Digital Publishing Platforms
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After Facebook’s latest changes, publishers take renewed interest in Pinterest

Publishers casting about for new referral sources after Facebook’s latest News Feed changes are taking a fresh look at Pinterest.

The online scrapbooking platform represented nearly 8 percent of publishers’ social traffic in the second half of 2017, up from 4.5 percent in the first half of 2016, according to Shareaholic.

Claiming more than 200 million active monthly users, 8-year-old Pinterest falls somewhere between Flipboard and Twitter in the size of its user base. Its utility for people — often women — looking for home decor, fashion and menu ideas and the like makes it well suited to lifestyle publishers looking to get their content in front of new audiences (and advertisers looking to reach those audience, which is how Pinterest makes its money).

“It sounds like we’re at a point where we’re about to discover how interesting Pinterest is for publishers,” said Michelle Kempner, vp of operations at BuzzFeed, where Pinterest is its second-biggest referral platform after Facebook.

However,  the big question for publishers is whether Pinterest will go beyond being a meaningful traffic source and become an actual revenue source. Those efforts are in their infancy, with limited ad sales opportunities and data, and after being burned by Facebook, publishers are leery of platforms’ promises.

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