In February online sharing service Shareaholic released data that showed that Pinterest had moved above Twitter as a source of referral traffic to websites for the first time, with some 1.05 percent of visitors coming from Pinterest, against a lackluster 0.82 percent from Twitter.
Now, Shareaholic have released some updated numbers for June, and guess what? Pinterest has moved even further ahead, commanding a heady 1.19 percent of referrals to Twitter’s mediocre 0.92 percent. Pinterest has even put the mighty StumbleUpon out to roost.
But, impressive as these numbers are, here’s the problem: it’s just one month. In every other month since February Pinterest has finished last.
Here’s a summary of Shareaholic’s data, which tracks more than 200,000 websites that use the company’s sharing widget, from January to June 2012.
And here’s a chart that perhaps better summarizes my point:
Look at Pinterest’s mighty rise! It’s left Twitter, Bing, StumbleUpon and even Google referral traffic (which Shareaholic defines as anything that comes from Google that isn’t organic search, AdWords or Google+) in its dust.
But hold on a second. Sure, it’s moved nicely ahead in June, but take a look at the period between March and May. Pinterest was last in each of these months. Back in February Pinterest’s referral share fell from 1.05 percent down to somewhere between 0.74 percent and 0.83 percent for the next three months. Until we see July’s figures – and really August’s and September’s as well – I see no reason to believe that this uptick from Pinterest is anything more than a temporary bump. I’ll be surprised if it’s not back below one percent next month.
Twitter, meanwhile, has been slowly creeping upwards since February, although its numbers are really quite poor. All of these sources are some distance behind Facebook (5.65 percent in June, about six percent for the year) and miles behind Google search, which makes up almost half of all referral visitors. So don’t be abandoning your SEO and CPC campaigns quite yet, especially if you were thinking of putting that budget into Pinterest.
Bottom line: unless you have a lot of data, and it’s consistent over time, it’s always wise to take these fleeting social statistics with a very hefty pinch.