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March 22, 2013

Pinterest Jumps into the Numbers Game with Web Analytics

Pinterest recently announced a feature that has long been missing from its image-based social bookmarking platform: Web analytics. The social network has been notoriously slow on the monetization game; Pinterest only launched business accounts a few months ago, and there still exists no paid advertising on the site.

This is great news for businesses who, until now, have only had a foggy idea of the ROI of Pinterest — either using one of the third-party analytics platforms, peeking in with Source (here’s Source for SiteProNews replace the end of the URL to check your own domain), or just keeping an eye on their newsfeed.

See It In Action

The Web analytics feature is already available. If you haven’t already done so, choose “switch to the new look” in the menu, then businesses and any user with a verified website can access analytics in the same place. Once there, you will find a number of useful metrics about pins and pinners, repins and repinners, impressions and reach and clicks and visitors. The information is presented in an appealingly simple format that matches the rest of Pinterest’s site, and different parts of the graphs can be switched on and off as needed. If you don’t have a verified website, you can instead watch the walkthrough video to learn about the new features.

In addition to the hard data, Pinterest’s new analytics tools will show you the 100 most recent pins, and “a selection” of your most repinned and most clicked pins. Other features let you see the types of images that people pinning and repinning your images tend to pin. All of these features are designed to tell you what content is the most popular. Using this information, you can learn what your visitors prefer to pin and repin, and adjust your use of images accordingly.

On top of that, the dates displayed are customizable to suit your needs in one-day, seven-day, and 14-day time periods, and different tabs let you move between the metrics and the feeds. An export feature makes it easy to package the data up to sort through and play around with elsewhere. It’s no Google Analytics, but it’s definitely a start.

Is This the Death of Third Party Applications?

It remains to be seen how the new, freely available Web analytics tools will affect third-party tools like Curalate, Reachli, Pinfluencer, and others. In the not-so-distant past we’ve seen a number of third-party platforms facing devastation at Twitter’s hands and Facebook cutting off applications’ access to your friends list; these actions are understandable but can shatter applications built around these capabilities. Is the same likely to happen to third-party Pinterest tools? Some of the separate platforms offer additional features not (yet?) found among Pinterest’s analytics, but it may be only a matter of time before Pinterest starts taking issue with separate tools offering these services.

One possible solution on some people’s minds is the advent of a fee-based API. A public Pinterest API has been slow to make its way into developers’ hands, and nothing has officially been said to confirm its development, though interested persons can sign up for notification if it does become available.

Pinterest has seen an unprecedented amount of popularity in the recent past, blooming far beyond expectations. This popularity has allowed it to thrive in spite of the lack of a business model to start, and the late advent of business tools and analytics. But will not having an API ultimately hurt Pinterest? Only time will tell.

What do you think is in Pinterest’s future — an all-access API or analytics that exist solely in the Pinterest ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Adrienne Erin is a social media marketing savvy freelance writer for several online schools who loves to write about Pinterest.