Pinterest users’ time on site nearly matches YouTube

March 3, 2012

How long do users stay on a site?

How long someone stays on a site is a common measure that content sites use as validation of not only the quality of what they are offering but to determine that they have something to offer visitors that they actually like. As time on site increases for a site, it means users are staying longer and longer.

YouTube users stay on the site for an average of 16.4 minutes per visit, while Pinterest users stay for 15.8 minutes, Facebook users stay for 12.1 minutes and Twitter users a mere 3.3 seconds.

YouTube and Pinterest – opposites yet the same

It is no surprise that Pinterest users stay on the site for considerable amounts of time, but it is fascinating that the time on site almost matches YouTube’s. Given the nature of YouTube is for a user to sit still and stare at a screen, the fact that Pinterest is creeping up reveals the high level of interest the visual bookmarking site has, and validates reports that it is a major traffic driver.

Why is a site like YouTube that demands full attention on a single object (video) commanding as much time as a site that does the opposite in the form of commanding attention from rapid scrolling through hundreds of photos? The answer is simple – both appeal to a user’s inner attention-deficit-disorder slash shiny-object-syndrome.

Why Pinterest is popular with women

Although in the UK, more users are male than female, because 83 percent of American users are women, we are dealing with a stigma that Pinterest is for housewives with nothing better to do than share recipes – many equate Pinterest to a 1960s Tupperware party, and someone recently said to me that it is like “catnip for women.”

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The stigma is not going away, in fact, Pinterest is widely to blame for the stigma, but I insist that Pinterest is not popular with women because they have a rack, it’s popular because it has a high visual impact yet a low interactive commitment and while it can clearly be a time suck, it is absolutely appealing to the multi-tasker, A.D.D. person who is balancing a phone call, a panicking co-worker (or baby in some cases).

Pinterest users’ time on site will likely go up over time and could soon surpass YouTube which is good news for the growing network and potentially for whatever advertisers they bring on board, but they have not been public about their revenue plans. Remember, the site appeals to people because it is visual and soothes users’ inner A.D.D., independent of what’s in their pants, which is why it will grow, not because women are dumb chicks at a Tupperware party.

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Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


  1. Thanks Lani, for this helpful dissection of what is really going on. Of course, because it is popular with women, the social media ninjas have decided it is housewives with nothing better to do-which is a ridiculous concept in and of itself. Women who stay home to raise kids and take care of household tasks are far busier and have a much more difficult day than any working outside the home person I know. I have done both, so I am well qualified to make that statement. It is easier to dismiss because then thinking isn’t required. Thanks for providing that missing piece for those who choose another path. Your explanation makes total sense to me. I have not been bitten by the Pinterest bug, but the folks I know on there are not people with nothing better to do. They are smart and well respected in their fields and are greatly accomplished. Pinterest resonates for them. And some of them are doing some amazing stuff on there. More power to them…and screw those who belittle it.

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