The swift rising of new social network Pinterest is understandably resulting in people falling ravenously on any data for who is using it, how and why.
The risk is that a single source of data ends up being widely circulated and taken as gospel, when an alternative analysis tells a very different story. (The failure to put data through a sceptical eye can of course occur with well-established social networks too, as shown by my recent blog post about the Facebook myth).
A great case in point at the moment is Pinterest and the Visual.ly infographic comparing Pinterest traffic in the US and the UK. It’s a nicely presented and useful piece of analysis… but it takes its data from only one source which for a relatively low traffic site (as Pinterest currently is in the UK) can be rather risky.
Compare Visual.ly’s data (from Compete) with the data from a rival metric firm (Nielsen) for the same month of December 2011 and this is what you get:
- The number of unique visitors: it’s either 200,000 (C) or 164,000 (N)
- The percentage of Pinterest users who are female: it’s either 44% (C) or 71% (N)
- The percentage of Pinterest users who are aged 25-34: it’s either 42% (C) or 28% (N)
- The biggest age group for Pinterest users: it’s either 25-34 (C) or actually the 25-34s are no more dominant than the 35-44s (N)
- The percentage of Pinterest users who have a Bachelor’s degree or higher: it’s either 26% (C) or 48% (N)
- … and as for household income: is it that 29% of Pinterest users are in households with an income of more than $150,000 (C) or a mere 3% are in households with an income of more than $127,000?
In other words, nice infographic Visual.ly, but everyone reading it or using it – beware. There is other just as credible evidence which tells an extremely different story.