Study: Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, nearly on par with Twitter

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Pinterest, the website which lets people collect and share photos online with a “virtual pinboard,” has steadily amassed a very dedicated following of users that spreads far beyond the app-obsessed early adopter crowd. On Tuesday, a new study out of content sharing company Shareaholic showed just how powerful the Palo Alto, California-based startup has become.

Shareaholic's survey (click to enlarge)

Pinterest is now driving more referral traffic on the web than Google+, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn — combined. That’s according to Shareaholic’s January 2012 referral traffic report, which is based on aggregated data from more than 200,000 publishers that reach more than 260 million unique monthly visitors each month.

In January Pinterest was responsible for 3.6 percent of referrals tracked by Shareaholic, up from 2.5 percent during the previous month. That means the site is quickly gaining ground on Twitter, which drove 3.61 percent of referral traffic in January, down from 3.62 percent in December. Pinterest’s ascent has been especially rapid when viewed through a longer lens: The site owned just .17 percent of the traffic in Shareaholic’s July survey.

Not surprisingly, Facebook is holding steady at the top of Shareaholic’s survey, as it was responsible for more than a quarter of all referral traffic in January. Next in line was StumbleUpon, with 5.07 percent. It bears mention that while the Shareaholic survey is global, in the United States market alone StumbleUpon has in the past unseated Facebook as a top driver of referral traffic.

It’s exciting to see a relative newcomer growing so quickly in the web space. While the web’s more established companies are quite powerful these days, the fact that a startup like Pinterest has successfully established its own foothold shows that the competitive landscape is still alive and mainstream users are open to trying things from new players.

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