t work in the past, then it probably isn’t something to build a future on.