New media start-ups come and go on a regular basis. But one that is causing bigger noise than most at the moment is Pinterest, an online bulletin board where people can put their favourite images.
Launched in 2010, Pinterest came to life in Q4 2011, with unique users rising to 7 million a month from 1.6 million during that period. Latest figures at time of going to press put it at nearer 11 million.
Most interesting from our point-of-view is the way it is being used by the business community. According to a report from content-sharing firm Shareaholic it is now driving more traffic to company websites than YouTube and Google+.
The service has a beautiful simplicity about it. In a nutshell, it allows users to organise images into pinboards based around specific subjects. When they pin something new, their followers can like, comment or re-pin it to their boards. If it generates enough interest, it can go viral. Like Facebook content, these Pinterest pins can go viral – as the Shareaholic numbers prove.
How to make Pinterest work for your business
Simplicity: The best Pinterest boards are simple and uncluttered. Let the content do the work in attracting audience attention.
Relevance: At present, Pinterest works best for small distinctive businesses in fashion, interiors, food – ie 18-34 female-skewed.
Quality: Linked to the above, focus on delivering quality.
Connectivity: Use Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to drive Pinterest. But also make sure you link back to your website.
Refresh: New additions daily keep the audience coming back.
Soft sell: Don’t over promote, you’ll drive visitors away.
Follow: Like Twitter, follow top sites and hope they follow back.
In terms of more general take-outs regarding website referrals, Shareaholic cites the following stats for the main players:
Pinterest grew from 2.5% of referral traffic in December to 3.6% of the referrals in January. According to Shareaholic, “that’s impressive growth from just 0.17% of the traffic back in July”.
Referral traffic from Google+ dropped slightly in January, although Google’s product set (Google news, Google images, Gmail) continues to be a top referral source. Google is integrating Google+ into its offering more, so it will be interesting to watch.
Against the backdrop of its IPO, Facebook dominates referral traffic (26.4%), with mobile alone accounting for 4.3% of overall referrals. Referral traffic grew by about 1% in January, making it the second fastest-growing site for referral traffic after Pinterest.
StumbleUpon is a top referral source. It isn’t as top-of-mind as Pinterest and Google+, but it owned 5.07% of referrals in January. Similar bookmarking site Reddit was also a top referral source.
Note: Shareaholic’s Referral Traffic Report is based on aggregated data from more than 200,000 publishers that reach more than 260 million unique monthly visitors each month. Others in its top ten referrers for January include LinkedIn and MySpace.