Why in the Arts World Don't You Have a Pinterest?

Haven’t you heard? Pinterest: Now Officially Better Than Yahoo and Bing* *Sort of.

The story dropped earlier this month: Pinterest referred more people to websites in August than Yahoo and Bing. What that means is that more people visited Website X by clicking on content (generated from Website X) that is on Pinterest, than people did by searching for Website X on Yahoo or Bing. Which is huge – the little-social-media-that-could topped industry giants, if only by a few decimal points.

The report came from Shareaholic, a social media tool for sharing websites, on just about every social media platform. They have tools for sharing pages from your browser, to putting buttons on your site to allow your visitors to share your content. The Shareaholic Analytics tool tracks who’s sharing your work, and how visitors are reaching you – which is where this report comes from. Shareaholic Analytics also points out that traffic from Pinterest has doubled in the past four months and “is now the fourth largest traffic source in the world”. Can that possibly be true?

Maybe. Search Engine Optimization is a tricky beast and there are a few drawbacks to the report. Shareaholic can only measure the websites currently using its tools – which is a network of 200,000 publishers, who reach 300 million people each month. While that sounds like a suitable sample size, it does depend on the makeup and content of each website, their level of SEO sophistication, etc, etc.

Of course, why am I telling you this? The arts community, while generally not on the bleeding edge, hasn’t been idle on the Pinterest front. The always-cool SFMOMA has boards upon boards of art. The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre boards give us a glimpse behind the scenes of their shows and soirees.  Heck, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra pins everything from fanmail and music jokes to gorgeous music halls and their musicians. The fact is, Pinterest’s layout and content lends itself to arts organizations. (But for real people, you can pin videos – and I have yet to see a performances board!) Shareaholic says that Pinterest is one of the best ways to send people to your website. Why don’t you have one yet?

It could be time, it could be money, it's probably a mixture of both. Maybe, like skeptics of this report, you need more time to make an assessment. There are larger implications here: that “sharing” is greater than “searching,” visuals more important than text, and that your friends know what you should look at better than some algorithm. This was still just one report, using one social sharing service, for one month, however, and only time will tell if these trends continue – but maybe you and your organization should take a closer look at Pinterest. We have tools to help you set one up.