Pinterest tops Twitter and Bing in referrals

Steven Loeb · July 9, 2012 · Short URL:

StumbleUpon and Google referrals also behind

It might be hard to believe, but social media is still pretty new. Facebook has only been around since 2004, Twitter since 2006 and Pinterest since 2010. It is still unknown what kind of impact these sites may have on traffic around the Internet, but content creators should be paying attention.

Pinterest now beats Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google in referral traffic, according to a new study by Shareaholic.

Pinterest is a social photo sharing website, which allows its users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests and hobbies.

Based on 200,000 publishers, who reach more than 270 million people monthly, referral traffic for Pinterest has climbed from .85% in January to 1.19% in June.

The leader in traffic is still Google organic searches, with 46.8%. Google “organic” traffic comes from searches on or AdWords, while “referred” traffic comes from other Google properties and sites, such as Google Groups,, or static pages on related Google sites.

In January, Pinterest had more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, surprising many. Then, in February, it topped Twitter for share of refferal traffic.

Pinterest fell behind Twitter for the next three months, but once again beat it in June, when Twitter had .92%.

Bing was barely behind Pinterest in June, lagging by only 0.01%, while Google referrals were a bit further behind, with 1.09% of traffic. StumbleUpon, who Shareaholic says “has long been a significant source for content discovery and driver of traffic” was also behind Pinterest with .96%.

So what does all this mean?

Basically, says Shareaholic, sites like Pinterest can be another way for content creators to get search engine optimization (SEO), but they should not use these sites as a replacement for more traditional means, especially since Google organic searches are still so high up on the list.

“Content creators should take note - but certainly not forget about organic search all together. ‘Image optimization’, if there is such a phrase, may be an additional form of SEO, but definitely not a replacement for keyword building as Google organic traffic still sends almost half of the traffic to the websites in our data set. “

And, indeed, creators should definitely keep Pinterest in mind, as its user growth is up over 4000% since May 2011. More people may be referred from Google, but as social media grows and matures, there is no telling how much traffic these sites will one day drive. Never underestimate the value of having someone you know tell you that they like it.

(Image source:

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