Stick Pinterest in Analytics

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Facebook's position as the biggest, most popular social network is unassailable, right? Even with the force of the world's biggest search engine, its "nearest competitor", Google+, has failed to take any significant slice of the social pie.

Up steps Pinterest, then, which in the past year has seen a seismic Big Bang of activity which some commentators have said shows just how fragile Facebook's popularity may be.

After all, Facebook rode in on the waves of social popularity created by MySpace: and, well, MySpace kind of crumbled and died as a result. Will Pinterest be the next big thing?

More than 11 million monthly US visitors suggests that, perhaps, Pinterest could eventually rival Facebook in the popularity stakes.

For those who can remember back about five years, it was mainly females who made the switch from MySpace to Facebook, signaling a seachange for respective boyfriends, husbands and prospective love interests who reluctantly followed along.

Funnily enough, the mainstays of Pinterest's early success have also, on the whole, been female. That alone, of course, doesn't really tell us anything (accusations of fickleness are best kept quiet), but the rise of interest groups on Pinterest is making it an evermore tempting distraction from Facebook's news feeds.

But is it worth putting any effort into Pinterest? At least, before Facebook's popularity truly starts to wane?

Perhaps not. But it's well worth ascertaining how Pinterest is affecting your other online activity: whether that's PPC marketing campaigns, search engine optimisation or social media marketing.

One clear way to get a handle on this is to track how traffic is accessing your sites from Pinterest: and for those au fait with using Google Analytics, the program can provide valuable feedback on visits, conversions and engagement from Pinterest users.

Mashable's Social Media pages carry an interesting breakdown of ways to track Pinterest traffic in Analytics this month.

Amongst them, users are encouraged to set up traffic sources referral reports, using or to discover how visits from Pinterest weigh up against your averages. Set some goals and you can really track how effective a referrer Pinterest is.

Custom reports will help you track articles or pieces which are "pinned" on Pinterest, how many visitors saw the pins and followed the links, whether these are repeat visitors, how long they stayed to see your products, and whether they converted, bounced or helped score a goal.

The Analytics dashboard also allows you to monitor daily visits from Pinterest, which come from mobiles, and the usual info such as popular items, visit length and whether Pinterest is assisting goal completion.

Finally, Multi-Channel Funnels has an assisted conversions feature, which, when filtered for Pinterest, should show you how many times the site helped you convert a visit. You could find Pinterest is a great signposter, but not a great path to conversion - this at least gives you something to build on.

Of course, for now, if you're already embarking on large scale social media marketing campaigns, it's not worth pulling the plug on Facebook and jumping ship to Pinterest just yet. It is, however, definitely worth some time investigating whether Pinterest provides another great marketing opportunity: or just a flash-in-the-can fad.

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