San Francisco-based Pinterest, which has emerged as a dominant player on the social landscape, shows considerable potential as an online marketing tool, according to a new report by eMarketer.

The report entitled “Pinterest for Marketers: What You Need to Know” analysed Pinterest in terms of usage, marketing, advertising and ecommerce, unveiling the ‘need to know’ stats and findings regarding Pinterest’s development as the platform starts its advertising push this year.

While the social network may not be reaching the same user numbers as companies such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, this year is set to see rapid changes for the virtual bookmarking site.

Kids in America

According to estimates laid out in the report, Pinterest’s user base in the US is set to reach 47.1 million in 2015, up 11.4% year over year.

Over one-quarter of US social network users and 18.1% of internet users will use Pinterest on a monthly basis this year, and by 2019 the network’s monthly user base is set to reach 59.3 million, almost 30% of social network users in the US.

“[Pinterest’s] growth may be more limited than other services, simply because what you do on Pinterest- find and pin things that you like- isn’t necessarily something that large numbers of people may want to do,” says Debra Aho Williamson, principal social media analyst at eMarketer and author of the report.

“[But] in a year when marketers are starting to worry about ‘dark social’ platforms where most conversations are private, there’s a polar opposite- Pinterest.”

Overall, Pinterest holds a majority female demographic and despite its male user base steadily increasing, eMarketer forecast that by 2019, males will be pushed make up a 20% share of the site’s US audience.

Outside the US, however, more men are beginning to use Pinterest, a trend which eMarketer states is integral to the company’s growth efforts.

However, just 30% of the site’s users hail from outside North America and Pinterest must ensure that they are not pegged with a US-centric image.

Search and discovery

Although the social platform is looking to develop and grow its social marketing and advertising dollars, the report states that it is also being used heavily as a search platform.

The use of images and the ability to follow a range of pinners and boards makes search results distinctive and provides unique value among competitive social properties, according to eMarketer.

With this in mind, the research points to a very different battle, stating that the platform may find itself competing more directly with Google and than Twitter and Facebook.

“Pinterest users are likely to be in a better frame of mind to receive advertising,” Williamson wrote. “At the early stages of advertising on Facebook, users were much less inclined towards ads, and marketers were similarly sceptical.”

Nevertheless, although eMarketer reported that the early results from Pinterest’s advertising tests have been generally positive, the market research company claims that even the most enthusiastic supporters of the platform have concerns as to whether it can compete with the big players in social media.