Pinterest Effects On Social Media Optimization

According to a recent report by Experian, Pinterest has become the third most popular social network in the United States, behind only Facebook and Twitter. The widely circulated Hitwise report, released early this month, reveals huge increases in visitors to Pinterest’s website – most impressively, a 50% gain from January to February that put it over both LinkedIn and Google+.

The rankings, by total visits for March, are as follows:

  1. Facebook: 7 billion
  2. Twitter: 182 million
  3. Pinterest: 104 million
  4. LinkedIn: 86 million
  5. Tagged: 72 million
  6. Google+: 61 million

Perhaps most startling about this data is how clearly it illustrates the stranglehold that Facebook has within the social media realm, to say nothing of Pinterest claiming over 20 million more visits than LinkedIn. Not bad for a digital bulletin board site that’s only 2 years old and was, until recently, frequented primarily by hobbyists and crafters.

It should be noted that in the report, Experian was only measuring visitors, while several other market research services got slightly different results by including pageviews into their data. For example, Alexa.com ranks Pinterest only fourth among social networks, still behind LinkedIn. Complete.com, ranking.com, quantcast.com, and urltrends.com list Pinterest fourth among social sites as well.

And Pinterest isn’t the only network growing. From December 2010 to December 2011 Twitter grew by 45% and LinkedIn by 98%. And everyone’s favorite whipping boy at the moment, Google+, actually grew a very impressive 800% from August 2011 to December 2011.

Regardless of slight differences in the ranking data, it clearly shows that Pinterest should not be ignored by businesses looking for further connection with their customers. There are already several great examples of companies who have embraced its simple, highly-visual pin/repin dynamic, such as Southwest Airlines, Etsy (no surprise there), and Whole Foods.

It offers another outlet for businesses to let their hair down a bit and have fun with their audience, but also provides inroads to unique demographics vis-à-vis other social networks: women accounted for 60% of the visitors and a higher percentage of users in the Midwest, Northwest, and Southeast.