Since nearly all online users, 91%, are using social media to some extent, will marketers be able to roll out the kind of national branding campaigns on these sites that they’ve long been using for other formats? Possibly, say some analysts. But it’s also possible that marketers will begin using unique characteristics of audiences on specific social networking sites to reach a more targeted population.

Either way, with 15% of all online visits in December 2011 made to social networking sites, marketers know where they need to spend their ad money. Experian analysts say that while Facebook and Twitter still lead the pack, it’s Pinterest that will be of particular interest to retailers.

At over 10 million unique visitors each month, the site has grown its traffic exponentially since last  year. And the site has some staying power with an average visit time of 98 minutes.

Pinterest calls itself “an online pin board to organize and share things you love.” The Pinterest content also largely focuses on food, fashion and crafts. Some industry experts compare the browsing behavior in Pinterest to the “way people look through magazines.’

Women comprise nearly 60% of the audience and about 45% of the female visitors are between the ages of 25 and 44. Research also shows that visitors on Pinterest are more likely to be from the Midwest and Southeast. This is in contrast to other social networking sites which report a larger audience share from consumers in the Northeast.

With such a unique audience visiting this site so frequently, analyst believe that marketers may ‘wish to target their content to be ‘pinned’ by Pinterest users. Some brands aren’t wasting any time. Consumer magazines are already using the site and have allowed their readers to ‘pin’ items they like. General Electric is also getting referral traffic from its presence on Pinterest. According to an Ad Age article, Pinterest has a business model in place that allows it to earn revenue through affiliate programs. And the kind of traffic the site is generating means it might become one more platform that advertisers will be adding to their social media efforts.

[Sources: Delo, Cotton. Ad Age Digital A-List: Pinterest. 27 Feb. 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2012; the 2012 Digital Marketer. Experian.com. Web. 18 Apr. 2012]