Pinterest Pins Its Hopes On International Growth, Starts Out With Localizing ‘Pin It Forward’ Campaign To Drive More U.K. Posts

Pinterest is ramping up its international strategy by kicking off a localisation effort in the U.K. today, tweaking the site so that it deliberately foregrounds U.K. content to U.K. users and also adding a British English language setting to make Brits feel more at home. The U.K. is the first part in what appears to be a bigger strategy to target more usage, and more users, outside of the U.S., with France likely to be the next country to get the localizing treatment, according to a spokeswoman.

We’ve asked Pinterest if it is conducting parallel localisation efforts in other global markets and will update this story with any response. Update: “Pinterest does feel like it’s just getting started with its localisation efforts and with the UK being the first international effort the team is hoping to learn a lot from it, in order to inform how they reach out to communities in other countries. France is likely to be next but Pinterest is waiting to finalise these details until after they’ve learned more from the UK,” the spokeswoman said.

The company is not currently breaking out user numbers, but according to one estimate Pinterest had some 40 million users as of February this year.

Back in February Pinterest raised $200 million in Series D funding — with “international growth” pegged as one of the growth-oriented initiatives that the money would be used for. Last year it also picked up a $100 billion investment from Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten — a further sign of its international ambitions. While in March this year, Pinterest rolled out a design refresh, adding bigger pictures and more discovery features worldwide.

It also rolled out a web analytics product to make it easier for businesses to track referrals and measure what users are doing on the site. Today’s localisation efforts reinforce  that effort by encouraging greater user engagement — and driving engagement is likely to be key to helping the social network generate revenues some day.

Here’s how the company explained the U.K.-specific site changes in an email sent to TechCrunch:

…more UK Pinners and pins will be suggested to UK users on the site. Also, when a new person in the UK joins Pinterest, they’ll now see other Pinners in the UK. In addition, search results will feature more UK content. Finally, Pinterest is making sure that people in the UK can access the service in British English. We’re hoping this will lead to more British pinners discovering things they love on Pinterest.

In addition to these U.K.-specific site customisations, the visual social network/content discovery site is also kicking off a dedicated community event — using the hashtag #PinitforwardUK — in a bid to raise its local profile. It’s also launched a U.K. welcome page, in a further outreach effort.

The Pin It Forward UK initiative, which kicks off today, will be used to spread the word about the new, U.K.-flavoured Pinterest beyond the confines of Pinterest. The company has recruited 300 bloggers to post Pinterest-related blogs on their own sites over the next 30 days to “celebrate their passion” — or rather explain how to use Pinterest and, through that, hopefully reel in more British eyeballs.

Each day 10 or so bloggers will post about their passion, describe how they express it on Pinterest, and introduce the set of bloggers for the next day. Long-time UK pinner, Will Taylor, from Bright.Bazaar today started things off with a guest post on the Pinterest Blog. Pinterest will be promoting Pin It Forward UK on its blog, social channels (using #PinItForwardUK) and will also be featuring the best boards as part of the Pinterest Weekly emails.

Pinterest said the U.K.-specific site customisations are a “first step” in its effort to improve the experience for U.K. users, and are the result of feedback it has received from U.K. users.

Bright.Bazaar’s Taylor’s introductory blog on the Pin It Forward UK campaign explains that the site never officially launched in the U.K. — rather it was switched on globally and allowed to grow organically — adding that the idea behind the campaign is therefore to “make Pinterest feel more natural, welcoming and interesting to local audiences”.