Pinterest (PINS -0.33%), like other social media companies, experienced a rough 2022. Its share price sank as its number of frequent users declined, and that downbeat story culminated with the resignation of co-founder Ben Silbermann as CEO.

Still, despite its recent struggles, it holds three key advantages over its competitors that it could potentially leverage to orchestrate a comeback.

1. The Pinterest focus

Sites like Meta Platforms' Facebook, Twitter, and Snap's Snapchat typically feature written, photographic, or short-video content created by individuals.

Pinterest turns this approach on its head, prompting users to collect images and "pin" them to their pages. This allows "pinners" -- i.e., its users -- to collect and share all sorts of information, from recipes to style inspirations to content from their favorite fandoms.

More importantly (at least to stockholders), this tells marketers precisely what each user likes, allowing them to tailor advertising content ("promoted pins") to a user's preferences. Pinterest's social media peers, by contrast, must depend on demographic and psychographic variables to guide their advertising strategies. That approach effectively attempts to stereotype customers based on age, income, education, and other factors.

2. Pinterest's pinner base

The demographic and psychographic profiles of pinners will probably appeal to marketers and investors.

About 85% of pinners turn to Pinterest first when they are starting a new project. That places its users on the site at times when they are open to new ideas. This makes it an effective place for marketers to get their attention; 80% of pinners report discovering a new brand on the site.

Moreover, over 60% of its pinners worldwide are women. This is crucial. Multiple surveys have found that women control most household purchasing decisions.

Furthermore, people in 45% of U.S. households earning more than $100,000 per year use Pinterest. Add it up, and you can see that Pinterest can link marketers and advertisers with decision-makers who likely have significant amounts of disposable income to spend.

3. The ARPU opportunity

Those high-income households could drive increases in Pinterest's average revenue per user (ARPU). In the third quarter, about 21% of pinners came from the U.S. and Canada. But thanks to its popularity with high-income earners, its ARPU for the quarter came in at $6.13 in those countries -- well above Pinterest's global average ARPU of $1.56 for the period.

The ARPU differentials also highlight how Pinterest stock could turn into a once-in-a-decade opportunity. Meta's global ARPU was $9.41 in its most recently reported quarter. Snap, which has struggled in recent months, claimed a global ARPU of $3.11 over the same period. These differences highlight how Pinterest has lagged on the revenue generation front.

In order to tap that potential, Silbermann hired Bill Ready to replace himself as CEO in June. Ready was previously the president of Commerce, Payments, and Next Billion Users at Alphabet's Google. Silbermann likely tapped Ready to leverage his experience with using payments and e-commerce software to drive higher ARPU.

Making sense of Pinterest

It is too early to tell whether Ready will succeed. And the social media stock is down by more than 75% from its all-time high.

However, its monthly active user number grew 3% quarter over quarter in Q3 to 445 million, reversing its declines over the past year.

Pinterest has its finger on the pulse of customers' interests, and a fair percentage of its users have high amounts of disposable income. If it can close its ARPU gap with Snap and Meta, the stock could experience a dramatic recovery.