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Pinterest Rivals Twitter in Referral Traffic #pinteresting

To those of you who lead “the Pinteresting life,” you’ve contributed to a phenomenon that is certainly putting its clicks where the hype is. By that I mean, Pinterest is a two-year old cultural sensation that is borderline causing dependency among its users and the rabid audiences they’re developed. This rapid fire network has pinned itself to a rocket with estimated unique viewership ascending 429% from September to December 2011…and I’m not even sure if the sky’s the limit here.

For those who are unfamiliar with the fledgling community, Pinterest is a effective marriage of social bookmarking and visual curation with an extremely fervent user base. Essentially, people create a series of pinboards for areas of interest where they pin relevant snapshots with commentary to serve as both a reminder for later reference and also as a tour guide for visitors to learn more about each object.

Many consumer brands are also experimenting with Pinterest, using pinboards to present complementary products, ideas, and imagery to inspire consumers to visualize and remix new possibilities. From fashion to interior design and home to retail to entertainment, brands are using Pinterest to thoughtfully assemble a curated lifestyle. And, they’re packaged for the social and mobile web and optimized for driving actions as part Facebook’s new frictionless sharing ecosystem.

Some initial brands to watch include:

- Whole Foods
- Martha Stewart
- Better Homes and Garden
- Real Simple
- west elm
- Bergdorf Goodman
- Today Show
- Travel Channel
- Nordstrom
- Gap
- Birchbox

In addition to soaring traffic, Pinterest is also rising as a bona fide referrer of notable Web traffic. According to a new report published by Shareabholic, Pinterest drove greater traffic than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube…combined. Additionally, Pinterest was just .01% shy of tying Twitter for the 4th spot and .02% behind Google, which currently sits in 3rd place.

It should be noted, that Facebook is clearly the dominant player here, accounting for 26.4% of all referring traffic with StumbleUpon sitting far behind, but firmly in second position.

No report can be fully appreciated at face value. The data as packaged is extremely flattering. Shareaholic based its findings on the aggregated data from over 200,000 publishers that reach 260 million + unique monthly visitors. Publishers using Shareaholic are not reflective of worldwide internet web trends or everyday activity, but they do provide a relevant snapshot of the digital lifestyle within the social web.

What’s most remarkable is that Pinterest is still an invitation-only network. This of course lends to its desirability and mystique. Certainly, as anticipation builds coupled with creative and compelling use cases that continue to emerge, Pinterest shows only signs of remaining pinteresting and relevant to visualized + curated storytelling and driving meaningful clicks for some time to come.

So what are your thoughts? What do you love about Pinterest? Are you a brand finding success or looking for guidance? Share your stories, experiences and questions below…

Join The Conversation

  • Jul 6 Posted 5 years ago Tamara Patzer

    You are on target! Businesses need to use Pinterest. I have a jewelry store client who is using Pinterest and it is driving daily traffic to his site. I also wrote a book about how local businesses can use Pinterest for Local Business. Available on Kindle. It's called Ask Tami: Pinterest for Local Business...easy read for 99 cents. :) Thanks for providing for fruit for my Pinterest tree! 

  • Allenbrayan's picture
    Jul 5 Posted 5 years ago Allenbrayan

    This doesn't surprise me at all. I've found the Pinterest community to be HIGHLY engaging whereas Twitter has become senseless noise (I do still love it though). Tons of bloggers/entrepreneurs I've spoken with are saying the same thing...Pinterest is beating Twitter/FB in terms of site traffic. It's pretty incredible how they're growing.

    Magento Developer

  • Feb 11 Posted 5 years ago samtra

    Sorry, I was being flippant with the hacking core comment, but it would still be better to have a place people can just change, and it shouldn't be required to have a development copy of Drupal to Also, in Drupal 7, the relevant file is includes/bootstrap.inc for changing error_reporting to all. However, this in settings.php ought to do it no matter what?


    Marketing Manager


  • Syed Noman Ali's picture
    Feb 3 Posted 5 years ago Clark

    A huge shift is going on in social bringing to life an innate desire to be a creator. Instagram, Pinterest, Path etc. make that easy and get reinforced when others re-share, like etc. is very rewarding for folks.


    Thanks and Regards

    FB Apps Developer Clark Daividson

  • emoderation's picture
    Feb 3 Posted 5 years ago emoderation

    Thanks very much for those stats Brian.  In response to demand from our clients, eModeration has just just published a five-part series on Pinterest for brands here on Social Media Today and I'll link to your article from the last one (100+ Brands on Pinterest). 

    It's very important to understand the platform in order to use it well and get the best out of it; add value to other Pinterest users.  It's a very special form of curation, and there's a lot brands have to learn: what they can get out of participation, how to optimise their content, little hints and tips like how to search for mentions of your product: Pinterest ISN'T Google+ or a Facebook page and it's going to be be very exciting watching it evolve.

  • Feb 2 Posted 5 years ago ChasBeebe


    Thanks for your post. I've been seeing these referral stats all over the blogosphere, and have to agree with you, 'the data as packaged is extremely flattering'. I admit, I have only been on Pinterest for 2 weeks, but I have already noticed a preponderence of pins that refer back to Tumblr or other content aggregators, and either do not contain a URL to the original content creator, or have been reblogged so may times that the origin is not clear. As such, high referral stats may not translate into ANY value for the original content creator. I have seen the argument many times over that users are pinning for their own personal inspiration, so they aren't necessarily motivated to give credit to the SOURCE of the inspiration. 

    In another post here on SocialMediaToday, Tia Fisher makes an excellent suggestion: If you are a content creator, or a brand seeking a way to capitalize on Pinterest's popularity, a watermark on your photo may be the best way to ensure that pinners can find you. In my own experience, I have tried to hunt down the source of unmarked pins and tag them appropriately, including the creator's URL. However, quite often, the repinner of my repin will strip this info out, replacing it with a tag akin to "cool table", or something equally unhelpful to original source. Because this has happened quite often, I'm beginning to question whether finding the source is a good use of my time. That said, watermarking may be the only way to alleviate this problem! 


  • katrinapadron's picture
    Feb 2 Posted 5 years ago katrinapadron

    Brian - 


    I am a social media strategiest and literally just got off the phone with a client who owns a shop in Houston.  She is head over heels excited to start using Pinterest for her business. Thanks for sharing those stats, I really think a lot of clients are going to want to add this to their mix. 



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