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What's Driving Pinterest's Amazing Growth

February 21, 2012

Pinterest is arguably the hottest social media site on the Internet—user traffic to the online social catalog has skyrocketed since mid-2011—but the website also boasts strong audience engagement, retention, and "virality" among its core demographic, according to a report by RJMetrics.

Based on data collected and analyzed by RJMetrics, key findings from the report include: 

  • Pinterest is retaining and engaging its users 2 to 3 times more efficiently, on average, than Twitter was at a similar time in its life cycle.
  • "Pins" link to a huge array of websites. For example, Etsy is the most popular source of pin content, but it accounts for only 3% of pins.
  • 80% of pins are "re-pins," attesting the viral nature of the Pinterest community. By contrast, at a similar point in Twitter's life cycle, roughly 1.4% of all tweets were re-tweets, according to a study conducted by Hubspot in 2009.
  • The "quality" of the typical new Pinterest user (where quality is defined by a user's level of engagement and likelihood to remain active) is high, but declining. Users who have joined Pinterest in recent months are 2 to 3 times less active during their first month than users who joined before them.

Below, detailed findings from the RJMetrics report Pinterest Data Analysis: An Inside Look.

Pins Connect to a Vast Array of  Web Sources

On Pinterest, every pin (or linked image) ties back to an external link. Among a sample of roughly 1 million pins, more than 100,000 distinct source domains were found.

Among those 100,000 domains, the following chart shows the top 20 sources. The most popular domain was Etsy, which powered just over 3% of pins. Google was a close second, though almost all Google links point to Google Image Search, which is technically misattributed content from other 3rd party domains, RJMetrics points out. 


Flickr (2.5%), Tumblr (1.1%), and weheartit (1.0%) round out the top 5, after which no domain represents more than 1% of pins.

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  • by Nicole Klein Tue Feb 21, 2012 via web

    I'm one of the the Pinterest newbies so I will chime in here. I adore the visual aspects of Pinterest. It speaks to the need to collect that which inspires me and filter out some of the noise. As a newbie, and because I'm not a generally early adopter of applications, I find myself drawn and compelled to learn to use Pinterest much faster than I learned to blog, tweet, syndicate, etc. The pinterest marklet was not 100% intuitive and I'm looking for tutorials because I'd love to learn to use it better.

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