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Pinterest, Inc. (NYSE:PINS)
Q1 2019 Earnings Call
May 16, 2019 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good afternoon, my name is Cheryl, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Pinterest First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speaker's remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press *1 on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, press #. Jane Penner, Head of Investor Relations, you may begin your conference.

Jane Penner -- Head of Investor Relations

Thank you, Cheryl. Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Pinterest First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. With us today are Ben Silbermann and Todd Morgenfeld. Now I will quickly cover the Safe Harbor. Some of the statements that we might make today regarding our business performance and operations may be considered forward-looking, and such statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially.

For more information, please refer to the risk factors discussed in our most recent form 10-Q filed with the SEC. During this call, we will present both GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP measures is included in today's earnings press release, which is distributed and available to the public through our investor relations website located at investor.pinterestinc.com. And now I'll turn the call over to Ben.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Jane and hi everyone. Thanks for joining our very first earnings call. We want this to be the start of an open and helpful dialogue, so we really appreciate your time and interest, and since this is our first call, we thought it would be helpful to just give some quick background on Pinterest and our journey here. Then we'll briefly talk about some highlights from our quarter, and Todd will open it up for questions.

So, we launch Pinterest in 2010 with a simple idea to help people collect all the things they loved across the Internet. We always thought that collections say a lot about who you are, your interests, and aspirations for the future and we wanted to help people find, save, and organize all the things that interested them online. People began collecting everything from midcentury furniture they wanted to buy to recipes they wanted to cook to vintage motorcycles they dreamed about owning. And pretty early on, we also began noticing something more, that people were just using Pinterest to create collections, they also loved browsing and getting new ideas on our platform.

So, for the last nine years, we've expanded our mission into something more ambitious to help people all over the world get inspiration to plan their lives and help them make those plans a reality off-line. We've come a pretty long way since 2010. As you can see in the shareholder letter we released today, there are now 290 million people using Pinterest every month all over the world. They've created more than 4 billion named collections that we call Pinboards, and more than 200 billion ideas have been saved to these boards which pinners are bringing to life every day.

And what's interesting isn't just how many people are coming to Pinterest and what they're doing, it's also why. People come to Pinterest to focus on themselves, their interests, and their lives, not to keep up with other people or to socialize. They come to plan their futures, not to relive the past and they come to be productive in the real lives, not strictly for online entertainment. What's great is that unlike many platforms where advertisements are attacks on the user experience, we think ads on Pinterest can add to the experience. Commercial content helps our users be productive, plan their futures, and bring their plans to life. In fact, relevant ads are often the springboard that takes them from feeling inspired to actually making a plan into reality.

We believe that fundamental alignment between users and the businesses that are advertising on Pinterest is special, and that's why we're excited about the business we're building. So, how are we doing there? We're off to a solid start. As you see in the shareholder letter, we've seen healthy revenue growth, 54% to $202 million, and healthy user growth, 22% to 291 monthly active users. And when it comes to helping people find inspiration they can use for their lives; we're making progress on a number of strategic priorities. We've improved the experience for our users by making Pinterest more relevant breakthrough with machine learning. We've made Pinterest more inclusive to innovative new products, and we've made Pinterest marsh operable so people can take action on the ideas they see.

We've also made progress on improving our products for businesses and advertisers and diversifying our advertiser base. We've doubled the international markets where we serve ads, we've streamlined retailer's ability to upload their catalogs to Pinterest, and we've made video available for all advertising objectives. We're really excited about the momentum we have across the board, and we also know that there's a lot of work ahead. We believe that our mission to bring everyone inspiration to take action in their real lives is both needed and important. We think you can build a great business and achieve this mission at the same time and we're really excited that many of you are joining us on this journey. That's all for my remarks, and now Todd, our CFO and I will be happy to take any questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

To ask a question, please press *1 on your telephone keypad. In the interest of time, please limit yourself to one question and one follow-up. If you have additional questions, please reenter the queue after your turn. The first question comes from Doug Anmuth of J.P. Morgan; please go ahead your line is open.

Douglas Anmuth -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you for taking the question. I was hoping you guys could talk a little bit about the progress and pace of the international ad sales efforts. How should we think about the percentage of international MAUs that can be monetized through this year and next year? Thank you.

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Doug. As we talked about in the past, this is an important year of investment for us as we think about diversifying our advertiser base. And that comes in two flavors. One is opening up new international markets, we've increased the number of markets that we're in now from 7 to 13, and we're also trying to diversify our advertiser base by investing in self-service tools that will yield results both in the US and internationally. This is a year we were going to be making a lot of investments to build out that salesforce and we would expect results to start to accrue beginning next year and through the course of 2020. At this point, we are on track but is still very early. I wouldn't expect material financial results to accrue to the company's benefit until 2020 and through the course of the year, I would expect that to accelerate.

Douglas Anmuth -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Okay, thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Ross Sandler of Barclays; please go ahead your line is open.

Ross Sandler -- Barclays Capital -- Analyst

Hey guys, I guess since this is your first public call, I wanted to ask the question just about the retail category. So, you mentioned in the letter that advertisers can upload their product catalog using the API, but I guess how widely adopted is that and how does retail marketing budgets change when one of your partners does upload their product catalog and starts advertising based on products, not based on their overall brand? Any color there would be helpful. Thanks.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sure, so just taking a step back, the reason that we are prioritizing making it easier for businesses to upload their product catalogs is because the user to use Pinterest often tell us that they want to make it easier to go from inspiration all the way to a purchasing event. For instance, if you're redecorating your home and you see a beautiful living room, you might want to know where can I buy a couch at my price point from a retailer that I trust? So, to facilitate that, we're making it easier for retailers to bring a catalog online and in Q1, we launched a self-serve tool that enables retailers to upload their entire product catalog. Their motivation for doing that is that when that catalog is in our inventory, we can expose their products to more and more of our consumers.

Over the medium to long term, we want to make sure that if an advertiser wants to promote an individual product, they can do that through our shopping ads product, and we expect that to be an important driver of revenue. In the long term, we eventually want to make it so everything that you see that's inspirational can eventually be purchased with as little friction as possible. So, think of catalog miniature as the first step in that direction. But consider it a multiyear investment, and we don't expect shopping to meaningfully contribute to revenue this year, we expected to be a meaningful driver in both user engagement and revenue in 2020 and beyond.

Ross Sandler -- Barclays Capital -- Analyst

Thank you.

Jane Penner -- Head of Investor Relations

We're ready for the next question

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Eric Sheridan of UBS; please go ahead your line is open.

Eric Sheridan -- UBS -- Analyst

Thanks so much for taking the question. Guys, as you continue to deepen the conversation with your advertiser clients, what are the biggest asks you hear from advertisers that are informing your product roadmap, the way in which you're gonna take innovation on the platform over the next couple of years and what you think of the roadmap that you've laid out for people, what are you the most excited about that could change the arc of either engagement among users or advertising metrics that could lead to greater levels of budget? Thanks so much.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sure, so, when we talked advertisers the first thing that they really like about the platform is that alignment between their objectives, which is to find new customers and inspire them and what a lot of our users are there to do. So, that baseline level of alignment is something that they're really excited about. We hear three asks and they kind of informal a lot of what we're building out this year. The first is different advertisers measure the success of their campaigns in different ways, so we really investing to support both first and third-party measurement across a broad range of objectives. This year we support more and more third-party measurement solutions, things like Millward Brown, we also implement the Pinterest tag to measure in a first party way whether they're getting a great return on their ad spend.

The second is that our advertising products have only recently become available outside of the United States. And so just as a baseline, we went from seven markets last year to 13 this year, and that's just table stakes. A lot of the countries where we have a really meaningful audience, you haven't been able to advertise until quite recently. Third, we're still building out our solutions for small and medium-size businesses. So, our advertising product today, the majority of spend on it is already what you call performance driven, meaning it has measurable outcome; but we're still trying to make it extremely simple for an advertiser to put up a campaign on their phone, to have a really simple way to see how their campaign is doing. And we talk about self-serve, it's that entire experience.

I think those three things are informing a lot of our investments and growth in the next couple of years. Measurement, diversifying by going into new international markets, and finally building a really simple front interface so small and medium-size businesses can reach the people on Pinterest that are looking to plan things in their lives.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks so much.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets; please go ahead your line is open.

Mark Mahaney -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. Two questions, please. Could you talk from user engagement perspective the extent you're seeing category expansion? You've got kind of four well-established verticals, are you seeing traction with some of the newer ones like Finance or Travel? And then, secondly, on video ad format, as you make that more broadly available, have you already seen a reaction to that? Like you did that because you saw a very strong -- was it your guess or you saw very strong build up and demand for that? What do you think of the -- how quickly could that ramp? What you think the impact that is gonna be potentially on spend, potentially on overall advertiser interest in the platform? Thank you.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, thanks for both questions. I'll kick it off and then maybe Todd can chime in on the impact of video on the expense profile. So, your first question was really about user engagement and how we're doing and expanding those verticals, and since the beginning, we continue to see the number of verticals that people use Pinterest for, expand. People tend to use Pinterest for categories that are visual, that are fragmented; meaning there are a lot of different options, and taste based and that are related to planning. And so, we have a long tail, up at the head we have things like home decor and fashion. You can go way into the tail did things like tattoos, vintage watches.

A lot of what we're starting to turn our attention to is how to help people understand that Pinterest can be used not just for the thing they happened to be using it for today, but for multiple things. And so, we see a real opportunity in the future to improve user engagement by helping people understand that there is relevant content in multiple use cases and cross-selling those use cases over time; we think that's gonna be a big driver of engagement over time.

The second question you had was on video, and all start from the consumer side and then turn it over to Todd to address your question about how it might affect the financial profile. Look, we think video is just a fundamentally important medium for a lot of the categories that people love on Pinterest. So, when you think about getting inspiration for exercising or for cooking a meal or for doing a DIY project, videos just the best medium because you can see how it works. We've seen a really steady increase in the amount of organic video that people are consuming.

We also know that a lot of advertisers feel like their stories are best told through video, and so earlier this year, we allowed people to create videos against a full set of performance objectives. So, before you could have brand objectives like views, we also added performance objectives and we're seeing really nice uptake and growth in the video format. Todd, do you want to chime in on pricing?

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, sure. So, video, as you're aware, is a premium priced product for us as it is for many others in the industry, and we seem very strong adoption. It's been mentioned; it's a super compelling format not only for organic content but also for promoted content. In the first quarter, we had a brand video product and even on the back of a brand offering without the benefit of having a performance product, the contribution from video advertising grew 3x year-over-year in Q1 and now that we have performance video, we are seeing a strong uptake across both brand and performance advertising using that format.

It's obviously a little bit more expensive to deliver video content, both organic and promoted, but the pricing delta between the two more than makes up for that. And so, it's been a great addition to the product portfolio and something our advertisers have taken a strong liking to.

Mark Mahaney -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, thank you, Ben, thank you, Todd.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Heath Terry of Goldman Sachs; please go ahead your line is open.

Heath Terry -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Great, thanks. I was wondering if, particularly with the discussion around e-commerce earlier, if you could dig into a little bit for us what your primary technology priorities are, particularly with the recent hiring of Jeremy King to lead that effort for you, sort of what you hope his first hundred days, first year look like for the company?

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Well, thanks, Heath. For those who don't know, we recently hired a new VP of Engineering in Jeremy King. Jeremy most recently was at Walmart, prior to that, he worked at a number of small start-ups, and prior to that, he was at eBay when they were a similar size to what we are today. In terms of areas that Jeremy's gonna be digging into, we can divide into a few big buckets. First, a lot of our most cutting-edge technology really goes to the problem of relevance. We have billions and billions of pins; we have users that have a limited amount of time. How do we make sure we're showing the right pin to the right person at the right time?

In just this quarter, from work that was started last year, we improved our machine learning systems and really meaningfully improved relevance in all the ways that we measure it. So, relevance is obviously a really important area that we look at. There's also a lot of just engineering fundamentals that I would say come with scaling a basic platform to the size of Pinterest and so, we are taking a look in making sure that we're managing both the stability of our system as well as the cost profile as we continue to introduce new things like video.

And then finally, part of the reason that we brought in Jeremy is that we do want to scale the engineering organization over time and we want someone that can really on our team and help us recruit the next generation of talent, both in San Francisco where the majority of our folks are, we have a remote office in Seattle and we'll be open-minded about expanding past those regions in the future. So, those are just a few of those things. I don't want to speak too much for Jeremy, he is inside of his first hundred days, but we're really happy to have him on board, and we think he's going to make a great contribution to the company.

Heath Terry -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Great, thank you very much.

Operator

Your next question comes from Justin Post of Bank of America Merrill Lynch; please go ahead your line is open.

Justin Post -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Great, thank you. Maybe one question in two parts. First, just when you think about US users, what are some of the biggest initiatives to increase engagement with the site and what are you measuring that you think is most important? Is it time spent, frequency of interaction with content? How are you looking at that? And then the second part is just how do you feel about your ad loads currently and how much room do you think you have to grow those over the next few years? Thank you.

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Justin, it's Todd. A couple of things, on the US user side the things that we're investing in to deepen or to broaden the number of people that are using Pinterest kind of fall across three different categories. We're focused on net new users. So, for example, we want to make the experience more inclusive to bring people who haven't traditionally been on the platform find it more useful and bring utility into their lives. One example of how we're doing that is the skin tone filter initiative that we launched in Q1 which opens up new demographics to the value of being on Pinterest to find inspiration and bring new ideas into their life.

The second category is around deepening engagement. We find people that use Pinterest for a few things in their lives often can be cross-sold into new initiatives. So, if you're using Pinterest to find recipes to cook or fashion to wear, we're helping to show people relevant content to support planning a vacation, or a home remodel, for example. Providing utility in new areas is another way to deepen the engagement across the platform and broaden the number of users that are on the surface.

And finally, we're resurrecting people who may have churned. The churn on Pinterest is a little different than it may be on other competing services that if a product doesn't work for you if it's a gaming application or messaging service and it doesn't work for you and you churn, you may never revisit. But on Pinterest churn maybe a bit different. You may have had a great experience planning your wedding or remodeling your house, but you need to be invited back to be shown the value of being on Pinterest for new use cases, and we think we have a pathway of doing that that will bring some of our churned users back to the platform. So, those are kind of the three areas that we're focused on in terms of growing our users.

From a measurement perspective, we're not focused on and disclosing the things that social media companies typically disclose as you think about engagement. Rather we're looking at a basket of things that speak to the journey someone goes down between inspiration to refining and organizing their ideas and eventually transacting. For example, we look at pin impressions; we look at saving behavior, repinning, text and visual queries, we look at board naming behavior as people refine and organize their ideas and we look at transactions when people actually take action against those ideas.

We're seeing a healthy balance across those engagement metrics, and we think that's important for us as we seek to deliver more relevance and utility to our users over time. As we do that, we think we'll build a better business as well because the mindset that users come to Pinterest with is very much a commercial one and as has been mentioned earlier, the alignment between what an advertiser wants and what users on Pinterest to do is very clean relative to what you see in social and messaging apps.

On the second part of your question around advertising load, we're obviously a little bit more mature in the US from a monetization perspective in international markets, but we see comfortable room in all of our markets, in particular in international markets but also in the US to continue to drive advertising content higher. And it's worth pausing again to say that due to the nature of our service, where most of the content that is on Pinterest came from commercial sites and the mindset of our users is commercial in nature. The only limiting factor on advertising load is relevance. So, our ability to put relevant content in front of our users, whether it's promoted organic, will drive our ability to put denser advertising on the site, drive conversions at higher prices over time and build a business against that.

Justin Post -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Great, thank you. Thanks, Todd.

Operator

Your next question comes from Colin Sebastian of Robert Baird; please go ahead your line is open.

Colin Sebastian -- Robert Baird and Co. -- Analyst

Great, thanks. In the first paragraph of the business highlights, you mentioned improvements to machine learning models. I was hoping you could perhaps talk more about what's involved there and what you saw was the result. And then as a follow-up, regarding the progress in self-serve and measurement tools, just hoping for more color on the timeframe for when you anticipate these to become more broadly available. Thanks.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sure, I can start with the machine learning question. We really improved our ability to select which content features matter most for users. So, just to take a real example, if the user is looking at shoes, our ranking algorithm may weight the color of a shoe more for one user whereas for someone else we'll give more weight to the material or the brand or the size. So, it was really learning applied to future selection, and the results across the board were really great. Todd mentioned that we look at a basket of metrics, things like saving behavior, the number of products and tap throughs that you get, the frequency with which people visit, revenue as it's applied to ads. And across the board, we saw really good gains.

I think that that launch is emblematic of the fact that machine learning really is a core investment area for us because the North Star for Pinterest and what drives a lot of how useful the services is, is how relevant we can show pins to people at the right times. So, it's gonna be an ongoing area of investment. Your second question, you gotta remind me, sorry. One was about self-serve?

Colin Sebastian -- Robert Baird and Co. -- Analyst

Self-serve and measurement tools.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So, I mentioned earlier self-serve, we're just beginning that journey. The good news is that the fundamentals or the bones of self-serve, meaning an advertising system that's measured on performance objectives, all of that's been laid. Really what's important now is to drop an experience on top of it that makes it really easy for small and medium-size businesses to sign up from their phone, get a campaign started really easily as well as marketing and actually finding these small and medium-sized businesses over time.

So, we expect that'll take a long time, but we think it's fundamental over the long term for two reasons, one it diversifies the number of advertisers that are spending on Pinterest, and second, a lot of these small and medium-size businesses have some of the most inspirational content. And so, the more advertisers we have, the more advertisements we have, the better our machine learning systems can actually pick up and drive those returns. As Todd and I mentioned, we don't think that self-serve is going to be a meaningful contributor to our revenue this year, but we think that over time it can be a really important contribution.

Colin Sebastian -- Robert Baird and Co. -- Analyst

Okay, thanks, Ben.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Stephen Ju of Credit Suisse; please go ahead your line is open.

Stephen Ju -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Okay, thank you. So, one of the products it really caught her attention was a visual search with the users being able to highlight things in images that they're interested in and that I guess implicitly being a product search query. So, where are you in terms of driving consumer behavior to do just that? And on the advertiser side, the awareness and acceptance of this product as being something very similar to the ads that they're already buying on perhaps the search engine? Thanks.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Stephen, thanks for the question. And visual search is definitely one of the areas of both keen interest and investment for the company because obviously everything on Pinterest is visual. So, we are actually seeing great uptake of visual search, and we see it in a number of different ways. So, one, for instance, is that we allow you to zoom in on a portion of an image and actually search within that image for items that are similar. And two is we can look at the visual attributes of a pin and use that as an input into whether to show it to you or not. We also have 1/3 experimental feature that we call Lens that allows users to sort of use their camera to search, that's more of a proof of concept. The visual search is the technology that powers all of those experiences.

On the advertiser side, we see potential to use visual search to improve targeting because you can take a cold add and find things that are visually similar even before you have a user engagement signal, but we don't have any visual specific targeting features that we're ready to announce right now.

Stephen Ju -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Okay, thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Mark May have Citi, please go ahead your line is open.

Mark May -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thank you. First, I think as you mentioned earlier, your monetizing in seven international markets for all or part of last year and then you launch six additional ones this quarter. I'm just curious of the international ad revenue in Q1 and the year on year growth, which was substantial, how many countries are contributing meaningfully to that? I'm just trying to understand better how many countries today are contributing to your international ad revenue into the growth? And then my follow-up would be you clearly have pretty aggressive pipeline for introducing new enhancements to the ad platform from conversion optimization, video formats, self-serve, etc. etc., if you had to choose one, which of these do you think has the potential to have the greatest impact over the near to medium term?

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, thanks for the question. In terms of which countries are driving our international growth, I would think about it this way. We built the business from an audience perspective starting in the US, and then we moved to English-speaking countries outside of the US, Western Europe and sort of go down the list of monetizing of full audiences globally. We prioritize those almost categorically. And so, to that end, our most mature markets from a user perspective are in the US, English-speaking countries in Western Europe. We've been monetizing in that order as well. So are most mature market, obviously, is the US where it drives 95% plus historically.

We then started to monetize in the UK, Canada, and other English-speaking countries, which is where the bulk of our international revenue historically has come from. And now we're monetizing across Western Europe, which is where a lot of the newly added countries are located but are still very nascent. A lot of our hiring is happening in very new countries that while we've launched the advertising product, we're still developing relationships, staffing the teams, and that's why you hear from us that we're not expecting a big contribution from international markets from a mixed perspective until next year and beyond.

From a product perspective, I think you asked -- there's a couple of different ways of answering your question, actually. You asked about which product format or conversion optimization is an example of a new performance product, and then you mentioned things like the self-serve product experience as well. And I think about those not as being discrete and different things, but actually part of the same story. We're investing in advertiser diversification because we believe that the ability to put relevant ads in front of our users depends on our ability to get a lot of ads into the auction and the way we'll do that is by broadening our advertiser base. We'll do that by having a robust self-serve tool, Ben talked about what we're doing on that front through the course of this year, but that will continue to accelerate the number of appetizers that are on the service, and that's incredibly important to us.

We're confident that that will work because we already have demonstrated that we built a performance business. Two thirds plus of our revenue today comes from performance products, and that is something that many others who have built the self-serve business have not had the benefit of. So, when we think about things like conversion optimization, we're just optimizing a portfolio of products that have already demonstrated that they have traction in the market for performance objectives.

Mark May -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Is it possible to share with us how many advertisers you had the quarter, and we obviously know Facebook has millions, just to get a sense for how much of an opportunity that is?

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

We're not disclosing how many advertisers we have, but I would tell you we've seen an acceleration in the number of advertisers. Our growth in the advertiser base, the number of advertisers, our growth rate has accelerated through Q1, and I would expect that as we roll out self-serve in the future, that will continue to be an important thing for us to develop upon. We obviously grew the business in the CPG and retail space historically, and we have diversified our advertisers into new verticals like travel, auto, financial services. We've then gone into the midmarket in digitally and native brands, we're further then diversifying into international markets and through self-serve will reach a totally different class of advertiser.

Mark May -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Mark Kelley of Nomura; please go ahead your line is open.

Mark Kelley -- Nomura -- Analyst

Great, thank you very much. I kinda want to follow up on the international side. I know you talked about being able to have a better conversation with your advertiser partners as you launch into new geographies and it's a bit circular where you'll get more budget even in the US. I'm curious if you have any thoughts on to date when you launch into a new geography, how quickly does that conversation change? You need to be launch in a region for a bit of time before people start to think about spending with you or is it just physically being there the most important part? And then I've got a follow-up after that, thanks.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Hi Mark, I can start and then Todd can add more color. So, your question was kind of like how long does it take for a market to spin up, how important is physical presence. First of all, the presence in some of these markets really does matter and at kind of a clear proof point of that for us, was we've had ads in Canada for a while, but when we actually put a team on the ground, we sell real acceleration just because there were people to explain the platform, explained that there's this kind of really different behavior on Pinterest, this planning and inspiration behavior that's quite different from what they're seeing in social networks, just to get them acclimated to the platform.

When we go into new markets, often our first advertisers, there often appetizers that have worked with us before in one market and want to reach customers in a new market. They are people that are familiar with the story. And then what we'll often do is we'll help them find success in those markets, we'll document that in the form of the case study, and we'll use that to get the word into market. We're pretty darn early in some of these markets. We opened up six of them just in the last quarter so, I can't tell you the exact average timeframe for that playbook but is something that we're always looking to refine. What I can say, is that we are getting faster and faster about going into markets. Now the next level of innovation will really be applied to how do we streamline that go to market process and make sure that advertisers find success as quickly as possible and then their success can give new advertisers the confidence to get the platform a try for the first time as well.

Mark Kelley -- Nomura -- Analyst

That's helpful, thanks. And I'm curious, is there any way for us to think about ad spend from existing customers you had a year ago versus new ones? Thank you.

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, so we looked at this over the last year. So, for 2018, about half of our growth came from existing advertisers, and the other half of our growth came from new advertisers is one way to think about it. So, we kind of look at it over a longer period than just the quarter, but that's one way of thinking about it. So, from my perspective, that means that ads are working for incumbent advertisers and new advertisers are finding value as well, and we see the balance across both.

Mark Kelley -- Nomura -- Analyst

That's great, thanks a lot.

Operator

Your next question comes from Elliott Alper of DA Davidson; please go ahead your line is open. Elliott Alper? Your line is open. Your next question comes from Lloyd Walmsley of Deutsche Bank; please go ahead your line is open.

Lloyd Walmsley -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thanks. I was just wondering a couple if I can on the ad tech, kinda where are you today in building out the key tools you need and are there any big new ones we should just keep in mind on the horizon, and I guess more broadly do you feel like you have the ad units generally figured out such that you can scale vertically internationally or are there kind of other types of monetization you're working on the could unlock better monetization down the road? And then a second one would just be as we think about the potential for use case or category expansion, are there any success stories you'd point to or something you did on the product side drove in unlock on a new category? And then as we look at user cohorts, do you see newer users using the product differently either across categories or functionality wise? Anything you could share there would be great.

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I'll try to take the questions in turn. Your first question is kind of are there any big holes in the ad tech staff or in the units. And there are a couple areas that we need to beef up the offering. What I mentioned before is that measurement is a pretty fragmented space, and so we want to support a broader diversity of the first and third party measurement solutions. We do have features depending on the advertiser that I know are really keen to use. Things like reservation buying if your brand advertiser. I think the important thing to think about with advertising is that on one hand, you can look at sort of the breadth of the offering, how many individual features there are, but there's also depth.

And so, the reason that large advertising players will often have a fairly large engineering team is because there's a really broad diversity. And so, we have meaningful improvements that we can make to deepen that offering as we go to serve more and more advertisers. The way that we are approaching that is we try to look at the bundles of offerings that will open up the largest new buckets of advertisers that we can serve responsibly and we apply that to measurement, but that's also what we apply to things like our decision to build a simple front end for small and medium-sized businesses and our decision to make the ad's manager translated into multiple languages and support currencies so we can support things. It's kind of an opportunity sizing exercise whenever we are looking at it.

Your second question that I wrote down was really about use case expansion and what evidence do we have that use cases are indeed expanding. Actually, inside the product, we have tons of evidence that people use Pinterest for a really, really broad array of things and if you ever have a chance, if you are just going to Pinterest in search for things, you'll find incredible diversity. If you're into vintage watches or model ships or tattoos, you'll find people that are using Pinterest for those. I think the next opportunity for us is if you use Pinterest for one thing, how do we get you to use it for multiple things. And that something new for us that we haven't really started upon, but it's something that we're keenly interested in.

One interesting challenge that we have is whenever we're showing your recommendation, you can think of us as having a choice. We show you something that we know that you want to see, or do we take a bet and try to show you something new? Today, we've really shown you more of what we think you're really going to love. So, love vegan cooking, we'll show you more of vegan cooking. To diversify use cases, we have to develop the technology and the product design to help expand past those horizons so you don't feel sort of pigeonholed into just a very narrow vertical because you might not even be aware that people are using Pinterest for those things.

Your final question was really about cohort behavior, whether we see people using Pinterest and fundamentally different ways as we see newer and newer cohorts sign up. The answer is no. The common things that we see are that people really use Pinterest for things that are often lifestyle based. So, for key projects or moments, we see a lot of people use Pinterest for important seasonal times, things like Thanksgiving or New Year's and those obviously vary depending on what country you're in. But that basic user behavior of people going to Pinterest, getting inspiration to do something in their life, having fun planning their future and then going out and trying to do that? That's remained really consistent over time, and it continues to remain consistent even as we bring on users from different geographies.

Lloyd Walmsley -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

All right, thank you.

Operator

This completes the allotted time for questions. Thank you for your participation in today's call. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 39 minutes

Call participants:

Jane Penner -- Head of Investor Relations

Ben Silbermann -- Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Todd Morgenfeld -- Chief Financial Officer

Douglas Anmuth -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Ross Sandler -- Barclays Capital -- Analyst

Eric Sheridan -- UBS -- Analyst

Mark Mahaney -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Heath Terry -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Justin Post -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Colin Sebastian -- Robert Baird and Co. -- Analyst

Stephen Ju -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Mark May -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Mark Kelley -- Nomura -- Analyst

Lloyd Walmsley -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

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