Pinterest gets into the data game. The social site has launched Web Analytics to help brands and advertisers better understand what users are doing with their content. The 3-year-old company (which is the fastest website to reach 10 million unique visitors a month) has taken a cautious approach in defining its business model, in part to avoid the mistakes of other social networks that moved too fast.

Tao Tao, Pinterest software engineer explained in a blog post, “If you have a verified website, you’ll get information about how many people have pinned from your site, how many people have seen these pins, and how many people visited your site from Pinterest.” “We’ll also show you a selection of your most repinned, most clicked, and most recent pins so you have a better idea of what’s popular. For example, if you have a travel blog, you’ll be able to see whether people are pinning your ski vacation posts or beach vacation posts more.”

Pinterest has become the virtual pin board at the crossroads of social and style, burgeoning into a marketplace for consumer brands offering a visual and demonstrable platform for engagement—and now for the Holy Grail of monetization. Participating brands range from Whole Foods, West Elm, Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, Gilt Home, L.L.Bean, Honda, Oscar de la Renta and thousands more in what comScore VP Andrew Lipsman calls “the rise of the visual Web.”

PinPrior to the new analytics, brands had to employ third-party analytics tools such as Pinfluencer or Curalate to garner such information. “This is a good basic analytics product to serve as a foundation for Pinterest. It has great features around impressions and reach that large brands and agencies care about,” said Pinfluencer CEO Sharad Verma in VB. “No third-party analytics can accurately report on impressions and reach.”

However, the announcement of the free analytics service leaves third-party developers hanging in the balance. “We’re super glad these businesses are helping websites and content creators on Pinterest,” said Cat Lee, Pinterest’s product manager. “We hope that these businesses continue to provide services that we don’t have plans to add at this time,” TechCrunch reports. While Pinterest may still value outside analytics and outreach programs right now, that sentiment is likely to change as the site begins to develop its own API. After all, other social sites, like Facebook and Twitter, have slowly pulled away from third-party services as they try to claim more ad profits for themselves.

If all social media platforms will provide official and verified analytics services, will we all turn into marketers instead of just users? The availability of such data will make users obsessed with their personal branding instead of enjoying the benefits that social media brings to us. I find it scary. I’m a professional working in social media and I spend most my days using analytics and sometimes I find it hard to separate my work (which I love) with my “real life”. For those not working in comms I fear this could be detrimental. Facebook for instance still doesn’t provide stats on personal profiles and I find this a great idea for Facebook’s long term strategy and also for the sanity of the over 1.1 billion users around the world. Let’s not all become marketers but enjoy what social media helps us make easier.


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