In Michael Akkerman’s hometown of Sydney, Australia, October 31 is just another day — no candy, no costumes, no fake blood. But when he moved to New York, he fell in love with the uniquely American holiday called Halloween.

When searching for a new costume, however, he became frustrated. Google overwhelmed him 7 million answers. Facebook and other social channels showed him what his friends were interested in but didn’t help him gather his own thoughts. Then he found Pinterest. After just 30 minutes of discovering costume after costume, he decided to dress up like a famous Banksy street art character.

“I ended up at Pinterest, where you have the availability to find something that interests you then continue to go down the rabbit hole to find related inspiration,” said Akkerman, who now serves as Head of the Marketing Developer Partner Programs for Pinterest.

Speaking at the Curalate Summit 2016 on October 18, Akkerman highlighted Pinterest’s evolution over the past few years — saying that it’s not a social platform but instead a personal one that serves as a “catalog of ideas.”

“When my wife joined Pinterest, she started following me straight away but she got very tired of seeing classic cars and wood-working projects, so she stopped following me — which I’m cool with because Pinterest is about what interests me and what I care about,” said Akkerman. “It’s a personal platform that’s about personal taste. No other platform helps people answer the question: ‘What is my personal taste?’ ”

In contrast, Akkerman said social networks are focused on getting you to spend more time on the platform. “With us, we want you to go out into the real world and experience what you’ve discovered on Pinterest. Make that recipe. Do that home-improvement project. Buy those clothes,” he said.

Akkerman's Banksy Halloween costume.

Akkerman’s Pinterest inspired Halloween costume.

Out of the 80 billion pins on the Pinterest platform, 75% come from brands. On other platforms, branded messages might drive customers away, but on Pinterest “they’re not only welcomed, they’re essential” because people are there to interact with brands.

He also shared plenty of other stats about the platform:


Stats from Michael Akkerman’s presentation at Curalate Summit 2016.


Stats from Michael Akkerman’s presentation at Curalate Summit 2016.

Pinterest is the most popular platform for finding and shopping products. The Mary Meeker Internet Trends report found that 55% of Pinterest users use the platform to shop, compared to just 12% on Facebook, 12% on Instagram and 9% on Twitter. The reason? Pinterest allows brands and customers have a conversation early in the consumer buying journey.

Akkerman also there are 2 billion idea searches on the platform every month and that a whopping 93% of Pinterest users are there to plan purchases.

“Our focus is shopping. Shopping is about personal taste. It’s not just about finding something you want and buying it quicker — it really is an experience. People are browsing, they’re exploring, and they’re figuring out ‘does this suit me or does it not?’ said Akkerman. “At Pinterest we’re focused on helping people browse and discover within this shopping experience until they find specifically what they want — and then they have the availability to go ahead and purchase it.”

Didn’t attend the Curalate Summit on October 18? Don’t worry, there are plenty of recaps on the Curalate blog — like this post highlighting three essential lessons for influencer marketing or this one about best-selling author Jonah Berger’s research on the connection between marketing and psychology.