Insights

Pinterest Releases a Web Analytics tool. Should You Care? Probably Not.

March 13, 2012

Earlier today, Pinterest announced via a post on its official blog the immediate availability of a series of web analytics tools, allowing brands and marketers to understand how people would interact with their content and which content would generate more engagement.

Pinterest has been a hot topic of discussions in the last 12 months. This is partly because no one had access to exact figures or data on the service usage or how the service could contribute to driving traffic to e-commerce sites. Needless to say, getting some official analytics data from Pinterest was probably on top of the wish list for a large number of online marketers, until today.

Enter “Pinterest Web Analytics”

Who is this for? Though the page claims that it is a feature “for businesses”, as long as you own a domain name, any individual can actually activate the Web Analytics tool on his/her own Pinterest profile.

What’s in it for me? Pinterest seems to market this tool as some early features with more to come. In fact, as you will read later, there’s not so much in terms of features and metrics. But for sure, it’s a good start and it looks promising. If only we would not have to wait for another 12 months before we see new features made available.

What does this offer?

Let’s make this clear first, before we go into the details of the metrics and numbers that are provided by the tool: it is called Pinterest Web Analytics for a reason!

What you will probably not understand at first glance is that this tool will give you figures and numbers about the activity related to content (read: images and photos) that come from YOUR website, the same website that has to be linked to your Pinterest profile and “verified”.

Any other kind of content is NOT measured and tracked by the tool. This is not helpful for many large corporations. For example, let’s assume that you have a fairly famous brand with several websites and domain names for different brands or business activities, in order to use Pinterest Web Analytics you will have to choose one domain name to be analysed, and only one. Period.

In addition, let’s also assume that you have been very creative about your Pinterest usage and have created several boards related to your business domain, and curated or uploaded specific pictures and content, in this case again, none of this content could be tracked and measured by Pinterest Web Analytics tool.

Kind of disappointing, isn’t it?

Last but not least: you HAVE to have a Pinterest profile. OK, I know it may sound funny to say at first, but just think for a second about all those businesses and brands who haven’t decided yet if they want to have an explicit presence in Pinterest. Think about some very famous fashion brands.

They’re left alone without a chance to actually “see” what happens about their brand in Pinterest, unless they’re considering third party tools besides Pinterest Web Analytics.

What’s missing?

Here’s a quick list of features and things that I consider are missing as of today in this analytics tool:

  • Pins from your website only. Period. Other content is ignored. As simple as that.
  • Nothing about competitors. You cannot compare.
  • Nothing specific about mobile usage (there are native apps for iOS and Android, and also a non-official app for Window Phone).
  • No socio-demographic data, at all.
  • No country/location data, at all.
  • Exposed data and numbers are more like vanity numbers, again (#repins is the new #fans!)
  • Just numbers of pins/repins, what about likes? Is a like not considered as engagement too?
  • Export data in CSV files limited to the last 100 pins/repins from the “Most” tabs. Seriously, hundred!

But...

It’s free! This means you can bet that this is rather a good deal and that it’s going to be “good enough” for a large number of users, for the good, and for the bad.

I just hope that people will understand that this tool only provides facts and figures about pins originated from their website, and that it doesn’t provide a holistic view of how the brand does on Pinterest.

So, is this a good or a bad thing?

It’s probably a good thing for Pinterest itself. They haven’t announced or showed anything close to monetization features so far. If they wanted to, they would need to provide some data to their clients to assess that what they sell (to be confirmed!) is worth its price. This is no doubt a first step towards future announcements of monetization features for brands and marketers.

What about the third party Pinterest analytics tools?

Let’s get it straight: to me, as it is today, this Pinterest Web Analytics tool is pretty much useless.

Here’s my point. It’s good to see that Pinterest gets serious about businesses and begins to share some data, but I mean it’s clearly not enough yet. In my opinion, it's just weird that Pinterest doesn't provide API on top of this data for third parties to build upon. This could have a negative results for third party tools judging by what twitter recently did to third party apps related to API access.

The good news, however, is that those third party companies like Curalate or Pinfluencer (**) who have invested energy, time and ressources in building great tools and well thought out features still have a bright future, at least in the short to mid-term.

Overall, Pinterest Web Analytics, as it is today, is not to be compared with the best of breed tools like Curalate or Pinfluencer (**). But things could change. Let’s see what will be Pinterest’s next move in this domain.

(**) Nota: Since this post was written, Pinfluencer was renamed as Piqora. You can find out more by visiting www.piqora.com.

Image by mkhmarketing under CC BY 2.0