Pinterest may have quickly arrived as a major source of traffic to many websites, but those visitors may click on the ads they see there less often than others.
That's the finding of a new study by ad technology company Yieldbot, which has both an ad server and a publisher analytics platform, seeing 1.5 billion page views each month. While Pinterest refers far more traffic than any other social site, according to Yieldbot's data, those visitors click on ads 45% less than the average of all visitors. Facebook, which refers less visitors, sends traffic that is 60% more likely to click on an ad than average, Yieldbot said.
If that holds true for their own particular sites, publishers might need to rethink where they focus their energy in social media. "If you talk to marketers and brands, they want to buy performance," said Yieldbot CEO Jonathan Mendez.
Indeed. According to the IAB, 66% of digital advertising is sold with performance-based pricing -- such as the cost per click or other actions. Only 32% is sold on the basis of views. So, more often than not, publishers are actually getting paid on clicks, not traffic.
It may then make sense for publishers not to send themselves in a frenzy over Pinterest, which has been noted in Ad Age and elsewhere as major traffic referral source. Yieldbot found that social media referrals perform 36% worse than average, in terms of clicks.
"Social is so much worse than every other channel," said Mr. Mendez, referring to other means of arriving on a site such as search engine results, going directly to the home page or links from other publishers' sites. "Though as you dig deeper you can see that Facebook drives most of the performance that is in that channel."