Latin America is the region that engages the most on social networks, comScore reports. This is one of the key findings of its latest study, which also shows that Pinterest‘s local audience grew eightfold since the beginning of the year, to reach 1.3 million Latin Americans in April.

According to comScore Media Metrix service, more than 127 million Latin Americans ages 15 and older visited a social networking destination from a home or work computer in April 2012, an increase of 12% from the previous year, with the average visitor spending 7.5 hours on social networking sites during the month.

As comScore’s senior vice president for Latin America Alejandro Fosk points out, this means that retention is very high: ”Not only does nearly 100 percent of the Latin American Internet population visit social networking destinations each month, but they also spend a lot of time on the sites.”

A changing landscape

“While social networking isn’t a new phenomenon, we are still seeing strong market growth, changing dynamics among the leading players, and the emergence of new social sites that make it an especially interesting market to watch right now,” Fosk notes.

Once an undisputed leader in Brazil, Google’s first social network Orkut has now fallen far behind Facebook (see our previous post). The social network’s performance across the region is very impressive: according to comScore, Facebook now accounts for 1 in every 4 minutes spent online in Latin America. With 114.5 million visitors, its audience grew by 37% year-on-year.

However, this isn’t only about Facebook, for instance, Twitter had 27.4m Latin American visitors, while Tumblr’s audience doubled to 7.2m. More generally, it is interesting to see that many different social destinations are registering good results in the region:

comscore on latam 1 520x413 Pinterest grew eightfold in Latin America since the beginning of the yearAs usual, these numbers come with a big caveat, which is that comScore currently doesn’t measure Internet access from cyber cafés and mobile devices – a sizable portion of the Latin American market. Still, it provides an interesting picture of some recent trends, such as Pinterest’s growth.

Pinterest – beyond the million visitor milestone

According to Fosk, Pinterest may be a recent entrant, but it is definitely a name to follow in Latin America: ”Even though Pinterest currently reaches just 1% of the regional audience, its impressive growth since the beginning of the year suggests it could quickly become a key player in Latin America’s vibrant social scene.”

The site’s growth is certainly noteworthy; while it only had 153,000 Latin American visitors at the beginning of the year, it reached no less than 1.3 million visitors in April 2012 – yes, an eightfold increase in just four months.

Interestingly, this study is also a good example of the challenge Latin America represents for foreigners; rather than a block, we are talking about multiple countries with their own specificities. For instance, Puerto Rico is home to the most engaged Pinterest users, followed by Argentina – while Brazil’s size means that the country accounts for 27.8% of regional visitors to the site.

comscore on latam 2 520x374 Pinterest grew eightfold in Latin America since the beginning of the year

Still, Pinterest has one characteristic that holds true beyond frontiers: women account for the majority of its visitors, and an even greater share of content consumption. According to comScore, women accounted for 62.5% of page views from Latin America, and 65.2% of time spent on the site.

comscore on latam 3 520x346 Pinterest grew eightfold in Latin America since the beginning of the year

One thing is for sure, any major social network has to take Latin America into account  and chase its audience. Facebook already got it right, with Tumblr following its steps and recruiting local staff. Will Pinterest follow? Only time will tell, but it seems on track to become a key player.

Image credit: ShardsOfBlue