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Learnings from My Pinterest Experiment

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of August 2012 Social Media 0 Comments

Over the last couple of days I’ve begun to play with Pinterest again. It’s been ages since I first set up an account but when I did I didn’t really really click with it. Interestingly, despite not being active on it, I seemed to gather followers til it got to 1000.

PinterestI also saw some decent traffic from Pinterest to our photographic tutorials on dPS. I guess our articles are just naturally pinnable, as we have a lot of images. Pinterest has been sending us around 40,000 visitors a month, which is nice, although not a massive amount in the scheme of overall traffic. In terms of social media traffic, it comes in behind Facebook, but ahead of StumbleUpon and Twitter.

An experimental strategy

Given than we’ve gained decent traffic from it, I decided to start playing with it this week to see what I could learn. My strategy has been very simple and very primative so far and has centred around a photography board on my personal account. There, I’m simply sharing the following:

  • photos that I love
  • tutorials from other sites that I think are good
  • a few of the better tutorials from dPS.

The links to dPS are in the minority, but over the last few days I must have pinned 20 or so items from the site. I’ve also done a little liking and commenting on a few other photography-related Pinterest boards—but not heaps!

Preliminary results

It hasn’t been long, but in the time I’ve been experimenting, I’ve seen some interesting results.

  1. Follower numbers are up around 450. I did link to it from my Facebook page and Twitter account, but most of that growth has just steadily come in (I’m guessing) mainly as people repin my images.
  2. I’m seeing decent repinning. The numbers aren’t huge, but already I’m seeing some nice traction on some of the pins I’ve put out there. Actually, I’m fascinated to see what is and isn’t getting repinned. Obviously its largely about the image, but  tips-related pins seems to be getting traction. I’ll continue to experiment to see what more I can glean about what’s working over time.
  3. I’ve noticed an increase in Pinterest traffic coming to the site, but given that I’ve only pinned a handful of dPS, stuff I wasn’t expecting much.

    Pinterest's traffic impact
    In fact, a couple of days after my experiment began, we had the biggest Pinterest day of traffic for dPS since May. While we were averaging about 1400 visitors a day over the last couple of weeks, but it increased to around 2100—not a massive boost, but encouraging. Follower numbers at he time of writing had also steadily grown to more than 1600 for that board.

  4. Reader engagement, as shown by the comments on some of my pins, was interesting. Followers were mainly asking questions. On one pin (on a set of images), a follower asked if I knew of any tips for a particular type of photography. I was able to link to a dPS tutorial on that topic in a reply to her comment.

I’m seeing quite a few opportunities here and have committed to take my Pinterest activity to the next level over the coming weeks. I’m not going to reveal what we have planned yet, but you can expect to see dPS on Pinterest in a more formal way in the near future (I’ll share what we do when that happens).

Update: now a week into this experiment I can compare traffic for the last week from Pinterest to the week before.

Learnings from My Pinterest Experiment

The blue line is this last week of referred traffic from Pinterest – the orange line is last week’s referred traffic from Pinterest. While it goes up and down from day to day (the last two days have been weekend traffic) you can see we’re up to 7 days of increased traffic on the previous week.

The increase is 38.94% on the previous week with Friday being up by 91% on the previous Friday.

While this isn’t a massive rise in terms of our overall traffic for the site the signs are positive. Even if we just sustain this increase for the next 12 months it is an extra 200,000 visitors to the site over the year (of course I hope we can ramp it up further with some further new strategies that will be implemented this coming week).

Straight to the source!

For those who don’t know, Pinterest has a Source page that shows you the most recent pins made to a site. For example, the dPS source page is at http://pinterest.com/source/digital-photography-school.com/

To find yours, just substitute the dPS URL for your blog’s URL in the link above. If you don’t have much pinning action on your blog, you might not have one yet, but quite a few of the small blogs I tried it on did.

On this page, you can see all the pins that people have made for articles on Digital Photography School. The page doesn’t seem to update minute by minute, but it is relatively up to date.

This, my friends, is what I consider gold information! There are many possibilities for how you can use this:

  1. Share this page with your community: I linked to this page a few months back on the dPS Facebook page with a call to action like, “See what’s hot on dPS right now.” I noticed a rise in traffic to dPS that day (and an increase in pinning action too).
  2. Research what type of posts are pinnable: Watch this page and you’ll quickly see what kind of articles readers find pinnable. Create more of them!
  3. Add Pin buttons to your hot posts: I’m currently getting a redesign of dPS done that will include Pinterest buttons on every page on the site. But while I’m waiting, I’ve manually added them to the pages on dPS that are getting the most pins—this page helps me to find them (so too does digging into your Google Analytics account). By adding this button to the right pages, you make the post more pinnable—so when people arrive from Pinterest they’re more likely to pin it themselves.
  4. Networking opportunities: Another benefit of this page is that you can see who’s pinning your stuff. What a perfect place to watch and thank those who are pinning your work with a quick comment. This is an opportunity to network with your readers, and not just any readers, but those who are evangelists for your blog!

Knowing what content on your site is being shared is great information. How are you using Pinterest to engage, and engage with, readers? Share with us in the comments.

Update: if you’d like a sneak peek at Phase 2.0 of the dPS Pinterest experiment take a look at our brand new dedicated dPS Pinterest account which I’ll write more about in the next week.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. wow, yes i have also experienced the same on my pinterest where i was really not so much active user to share or pin my interesting stuff.

  2. Thanks so much and stick with it No doubt you will definitely reach your goals! have a great time!

  3. Its crazy how many social medias we have to keep up with these days. I have only started playing around with Pinterest, but after reading this post i think i am going to give it some more effort. I never would have guessed it could drive so much traffic. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Great tips.

    I think the structure of your board and the description have a lot of importance in how to make your pins more visible.

    My client is an ecommerce website. For their Pinterest campaign, I tried to keep the different categories of their site even though some product images are not pin-sexy.

  5. One of the things we have done to try to capitalize on our Pinterest account is to pick a theme and post only things related to that theme. So for example we decided to only post infographics on search marketing as a result we increased the traffic to our site over 10%.

    Also thanks for these great tips. I am curious to see what impact some of these will have like the Pin buttons to our hot posts.

  6. Ya, Pinterest traffic is cool. I got a way for you to speed up your marketing tasks.

  7. Pinterest is my new BFF! I absolutely adore it for driving traffic to my blog. It seems to have just the right audience for my parenting advice articles. I now create pinnable pictures for my posts that have a list of tips or advice and they seem to get great traction. For example, two weeks ago I added a picture from an old post, with the title inserted into it, onto Pinterest. Two weeks later my traffic has increased 70%. Swoon!

  8. Kelly says: 08/30/2012 at 2:14 am

    Practical Ecommerce recently posted the results of Q2, 2012 online sales and in that report touted the correlation between Pinterest users and buying; a high correlation between Pinterest click throughs and conversions.

  9. Thanks for sharing those detailed data. This post encourages me to give pinterest a try.

  10. Yes, congratulations for this practical post. I will be preserving this post for future reference with the great lessons inside. I had always believed the best way to learn this topic is subscribing to those webinars and videos offered by professionals. Those videos proceed step by step into ways to help those considering the issue. Your blog post does the same thing. It is also a timesaver unlike all of the videos and webimars.

  11. Wow, after reading your “Nine Signs of an Effective Blog Post”, I can see that Mr. Rowse practices what he preaches. Although the title of this article does not draw me in with explosive descriptive commentary, it does allude that I will get some special knowledge over Pinterest from an experienced and professional blogger. Mr. Rowse’s concrete details and visual aides emerge right from the beginning with a picture of his personal Pinterest account and a personal account of his recent experiences with the platform. The post eventually expands into numbers of Pinterest followers and the benefits of pinning and repinning. “Learnings from My Pinterest Experiment also follows a logical chain of events that Mr. Rowse underwent while inspecting the platform.
    This post accurately and effectively demonstrates the usefulness of Pinterest for getting the word out or sharing interests. After reading this article I will probably start looking into Pinterest and possible creating an account. The potential benefits of pinning ideas and solutions, demonstrated by this post, far out way not pinning at all. Great post Mr. Rowse!

  12. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like
    to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  13. i tried pinterest but it is not working fine for me please suggest something to get the traffic from there.

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