Up until a week ago, companies that wanted to track their pins on Pinterest had to use a 3rd party developer like Piqora or Pinster.  But now Pinterest is offering its own analytics product called Pinterest Web Analytics.   Is this analytics product just the beginning of what Pinterest plans to offer?  And if so, what is the future for third-party Pinterest analytics companies?

The move by Pinterest comes as the social network closes in on the number two spot behind Twitter as the second most popular social networking site.  As its popularity grows, Pinterest is trying to find a way to monetize its site.

But as more companies pop up that are image-centric and similar to Pinterest, such as Wanelo and Polyvore, Pinterest has an increased stake in keeping businesses and consumers from straying to other sites.  Currently, Pinterest is focusing on businesses with the launch of verified accounts and its recently upgraded Pinterest business site.

Pinterest Web Analytics is a tool that helps companies track how many people are pinning from their website and who is seeing and clicking on their pins.  It’s hardly a comprehensive suite of analytics or API for developers.  So for now, it appears that Pinterest-created analytics companies including Piqora, Curalate and Pinster, to name a few, may be still be relevant.

Sharad Verma, CEO of Piqora, which offers analytics for Pinterest among other site, said he believes Pinterest is offering the tool to monetize via ads.  However, he believes that while Pinterest may add more features around their own data, they will ultimately follow in the footsteps of Facebook.  Facebook offered a tool called “Insights,” which is a basic analytics package built around a brand’s page and Verma says helps the company make a case for asking brands for more advertising dollars.  But ultimately, Verma believes Pinterest is not in the business of building a suite of analytics.

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“They will continue to extend their analytics to the extent that it helps them make a case to get brands to open up advertising dollars,” Verma said.  “But brands want us to be able to predict when a product might go out of stock based on how well it’s trending on Pinterest- that’s a feature that’s helpful for retailers- that’s a feature that’s built on top of Pinterest data- but it doesn’t help Pinterest to build those type of features.”

So for now, it appears Pinterest analytics companies are safe.  But the company is reportedly exploring the idea of charging for their API, which could generate revenue and give Pinterest more control over how the data gets used.

Piqora recently changed its name from Pinfluencer as it focuses its analytics on other networks besides Pinterest.  Hmmm…they may be on to something…

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