Well, that was fast. Launched in March 2010 and more or less unknown by the wider Web until last summer, Pinterest is now the third most popular social media site, behind Facebook and Twitter, according to “The 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report” from Experian.
Like previous social media breakouts, Pinterest had a long, slow build followed by a sudden surge in awareness and activity, with traffic jumping 50% from January to February 2012. In the week ending Jan. 28, the site received 21.5 million visits, about 30 times the traffic volume six months previously.
During the twelve weeks leading up to Jan. 28, the site’s audience skewed 60% female, reflecting its focus on home décor, crafts, hobbies, fashion and food -- although it’s also worth noting that women dominate social networking in general (accounting for 62% of Facebook status updates, messages and comments and 71% of Facebook fan activity, according to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg).
Interestingly, there are several specific geographic regions where Pinterest over-indexes against social media activity in general. The site is especially popular in the Midwest, Northwest, and Southeast. The states where Pinterest outpaces social media by the biggest margins include Missouri, Utah, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Experian noted that all these states also over-index in visits to hobbies and crafts Web sites in general. The Pinterest audience in these states is dominated by “Baby Boomers and young adults who are heavy Web users and spend time on house and garden, sports and fitness, and family-oriented Websites.”
Experian added that fashion sites, which also overlap with Pinterest, have seen traffic increase 2,300% over the last year.