Category Archives: Pinterest

Pinterest traffic to your blog or website is being underreported

Pinterest traffic to your website might be 64% more than what you think.

Visitors from the Pinterest iOS app are not being tracked as coming from Pinterest in Google Analytics and other log based tracking programs. This underreporting of Pinterest traffic is significant. In my analysis, Pinterest mobile iOS traffic would have contributed an additional 64% more unique visitors from Pinterest than Google Analytics currently reports. To put it another way, 38% of Pinterest traffic is not showing up as coming from Pinterest.

Google Analytics doesn’t track Pinterest iOS App traffic as coming from Pinterest.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. When a person clicks on a image in the Pinterest iOS  app, they are taken to an external website, that website loads in the Pinterest app’s own browser. I tested this myself, and it was also tested by Joe Simonson, a web developer and regular Google Analytics user.

Google tracks this visit as a direct referal on a mobile device with the browser being Mozilla Compatible Agent.

Pinterest underreported traffic by the numbers

I had the unique circumstance where a new site was getting significant traffic that I believed was 90% from Pinterest. But Pinterest (including mobile) was only showing up as 48% of the referrals.

For reference, here are the top ten traffic sources for the month of June.

Because the site was so new, I immediately believed that this direct, no referral traffic could not all be traditional direct traffic like a user entering the url, clicking a bookmark or having enhanced privacy enabled.  Also, all the direct traffic was matching the characteristics of Pinterest referal traffic closely.

The site I examined had these stats for the month of June (all unique visitors):

  • Total Visitors: 53,380
    • Identified Pinterest referals: 25,607
    • Mobile Direct Traffic (No referral): 18,115
      • App Traffic (no referral): 16,410
        • Browser: Mozillla Compatible Agent
        • Mobile: Yes
        • Operating System: iOS
        • Source: (direct)

With identified Pinteret traffic at 25,607, the iOS direct traffic would be 64% of that. I can’t say all the traffic is from Pinterest, but based on  my observations below, I believe close to all of it is.

Traffic Patterns

While it is possible that other apps would occassionaly send traffic to the site I examined, Pinterest referred visitors and direct traffic (with no referral) track together day in and day out for for the entire month. The only exceptions was the two times that this site got promoted on Twitter. In the example below you can see that both the Twitter and App traffic spiked on June 30th, but then in the next hour Pinterest and App traffic again went back to their very similar pattern.

Pinterest Outage

Pinterest’s site being down on Friday evening (6/29) was further confirmation that this traffic was coming from Pinterest (see the second blue box in the image above). I was monitoring Real Time analytics and the traffic to this site just stopped. Both Pinterest referral traffic and direct traffic went to zero. Once Pinterest was back up the traffic resumed it’s normal pattern.

Joe Simonson examined the Google Analytics for the site and determined:

You’ve obviously got a great case here with the power outage to prove the point. But for sites where direct traffic is a possibility, then it will be hard to segment.

Analysis of hourly traffic [Video]

Implications of underreporting

38% of Pinterest referral traffic now coming from the iOS app

If your website gets traffic from Pinterest, it is likely much more than you realize. The site I examined uses responsive web design, so that is part of the reason it does so well on mobile, but 96% of all traffic was new to the site. Thus the quality of the site doesn’t figure that much into where the traffic is coming from (web, mobile browser or app). This leads me to believe that that 38% of all Pinterest traffic, at least from the site in question but possibly in general, is coming from the Pinterest iOS app. And this traffic is not showing up as coming from Pinterest.

*38% is derrived from:

No Source iOS Mozilla App Traffic / (Tracked Pinterest Traffic + No Source iOS Mozilla App Traffic)

The problems with tracking mobile app traffic

Unfortunately for those who want to track how much traffic is coming from Pinterest, the method I used of segmenting direct traffic (no referral, moblie, iOS, and Mozilla Compatible Agent browser) won’t always provide a clear picture of Pinterest traffic, but it will help you figure out when traffic is coming from mobile iOS apps.

Jim Gianoglio, Manager of Insight: Social & Mobile at LunaMetrics, told me that many app visits will show up this way. He indicated that Facebook has figured out a way to resolve this issue with their app, but that Twitter, while better tracking referrals with the link shortener, still sends traffic from their own apps  (as well as many third party apps) without clear referral attribution.

Joe Simonson had a similar perspective. He added that, “Twitter iPhone traffic can be determined by looking at the raw log files, but Google Analytics isn’t going to do a good job of telling you where the traffic came from. So this makes it especially hard for Pinterest traffic. Keeping an eye out for ‘webkit’ strings would give you app traffic, but without some additional info tagged on, it isn’t going to give you the whole story.”

Is there a way to better track these missing Pinterest visitors?

Sadly, no. I did several test pins that had Google tracking code added to them. When clicking through these pins in the app, they just showed up as direct traffic.

My own suggestion is to at least create an advanced segment in your Google Analytics account to be able to track iOS app traffic.

If you already get a significant amount of traffic from Pinterest, the results could be helpful.

If you have any thoughts on this post or have ideas to better track Pinterest iOS app traffic, please post them in the comments.



Tips for using Pinterest, Food Network & Pinterest Effect is in full force at weddings in 2012.

This week on Pin The News, Lauren Orsini of The Daily Dot and I discuss:

You can go right to the segment you are interested in via the above links or watch the full episode below.

Subscribe to stay up-to-date on Pinterest news.



recite-26859-996368673-129uqxi (1)

Create compelling images for Pinterest or your blog in less than a minute.

I have been preaching the need for including compelling images in blog posts for a while now.

They are essential to Pinterest, and with Facebook’s recent changes you likely should stop sharing your own links and instead upload an image and then post the link in the body of the update (you get more screen space this way and more engagement). In either case, images matter.

But most of us have limited time. It can be hard enough to finish a blog post,  and then you have to find or perhaps create a compelling image to go with it.

Recite This is a tool that takes any text you can come up with and turns it into a great looking image. I have included some of the different image styles in this post.

I have tried other services that are similar. I even paid for Share As Image Pro. But the templates that Recite This is using are some of the best I have seen, and they even let you download a fairly large version of what you create.

Right now the service is entirely free, and you don’t even have to create an account. I think Recite This will quickly get popular, and you will start to see these style of images more frequently. So some of the newness may wear off, but for now you should consider trying out the service and making some quick, shareable images to go with your blog posts or to even just share.

Thanks to Kelly Lieberman for mentioning this cool service.

Pinterest is making Etsy the center of the social commerce world.

Pinterest attribution changes put Etsy at the center of the social commerce universe.

Pinterest just announced on their blog that they are adding more attribution tags to pinned content. Content from Etsy, 500px, Kickstarter, SlideShare and Sound Cloud are all now supported. The change will apply to all pins going forward, and Pinterest will slowly be adding this attribution to previous pins.

How the Etsy attribution works on Pinterest

Like the previous attribution links for YouTube and Vimeo, the Pinterest user will see the full attribution on the pin page with a link to the item page, the store page and to Etsy (see each red arrows below).


Clicking on the image to go to the Etsy shop.

Perhaps even more important, the Etsy shop attribution link actually shows up in user’s pin streams (see image on the right). The red arrow points to Etsy attribution link. Clicking there takes you to the Etsy shop.

This greatly increase the exposure and likely the traffic going to Etsy shops. The friction between seeing something compelling an going to the ecommerce site is significantly reduced.

Etsy now has the unique status of being the only ecommerce site with attribution from Pinterest.

While Pinterest adding attribution may be in part a effort to fight against potential copyright issues, adding Etsy attribution is unique in the history of ecommerce. We already have a number of studies that show that Pinterest is the leader in driving sales from social, but now they are actually providing attribution to just one ecommerce site.

Even small retailers spend thousands of dollars trying to get users to go to their online retail stores. With Pinterest attribution change, Etsy sellers now are getting direct links to their store with every image pinned and repinned. This type of promotion is difficult to put a value on, but it is significant.

It is unlikely that Pinterest will stop with just Etsy. The natural next step would be to add Amazon, iTunes and other popular retailers. For now, Etsy has exclusivity among retailers, and those using this ecommerce platform will be placed at a significant advantage.


What is on your Pinterest plate

What is on your Pinterest plate? [Infograph]

Click the image for the full sized version.

Want to post this infograph on your site?

Just copy and past the html code below into your post. I only ask that you provide a link back to this page (example included in the code).

<a href=""><img src="" alt="What's On Your Pinterest Plate" imgclass=alignnone size-full</a><a href="pinterest-food-infograph">Infographic from</a>


I did my best to draw food words from Dan Zarrells data on the most pinnable words. I excluded words that didn’t relate to food. In a borderline cases like “cut”, I kept it in the list as it is frequently seen in descriptions about recipies.

I understand the the Pinterest food pyramid is not reflecting of Pinterest users’ diets, but it is interesting to see what a food pyramid would look like based on the most popular food repins.