Simon Small | July 12, 2012
Pinterest has been getting a whole lotta love from the media industry of late – well deserved mind you; it grew from under 1 milion to over 100 million unique monthly visitors in under 12 months. The question is will it maintain this growth and should brands be investing in it?
Looking at Pinterest’s traffic (using Google AdPlanner) you can see that there have been four distinct phases where the traffic growth rate changed dramatically.
In January growth skyrocketed, but at some point in February daily traffic started to decline.
By analyzing what happened at the start of each of these changes in growth rate we can try to build a picture of what caused the change and if it might be a long-term trend.
One good source to check is the Pinterest blog. Here it highlights all the major changes to its platform.
On the 28th of January (about the time of the highest growth rate) Pinterest released Facebook Timeline integration.
Pinners all over the world connected their Pinterest boards with the world’s most prolific social network. And what did that mean? Every single pin, comment, and repin you shared on Pinterest notified all your friends on Facebook and covered your timeline with wall posts – all linking back to Pinterest.
I was skeptical when this happened, as this kind of social media spamming has proven to be a flop many times before – but maybe Pinterest was different? Maybe it was different this time?
Now part of the reason I’m writing this post is it’s close to home. My partner loves Pinterest; she spends hours on it every day – like millions of other girls – pinning food, clothes, wedding stuff, and home décor – girly stuff, ya know.
But then in early February she deactivated her Facebook sharing. She said it was annoying and spamming all her friends…maybe that’s something millions of other pinners have been doing too?
On top of this, Facebook has made it very clear since the announcement of the new Facebook Timeline that while it houses much more content, only content that is the most engaging will make it into the Newsfeed – where most Facebook sharing occurs.
On the 20th of February Pinterest made another interesting, but possibly only coincidental, announcement to counter the anti-copyright claims being made against it, by enabling site owners to exclude their site from Pinterest with some simple code.
So, “will Pinterest maintain its original growth and should brands be investing in it?”
Well, things don’t look great; not only has traffic growth slowed, it’s reversed. This may be due to the reliance it had on Facebook auto-sharing, which has proven to be an unsustainable social mechanic many times before. On top of that it’s enabling site owners to exclude themselves from Pinterest altogether.
I’d watch this space and wait for Pinterest to announce changes to its platform that might reignite its growth before jumping head first into the platform.
Having said that if you’re a brand in fashion, food, home décor, or weddings, you should definitely consider it; while traffic isn’t growing, it is getting substantial daily traffic – just don’t over-invest, as its bubble could burst or slowly deflate.
References – a few stats that were used in this post for the data nerds
Google AdPlanner - Pinterest global stats
Google AdPlanner – Pinterest traffic Brazil
Alexa traffic data Pinterest
Google search volume (index)
Number of searches (as an index) since early 2011.