In many aspects of retail technology Australia has been vastly known to always been lagging. However, according to a study by Experian, Australia is a mature market when it comes to social network usage such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Data reveals that Pinterest has grown its share of all website visits by almost 800 per cent over the past year, while Instagram’s share of all website traffic has more than tripled.

“Australians were early adopters of websites such as Instagram and Pinterest, which experienced rapid growth here last year and have continued to grow at a steady pace in 2012. As such, these sites are starting to mature in our market and it is clear these social networking sites are an important part of Australians’ time spent online,” Dave Audley, director of consulting and analytics, Experian Marketing Services, Australia said.

“Smart marketers are already seizing opportunities to incorporate niche social networks into their wider marketing strategy. Pinterest in particular offers a unique opportunity for retailers and brands to promote products in a compelling and organised way to a wide group of people across the world.
“Following Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram we expect to see further increases in the use of this network as the two become further integrated."

Other newer niche social networks in Australia have also gained momentum over the past twelve months. Reddit – a bulletin board style website that allows users to post content and vote a submission up or down to establish its ranking on the site – has increased its share of website traffic by 177 per cent in the period. Professional networking forum LinkedIn has also experienced an 85 per cent increase in its market share of all website traffic over the same period.

Bill Tancer, Experian head of global research, believes the growth of these social networks on a global scale relates to their ability to tap into, rather than cannibalise, existing popular social networks such as Facebook.
“The growth of both Instagram and Pinterest over the past year has been phenomenal.  The reason for their success is that they both identified a gap in the market and used the scale of Facebook to reach consumers.  Both networks are image based which people love – we all relate better to pictures than just words,” he said.
"Over the next 12 months, we expect to see a proliferation of niche social networks.  Offering deeper functionality combined with a lower technical barrier to entry will mean new leaders in social media being created in a matter of days versus weeks and months.”