Pinterest, the image-based social network, is picking up more global momentum: today, it announced the launch of a new site in French, with users in France getting pushed more localized content and more French site links in both their search and category feeds. The French version is being launched simultaneously on web, iOS and Android, and follows news in May of Pinterest in the UK, the site’s first move into international waters.
With much of 2012 seeing a number of sites following in the footsteps of Pinterest and undergoing “Pinterestification” redesigns — that is, highly-visual, grid-based layouts and instant links for social sharing — the big challenge for Pinterest now is to use its position not only to stay ahead of the pack, but to take things to the next level. With advertising appearing to be a part of how the company plans to monetize the platform, scaling up will be essential, and that is where international growth is key.
It will also be interesting to see what Pinterest does about copycats that have sprung up in Europe in its absence. (Pinspire, from Rocket Internet, comes to mind here.) Also a challenge: currently, Pinterest doesn’t appear to own Pinterest.fr.
Important to note that while this is Pinterest’s next step in localized content, the company has already been offering users the ability to change language settings on the site. In addition to English and French, Pinterest can be viewed in Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese — possible clues to which markets will get local versions next. There is already another country launch in the works, a spokesperson says, but Pinterest is still waiting to finalize details before announcing it.
“This is among our first international efforts, and we are hoping to learn a lot that will inform how we reach out to communities in more countries moving forward,” she added. “We’re just getting started.”
A spokesperson for Pinterest would not break out how many of its users are currently outside the U.S. In February, when Pinterest pinned down $250 million in funding at a $2.5 billion valuation, it had 48.7 million users, according to comScore. (France and all things French and romantic, of course, were already hugely popular topics for pinners prior to today.)
Pinterest tells us that it has a team on the ground in Paris this week, and, as it did with its UK launch, will be using the next month spotlight some of the more prominent French pinners already on the site. (You can read about the first two French pinners here.)
Update: SimilarWeb has a breakdown of where traffic is coming from on Pinterest’s site, and France is pretty small, with just over 1% of all traffic: in fact, the U.S. has by far the highest number at 70%. France’s traffic over the last six months grew by about 20%, while U.S. traffic declined by about 8%.