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Today’s Note: Pinterest Drives Referral Traffic

March 21, 2012

The Notes that have covered Pinterest, the relatively new social networking site, have attracted a lot of page views. As a result of that interest, I am going to try to make that a more frequent topic of Today’s Note. To that end, the Note today will discuss a blog article titled “Emerging social network Pinterest driving big traffic to retailers” that appeared about six weeks ago on This post tells us “emerging social network Pinterest, an addictive site that lets people spotlight products and items they like, is helping drive increasing amounts of traffic to retailers, according to a new infographic by Monetate.” [all italics are added by to denote quotes from the original blog post]

The post, by Sean Ludwig, does indeed contain an interest infographic. The infographic contains about a dozen different graphs/fact groups which collectively paint an extraordinary picture of the power this young but fast-growing network wields. For example, it tells us that the measure of unique monthly visitors to the site grew 429% between September, 2011 and December, 2011, during which month almost eleven million unique visitors navigated to Pinterest. The infographic also takes a look at referral traffic. Referral traffic is a bit challenging to measure, but the graphic rates Pinterest fifth among social networking websites in referral traffic generated, behind Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Yahoo. That is pretty impressive. In fact, Pinterest came in far ahead of Google+.

Ludwig tells us that “Pinterest, which attracted nearly 11 million unique visitors in mid-December, is now one of the top 10 social networking sites. It’s one of the rare cases of a social network generating strong word-of-mouth interest without much help from the tech community. The site is especially popular with females and arts and crafts enthusiasts between the ages of 25 and 44.

The article and infographic dial in on the the topic of referral traffic to retail websites, an important indication of the website’s ability to drive sales. Interestingly, the infographic categorizes retail referral sources into these categories, which are listed in order of most to least referrals:

  1. Search Engines
  2. Other Retailers
  3. Social Networking and Forums
  4. EMail
  5. Rewards and Directories.

It is easy to see why Pinterest has fueled explosive interest among business, who must be seeing Pinterest as some kind of giant open-source product catalog. It is equally easier to see why venture capitalists have lined up to fund Pinterest. Ludwig notes that “Palo Alto-based Pinterest has thus far raised more than $37 million in funding from a strong list of investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Ron Conway, Max Levchin, and Michael Birch.

The blog post is well worth a read, and the infographic is worth a detailed perusal by itself. Ludwig’s bio at Venture Beat tells us “Sean Ludwig is a staff writer for VentureBeat and a technology consultant. Sean covers mobile tech, social media, streaming media, and cloud services. He runs Ludwig Social Solutions and has written for PCMag, Fast Company, Computer Shopper, LAPTOP Magazine, and Seattle Weekly. Follow him on Twitter at @seanludwig or on Google+ at Please send all pitches to

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