Study: Pinterest is a powerhouse

Cheryl McGrath / October 21, 2013 04:23 PM

Pinterest has emerged as one of the top social media networks for driving traffic to publishers, second only to Facebook, according to Shareaholic. In fact, it was responsible for 3.68% of overall traffic in September – three times more than Twitter.


                      Photo: Pinterest/Who's Who of Australian Women

Not bad for a social network with the reputation for wedding boards and DIY crafts.

This study may have overstated the case – Shareaholic’s sample size for its data is not huge, having only 200,000 publishers, in comparison to some other social data platforms which clock in with as many as 14 million domains.

The fact remains, though, that Pinterest is growing rapidly and driving more and more traffic to websites, suggesting it could be a powerhouse for brands and media in the future. Facebook and Twitter round out the top three, while Reddit, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and YouTube all lag behind. Unsurprisingly, Google+ only accounted for 0.04% of referrals.

So what does Pinterest do differently? It’s not the size of its user base – Twitter has more than 232 million users compared to Pinterest’s 70 million users. But while Twitter is news-based, Pinterest is product-oriented and functions as a catalogue that users personalize themselves. Fashion, travel, DIY crafts, children’s toys, crafts, jewellery and more are able to be pinned with the click of a button, with a simple click-through to buy.

The types of links may also be in play. Users tend to prefer sharing pictures than text, and while Twitter uses links, users may not necessarily be clicking on them. With Pinterest, clicking links is almost essential, and less invasive than tailored digital advertising. After all, the social media site is based on people’s passions, and “interests are global”.

New features on the site definitely suggest the channel is hitting its stride. Businesses can now create “rich pins”, which embed information directly to pins, including author names, website URLs and descriptions. “Promoted pins”, similar to Sponsored Posts on Facebook, are also making an appearance.

Could this kind of brand promotion become common in stores? Could be soon.


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