New Pinterest Data: What’s Everyone Pinning About?

Last month, we released an in-depth report on Pinterest user behavior. The general theme among our many findings was that Pinterest users are deeply engaged and remain highly active over time.

This led many people to ask a logical follow-up question: what exactly is everyone pinning about? With about a million pins still sitting in an RJMetrics hosted data warehouse from our previous report, we decided to answer that question.

Our full report is below, but here are some of our key findings:

  • The all-time most popular pinboard categories are Home (17.2%), Arts and Crafts (12.4%), Style/Fashion (11.7%), and Food (10.5%).
  • Good news for e-commerce players looking to cash in on Pinterest: Products I Love is the third most popular pinboard name, and pins that exist on pinboards about Products are the most likely to be liked by other users.
  • Food is the fastest-growing pinboard category. Food is also the most likely category to be repinned, on average generating over 50% more re-pins than the next most repinned category, Style and Fashion.

How We Did It

We sampled just under one million pins from pinterest.com by browsing Pin ID Numbers and usernames from the general population. These pins were from about 9,200 unique users and were stored across pinboards with about 15,000 unique names.

We mapped pinboard names to content categories by identifying the most commonly used words and phrases and mapping those to specific content categories. This allowed us to categorize the vast majority of the pinboards we identified into a handful of distinct categories.

As always, RJMetrics was our secret sauce. We conducted the analysis for this article with just a few clicks from our RJMetrics online dashboards.

Most Popular Board Names

Most pinboard names are used by many different users throughout Pinterest. In fact, some board names represent as much as 3% of the total pinboard population. The 10 most common board names, along with the percent of boards they represent, are listed below:

  • For the Home (3.15%)
  • My Style (1.97%)
  • Products I Love (1.86%)
  • Books Worth Reading (1.68%)
  • Food (1.23%)
  • Favorite Places & Spaces (1.00%)
  • Recipes (0.75%)
  • Craft Ideas (0.74%)
  • Christmas (0.72%)
  • Crafts (0.65%)

Those who are excited about Pinterest’s use as a product recommendation engine will be happy to see Products I Love as the third most popular board name, representing about 1.9% of pinboards.

Most Popular Board Categories

In addition to the popular names listed above, there are thousands upon thousands of additional unique board names in our sample. By isolating key words and phrases, we were able to bucket about 85% of the pinboards from our sample into categories.

The top 10 most popular categories are listed below:

  • Home (17.2%)
  • Arts and Crafts (12.4%)
  • Style/Fashion (11.7%)
  • Food (10.5%)
  • Inspiration/Education (9.0%)
  • Holidays/Seasonal (3.9%)
  • Humor (2.1%)
  • Products (2.1%)
  • Travel (1.9%)
  • Kids (1.8%)

Note that over 60% of pinboards fall into the top 5 categories.

Emerging Trends: Food Trumps Fashion

If we look at these top categories over time, by and large it appears as though their relative percentages are holding steady.

As you might expect, the only line showing some degree of seasonality is the one related to holidays and seasonal content.

As a next step, however, we isolated the two categories that had shown the biggest changes in market share over the past 12 months and uncovered something interesting:

In the early days of Pinterest, Style and Fashion represented twice as many pinboards as Food. However, in recent months, Food has gained more ground than any other category, and has actually become more popular than Style and Fashion among new pinboards created.

This could be a reflection of Pinterest’s increasing popularity in the mainstream, as Food is a far more populist topic than fashion. As one of Pinterest’s newer (and less trendy) members, I confess that I’d be more likely to pin about cake than couture.

Most Viral Categories

We looked at the average number of repins and likes for the pins across the different content categories we identified.

Check out the average repins by category below:

Hands down, Food was the most likely category to be repinned. This could explain its increasing share of the category landscape. Style and Fashion is a distant second, and Holidays/Seasonal was the least likely category to be repinned.

Interestingly, the most liked categories were NOT the same as the most repinned. Check out the average number of likes per pin by category:

Here we see that Products is actually the most likely category to be liked. This is surprising, particularly given that Products sat in the middle of the pack when it came to repins.

Humor is a similar story, ranking second most liked but not standing out based on repin frequency.

Conclusion

With Pinterest continuing to explode in size, it will be exciting to see how broader adoption shapes the voice of its community.

Pins about the home, arts and crafts and inspiration continue to dominate the content landscape, but the growing popularity of more broadly-accessible topics like Food and Product Recommendations could indicate that Pinterest is heading toward a more mainstream and commercialized future.

  • Kath

    Well, the things that I pin are all about fashion, make-up, and DIY & Craft.

    I think you should see http://pinfaves.com/ to see what is the major categories that people usually pin.
    Or maybe, you can join http://pinfaves.com/ for submit your favorite pins!
    You can also vote up what’s good, and vote down the bad things. :)

    Try it!

  • Mitchel Winkels

    I’m curious about the “The top 10 most popular categories” list that is provided in the text. Can you tell me the date(s) this data represents? Is it an average of the “pinboard categories over time” chart that is below.

  • Jacques Bouchard

    Good stuff, this. I particularly appreciate the popular categories section — although I do wonder about the vagarity of the Inspriation/Education section. That seems like a major catch-all that could potentially include information, creative, and religious material. Could you break down the specifics for that a bit more?

  • Christoph

    You need to take into consideration that the sign-up process consists of creating boards, and the form is pre-populated with “Products I Love”, “Favorite Places & Spaces”, “Books Worth Reading”, “My Style”, and “For the Home”. Next to the form is another list with board ideas. Unless you manually clear the form, your account will start out with those boards and shape your behavior on the site.

    You should run the analysis again and exclude those defaults to find patterns in boards intentionally created. That would be really interesting.

  • Christine Barker – Scarlet Calliope

    I agree with Christoph. Information about the board categories is irrelevant since a significant number of users don’t change the names of the boards. And, further, “My Style” is different for each user. Perhaps for one user it means apparel and fashion but for another it could include pins of Ryan Gosling, thus reflecting their style of man.

    Also, there are many users in other countries using Pinterest and they are renaming their boards in languages other than English, but using the same categories. An analysis that includes information from the international users would be fantastic.

    Information that would be really useful is knowing how many times a user viewed a pin before they clicked through, and how many times they clicked through before they made a purchase.

    Pinterest provides us with a lot of opportunities to capture data and trend, but understanding it by using it will provide you with the best information for your data analysis.

  • Carolyn Sorensen

    I really don’t think that stats by Pinterest category are useful. The categories are vague & fuzzy. For example, I pin most often on nature photography (‘science and nature’) and high quality artisan jewelry. It’s not DIY and crafts, it’s not fashion, it’s ART really but who would know? Also, many boards include a real mix of categories, “cool stuff” for example. We can’t set categories by pin (and who would want to?). Categories would have to be set by pin to be useful. (of course it would also help if Pinterest would increase their categories, perhaps adding subcategories to help make the category definition clear.

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