Think you know Pinterest? Think again

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 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’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, but everyone reading it or using it – beware. There is other just as credible evidence which tells an extremely different story.



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