Many of you will have noticed that there is a new player in the social media spaces: Pinterest.

Hailed by Gizmodo as a “Tumblr for the ladiez“, Pinterest is a social-network-cross-social-bookmarking-service. Its primary demographic is 25-34 year old women, who are vastly overrepresented according to Alexa web statistics. Anecdotally, it’s also highly popular with 35-55 year old women as well, but this isn’t reflected in the statistics due to their comparative lower use of emerging networks. Pinterest is the 108th most visited site worldwide and currently 54th in Australia, and had 11 million views worldwide in December (Alexa).

Pinterest is all about rich content, with a focus on design, architecture, products and textiles. Looking at a list of 21 Must-Follow Pinterest users will tell you just that.

Retailers certainly come out on top, with TheNextWeb suggesting that selling primarily to women has led to strong Return on Investment for retailers using the service. Mashable describes it as website design ‘in window-shopping mode’.

Most interestingly, Pinterest is driving a lot of traffic. A report from Shareaholic found Pinterest drives more traffic referrals than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. And it’s not surprising – users are spending over 10 minutes on average on the site (more than StumbleUpon and Tumblr), suggesting there’s a large number of users browsing Pinterest pinboards for hours each day.

How will the startup make money? Referral traffic. It was recently reported that Pinterest was adding affiliate codes to links on the site – without telling users. And while this wouldn’t concern or alarm many users, it’s a model that hasn’t been used much on a large-scale before, and it’s probably a successful model by all accounts.

Pinterst is certainly a network to keep an eye out for. We suspect it won’t become a huge player but will continue to grow within its niche. Brands who have great rich media content will do well to get involved and start curating content for users to engage with. It will be very interesting when it opens up beyond invite-only beta and into the wider public…

Finally, have a look at these 5 tips for using Pinterest from this monetate infographic:

  1. Promote a lifestyle
  2. Use it like a focus group
  3. Crowdsource
  4. Run contests
  5. Inspire your team
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