Pinterest shows massive referral growth

Local internet marketers hoping to gain referrals should look no further than the newest social media site to spread like wildfire, Pinterest.

According to a recent Shareaholic study, users on Pinterest accounted for more referral traffic across the web than several big-name sites in January.

Specifically, Pinterest drove 3.6 percent of traffic last month - up from 2.5 percent in December and far beyond the 0.17 percent it commanded in July.

It significantly beat out sites such as YouTube (1.05 percent), Reddit (0.83 percent), LinkedIn (0.2 percent), MySpace (0.01 percent) and surprisingly, Google Plus (0.22 percent).

It should be noted, however, that Google's entire product set (news, images, Gmail) continues to be a top referral source, despite a slight dip from 3.69 percent to 3.62 percent over the past month. Yet Google Plus' shortcoming may suggest that content isn't being shared on the site or users aren't paying enough attention to content that is being shared.

The primary reason for Pinterest's referral success may be its demographic, Digital Trends reports. According to a recent study from Ignite Social Media, Pinterest's user base and audience is primarily female, between the ages of 25 and 54. Researchers note that content appealing to females typically sends back more referral traffic compared to male-centric sites.

Also, the stunning visual images on Pinterest make for great web fodder. The site offers large resolutions, and "beautiful images with smart, intelligent content are far more likely to be shared than sites with lower quality images and poor content," researchers suggest.

Pinterest has also integrated a few features that are common on other social media sites. For instance, users can follow each other (similar to Twitter), "repin" content to a personal board (also like Twitter) and like content or leave comments (see: Facebook).

Other significant findings from the Ignite study include the fact that Pinterest users are likely to have completed college courses, originate in the Midwest and make between $25,000 and $75,000 per year.

Facebook continues to create the most referrals, at 26.4 percent. Also, despite falling below Pinterest, YouTube's referral traffic rose last month, likely due to the largely popular **** Girls Say video, which jettisoned several copycats with a wide array of topics.