Pinterest Becomes Top Referral Source for Women’s Magazines

Pinterest isn’t just becoming a major driver of website traffic for retailer, it’s also sending droves of pinners to women’s magazines sites. Mashable reports that starting this summer Pinterest became the number one referral site for and (NYSE:MSO), referring more traffic than Facebook and Twitter combined. The site is second in line for referral traffic to Cooking Light’s website, behind only Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Referrals to the site are up 6,000 percent from just six months prior and are equivalent to three times that of Facebook.

Pinterest has seen major growth as a referral source for countless other publications including Country Living, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and Self just to name a few. In most cases the growth began organically as the predominantly female Pinterest audience turned to the magazine’s websites early on to find pinning material. Now, the publishers have begun creating their own pinboards to capture the power of Pinterest. Mashable quotes Allison Mezzafonte, director of Hearst Digital Media’s Shelter Network, who said, ““Creating Pinterest pages [for our magazines] allows us to share what we see around the web, and not just our own content. [Our audience] wants to know what we see, what we like, and what’s inspiring us beyond the beautiful images seen in the pages of our magazines.”

Pinterest is also a valuable source of feedback for the magazines as well as a portal for communication. Mezzafonte says she monitors Country Living’s source page and comments on and likes pins to let readers know that the magazine is engaged. “I think it makes [users] happy to know that we’re paying attention to what they’re pinning and what they like,” Mezzafonte says. “It’s also a very visual way for me, as the web editor, to see what people are looking at on our site… [To see] the images, projects and recipes that resonate most with our readers.”

What is yet to be seen is whether this additional traffic will actually hit the bottom line. Just because a pinner is being referred to a magazine’s website, it certainly doesn’t mean they will subscribe. I think the true value in Pinterest for these publications is simply advertising and keeping their names on the minds of the core audience that they share with the pinboard site. Have you ever paid for a subscription to a publication purely due to Pinterest? I can definitely say that I have not.