Why Do College Students Use Pinterest? A Model and Implications for Scholars and Marketers

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Marketers are rushing to establish a presence on social media based on the promise of reaching a growing segment of users, and with the intention of achieving brand and sales-related objectives. Our recent study of Pinterest usage among college students was designed to produce findings to aid such endeavors. While there is much in the practitioner press and the blogosphere to suggest that Pinterest is shaping the purchase behavior of users, there is no theory to explain why college students use this social media. This article reports findings from a multistage study of college students’ Pinterest usage. The purpose of the study was to stimulate new thinking and aid future theory development efforts. Findings suggest that Pinterest-using college students are psychologically healthy and grounded, and seek and find authentic experiences and enrichment on Pinterest. We draw implications for scholars interested in developing theories of social media usage, and for practitioners interested in harnessing the power of Pinterest.



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