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Pinterest vs. Google+: What’s better?

Over the past year, there’s been a lot of talk about Pinterest vs. Google+ and which is the better place for Internet marketers to invest their time. With Google+’s recent facelift, it’s apparent that Google plans on continuing to invest heavily in social for the foreseeable future. However, with Pinterest’s recent explosion in popularity, how do you know which one is worth the time?

In an article from the International Business Times by Michael Nunez, he tries to help us determine which of these “second-tier” (non-Facebook or Twitter) social media outlets are worth the time.  He outlines several important categories on which to judge which network makes the most sense to invest your time and efforts.

According to Nunez, “there are a few important statistics that separate a great social network from something that’s just really good.” when looking at these “second-tier” social network sites it’s important to look at “which is the best in terms of driving traffic to your site?” as it is important for social networks “to drive traffic to websites outside it’s own reach.” So with these topics in mind, how does Google+ and Pinterest stack up?

Active Users

In a recent letter by Google CEO, Lary Page, stated that Google + has 90 million global users. Page continued, saying that Google + has a 60% “daily engagement” rate. This means that each day approximately 54 million people are logging on and participating on the social network. I’m sure that this comes as a bit of a shock to many of you as Google + is regarded as a virtual ghost town. According to Google specialist Steven Levy, author of The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our LIves “Facebook awoke Google to its shortcomings in the social aspect of the Internet. It wasn’t something that could be ignored”.

Pinterest, social media’s newest darling on the block, currently has stated that there are more than 11 million registered users of the network. 9 million of which are monthly active Facebook-connected users. Despite Page’s report stating that Google+ has 90 million users, a recent Experian study states that “Pinterest is the third most-popular U.S. social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter.”

Referral Traffic

Arguably the most important metric, in my opinion. Referral traffic is where the rubber meets the road. In a recent referral traffic report published by Shareaholic, “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.” While the study doesn’t show all referral sources, it does show a large increase in Pinterest’s referral traffic since December 2011. From December 2011 to January 2012, Pinterest referral traffic grew 1.1% and up 3.43% since July 2011. What’s more interesting is that according to the same study, Google+ has dropped slightly since December 2011.

The decision

While both networks have excellent user bases, referrals are what really drive business. With that in mind, marketers should try to focus more time on Pinterest, as it has clearly become a great source of website traffic. Unless Google search + your world manages to reverse this trend, Pinterest is the best place to invest your marketing efforts.

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