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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. Darren, No Doubt Pinterest is rising at very fast speed and sending huge traffic to photography sites. One must know all the way how he/she can be more popular on Pinterest.

    Getting the pic repinned by various Niche people can be a good move which in turn can increase your subscribers list also.

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

    • Totally agree. Pinterest seems to be a very good source of traffic where images are the main content.

    • Yup this is totally true.
      Pinterest has increased it’s traffic due to its image quality. Most of the websites are trying to copy their idea but I don’t think that any body can beat Pinterest concept.
      I have tried Pinterest as well and I have seen a lot of traffic from Pinterest and It seems that you have to upload some attractive pictures so that people can follow you. :)

      Thank you


  2. Impressive numbers…
    Just for a “small” experiment
    I’m going to make also my pinterest experiment..

  3. Having ‘a name that everybody knows’ comes in handy too! So far Pinterest has brought some traffic to my site, but nothing really mentionable. I have been playing around on Pinterest too and like you stated, it’s really ‘picture driven’.
    I would think blogging photographers could get some decent additional traffic to their site using Pinterest.

    • It has definitely helped Jan – however I’ve chatted to a few bloggers this week who have relatively small blogs who have seen much bigger traffic to their blog from Pinterest.

      I actually think that this is a real opportunity for bloggers. The thing about Pinterest is that it’s not just about popularity – it’s about quality and using the tool smartly.

      • Darren, I have a fairly small blog (23,000 views a month) and I’ve been getting a nice boost in traffic from Pinterest. My posts that get the most traffic from Pinterest are the ones dealing with DIY projects and recipes. This is true even though my blog is also about personal finance and saving money. The PF types of posts don’t translate into traffic from Pinterest nearly as often.

        I find that I get more Pinterest followers when I post to “group boards” where quite a few pinners contribute. It’s also a good way to find more areas of interest.

    • With the initial launch strategy though he saw a lot of traction, fast, despite Darren not talking about it publicly. The name does, and will, help but it wasn´t necessary to get that initial strong response.

  4. I agree with you Mr. Darren I just love pinterest. It is really increase visitor in a new blog . And i think visitor is the main element of site. So I am just following you. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Hi,

    I’ve not been concentrating on traffic from Pinterest, so didn’t get much traffic from it.
    But, here are some tips that I think can help anyone to get Better traffic from Pinterest. Here they’re listed;
    1. Engage with other Pinners
    2. Thank those who repin your pins
    3. Follow others
    4. Pin what can drag others attention towards your pin (most powerful tip, must try it. Simple, do share inspiring, amazing photos to get some attention.

    That’s what I think, will be OK!!

    BTW, thanks for that tip to find out who pins your posts… BEST way! Thank You..

    Good Luck.

  6. We have several Pinterest related blog articles for SMB’s as we think this could be a good way for small businesses to generate large amounts of traffic to their websites. I agree though it is all about the quality of the picture.

  7. I have been using my Source page to like pins from people that pinned my site and leave an occasional comment or respond to their comments. It allows for some direct interactivity with fans. (although lately Pinterest has been limiting the number of items shown on the Source page).

  8. Hello Darren,

    I’ve also heard that Pinterest is being the great traffic source for many other business owners. In my opinion, designing, photography, arts, etc are some great topics that actually can hit Pinterest.

    I’m really impressed with the traffic you’ve got in for dPS. Really, 40K a month traffic just from it is something that turned my mind.

    You’ve already mentioned that dPS contains a lots of image contents which can attract pinners so they could re-pin and share it. But my question is, is it possible to get same amount of traffic (not to your level but some traffic that can make us say ‘wow’) for other type of blogs that have contents related to social media, blogging, SEO, etc (as they don’t usually have pictures in their posts)? Let’s take take ProBlogger itself as an example. How can you use Pinterest to get traffic for ProBlogger ? Or its just limited to those sites which have pictures in form of contents?

    Anyway Darren, thanks for informing us about your progress. This is really promosing.

    Anup Kayastha

    • Anup – I think it’s possible but harder to drive traffic to that kind of blog on Pinterest. One way would be through infographics and other visuals (charts, diagrams etc). I see a lot of blogging infographics being shared. Worth a try.

    • I actually manage the pinterest account for a marketing agency, and have a strong focus on social media/digital. http://pinterest.com/thevillage/ Traction is a lot slower then what is going on at the DPS account. People LOVE the social media infographics and trust me, there are a lot being shared. Especially around whatever platform is hot at the moment.

      This may not necessarily lead to a lot of traction on Pinterest but it is great as a client resource. If people email you asking for information, you can direct them to a board to show that you are up to speed on all of the trends. You can also link to the board on relevant blog posts. I find you need to integrate it with other types of social media to really help but it can be really beneficial.

  9. My most pinned images are either from my French travel posts or are craft how-to posts (tutorials). I try to make the first image in my tutorial posts representative of the project, with a text overlay, and these get pinned the most. It’s also better to use portrait oriented photos for this as they are larger than landscape shots (and thus have more impact on a Pinterest board). Big is beautiful!

    • great tips – have noticed the portrait oriented tips work best too – particularly really long ones that dominate more of a Pinterest page than other pics.

  10. I can definitely see why you’re getting some solid (and increasing) results with Pinterest and dPS since it’s something that people generally care about. I am not quite sure how I could implement this into an Internet marketing type business for traffic.

    There are some other tests floating around that have been getting solid results in IM, but I feel like I should focus more on a core strategy before running tests.

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    • see my comments above to Anup – definitely some possibilities but I think this Pinterest more useful to ‘normal’ niches that relate to everyday people than IM topics :-)

    • Most of the IM strategies are flawed, from what I´ve seen. You can have a strong business presence on pinterest but it has to be a solid resource first.

      You could curate all the resources on a certain subject, similar to what has been done on the DPS account. Make the board subject incredibly specific. Pinterest has cracked down on affiliate links so you should link to a piece of pillar content that contains an affiliate link. This may be effective :)

  11. I am really loving Pinterest. Every morning I try to repin, follow, and like about 20 or so pins, boards, and pinners. I have also seen a boost in traffic to number websites I manage. Not on the 40,000 a mont level yet, but it is still growing and I will keep on using Pinterest daily regardless.

  12. I am also using Pinterest but not getting profit in increasing of my traffic. So author can you please advice me some more tips.

  13. I think I am going to have to get on Pinterest! I wonder how well this would work in my niche, I’m in the guitar tuition niche and have started to use images more with all posts and guest posts.

  14. Love pinterest – and always happy to be there. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular site – visual interest, learning, and gorgeousness from around the world. It’s interesting to see your stats – bravo!

  15. Thanks for sharing your experience with Pinterest Darren and Pinterest is something that is perfect for dPS and it has been great source of traffic for many businesses. On top of that they have managed to monetize the social networking site using skimlinks where as FaceBook and Google+ are struggling to monetize.

    I think being on Pinterest is something every business should look for and your tips will be really handy.

  16. I’d suggest trying out http://www.bo.lt too…

    Similar to Pinterest but you Bolt web page itself instead of an image and it stays there forever even if post is taken down as Bolt stores bookmarks in Cloud. I use it to store Tutorials and good articles. It isn’t as big as Pinterest but it may grow into it and the audience seem to be early adopters now, more males probably..

    It’s better than Evernote and Pinterest in the sense of keeping bookmarks..


  17. Interesting stuff. Pinterest is a great for craft bloggers like me – its all about images! I’m often surprised at the difference it makes to add some words to a picture for pinning. Now I plan one picture in my post to be “the one I’ll pin”.

  18. Thanks Darren, have been inspired to update my boards:)

  19. I’ve just launched a new primary site and your article and approach caught my attention as to how I might use it with the new site. I’ve been using Pinterest occasionally for a few months now, slowly building followers, but I can see that this could really help drive some additional traffic to my site.

    Thanks for sharing your results. The numbers certainly show it’s worth checking out.

  20. Hi Darren,

    Yet to embrace Pinterest but super helpful breakdown here. Thanks!


  21. Repinning your own blogs and images are excellent ideas to get more pins in your board.

    But how did you go about repinning images and articles from other websites? (tutorials)

    Did you get permission? will this cause any copyright issues?

    Thanks Darren!

    • There is the potential for legal issues. There is with anything.

      With flickr, credit is automatically given to the photography. If you pin from a website, then the publisher usually has permission over that certain image. That is why there was a strong focus on tutorials for the DPS account. People can ask for images to be taken down if they own the copyright. This is one of the reasons I´ve focused on items already pinned.

      Now, I was the person behidn the DPS account. I mostly focused on items that had already been pinned. I would check out the pins under the photography section and see which ones had a description. I´d check out the board it was pinned to, which was normally called ´photo tips´. I liked all the pins that I thought was useful. I also would use the search board function to find interesting boards.

      Once I had enough ´likes´, I started categorizing them. I´d notice some of the same sites popping up again so would search for other images from that site. I find that by focusing on existing pins, you can get traction from people who noticed the content is being pinned.

  22. That’s a good experiment Darren! A week of experiment and 40% increase in traffic, wonder if this will work in design niches? Anybody had done this? What’s are the result?

    • It depends on what type of designs but I´ve noticed that it is a very strong niche. You just have to make sure that the product has strong photography.

      • Yes I agree that you have to opt for niche which have images as integral part. One of the niches where pinterest is working well for me is Recipe Niche where each recipe is coupled with at least one image.

  23. Some of the museums that I blog about have given me permission to you use my photos of their museums on my blog.

    What I am not sure of is if I can use these same photos on Pinterest without telling them specifically that I will put them there.

    I wonder how they will respond to putting these photos on Pinterest. Has anyone experienced resistance to putting these sorts of pictures on Pinterest?

  24. Now, that is some very interesting results. It kind of shows how Pinterest is one of the biggest social networks. But true, the niche is very open to Pinterest…
    Thanks for sharing :-)

  25. Darren – This is great information. I started getting active on Pinterest since yesterday though had an account for a while. So am looking forward to use it more often & your study would be helpful.

    Will share my stats soon, hopefully they would be great though not as good or high as yours!

  26. Absolutely fantastic tip about the source link! Incredibly helpful as you said for creating more ‘pinnable’ content. Sometimes I am so surprised about the recipes people gravitate towards, so this type of info is invaluable. Cheers Darren!

  27. Pinterest is one of the best places to drive traffic. I am also using and getting some good result but you are great. 40000 visitors in a month is really great. Thanks for sharing valuable article with us.

  28. Seems like the weekend gets the most traffic which is good to offset any fall in search engine traffic which is normally the case with a blog.

  29. I only recently signed up for Pinterest and am still learning the ropes. One of the things that I wondered about was if I upload a photograph of something on my blog, and then “pin” it, will that “pin” be counted as a backlink when google does the next update?

  30. Great post Darren, we’ve been using pinterest for quite some time now. Have u created a community board yet? We created one for places to visit before you die, it’s a really good way to leverage your reach to the masses and we’re getting emails everyday requesting to join the group, using this method has got us over 100,000 repins. Also check out pinreach to see your score, we currently have 56.

    • have not done a community board yet – but do hope to. How do you manage it all? Is there anyone moderating it to make sure there’s no spam?

      • Luckily we’ve not had a problem with spam, we try and pin only the highest quality travel images to that board mainly repinning from the photography section as these tend to be better and all the board members seem to keep the high standard. Plus as it’s invite only you can take them straight off. It’s frustrating that the category boards are getting so full with non relevant images, I wanted to create this community board so that us the users control what is being seen not an algorithm that can be spammed or influenced. I think a photography sharing board would work excellently for you.

  31. It’s safe to assume that Pinterest is growing into a great social network that can help bloggers score even more traffic — especially bloggers who have a niche with images and photos (photography is the perfect example).

    That can also be a lesson to other bloggers about the importance of photo(s) in your post. You want something that helps sum up your blog post, but also something that people want to pin.

    Thanks Darren!

  32. Thanks for this article – I have yet to get started on Pinterest, although I do have an account there. I have quite a few things pinned over there by others who are reading my website.

    I have found that most of them are recipes, growing vegetables and pictures of my homemade Greenhouse.

    I better get over there and learn more about Pinterest as it is bringing traffic to my site.

  33. So I just found this website last week and I find myself coming back to it every couple days.

    I’m a serial entrepreneur from hell :) and I’ve toyed with blogging in the past…just for my own sake if not for accidentally sharing some good business information.

    I’ve got serious entrepreneur ADD and I write about it (well, I’m starting to write again) at http://freshmoneymakingideas.blogspot.com/

    I’m going to start using the tips here to increase the traffic to my blog, but more than anything, my blog is for me…to help me sort out in my head all the businesses I’m starting, want to start, or haven’t started….yeah, it’s that bad.

    I’ve plugged ProBlogger in my latest post, so please check’er out.

    Take care everyone.


  34. These are some very nice findings. A while ago I was contemplating joining social media sites like Pinterest but I thought that nothing would ever come of it and so I never thought about doing it again until I saw your post. This proves that being active on social media sites can be useful for the success of your website. For a big website like yours it might not make a huge difference but for people who are just starting out, making a Pinterest account might just be the key to getting noticed. Thank you so much for this information.

  35. Darren, like you, I joined Pinterest several months ago and then I didn’t do much with it. I did add Pin It buttons to all my posts. Other people started pinning photos from my site. My blog is not quite a year old, so I really didn’t notice it doing anything. This last month Pinterest was the 2nd highest referring site to my blog. And I have noticed Pinterest showing up on Google searches of my keywords. So now I am updating my boards and making sure I throw in some good keywords in my board titles. Have you noticed Pinterest boards showing up in Google searches? I’ve also seen an increase in contests on Pinterest. To enter the contest, you have to follow and repin a board from the contest host’s site. Life Is Good ran a contest where people repinned 10 of their favorite Life is Good products to their boards in hopes of winning the 10 products. What a great promotion. Think of all the people who now have photos of these products on their Pinterest boards. I am really starting to see the value of Pinterest.

  36. Hi Darren,

    Wow! Didn’t know that we can find the sources of the Pinterest post of our site/blog so easily.

    Thanks for sharing this valuable tip.


  37. I’m still not clear on all the copyright issues of that site. I thought this article by a photographer/lawyer was interesting: http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/ I haven’t yet done anything with Pinterest. If these was a definitive guide on how to use it without any potential liability, that’d be welcomed.

  38. Pinterest has revolutionized some of the business like e-commerce business and many more but I don’t think the people indulged in service industry have a huge advantage of pinterest. I have also tried my hand on it for facility management services but how I can post so many images when I don’t have it?

  39. Nice info. Since pinterest basically involves pics i guess this method is not going to work unless attractive pics are used.

  40. We have a site that is heavy with photographs. Pinterest would seem to be a perfect fit, but I just have a hard time rapping my head around it. Thanks for the article. I’ll give it another try.

  41. I had no idea that Pinterest was such a great source of traffic. I guess you need a really image heavy site to get any benefit from it. That’s probably why I haven’t had much success with it.

  42. First of all, this post inspired me to sort of clean up and relaunch the Pinterest account for one of my sites (http://pinterest.com/NittanyLionsDen) and I’m already feeling like I actually have a plan for the network and how it will help draw in some new traffic. Thank you for that.

    Second, I have not tracked my results much over the last few months but I did notice that my sites were bringing in and reaching new visitors that I likely would not have been connecting with before. I noticed some spurts here and there, depending on what I was sharing.

  43. Unfortunately I had no results from Pinterest. i have been pinning fo a couple of days but really low traffic came in from them and no followers. I suppose it’s due to the industry my blog tackles.

  44. Darren – Excellent publishing. Thanks for the info. You know a long while back I created a Pinterest account but didn’t do much with it because of the terms and conditions they had dealing with Copyrights and I do a lot of photography. Amazingly enough a Lawyer who is a blogger and photographer helped change this. They have since revised their terms and conditions. I have you listed as one of my favorite blogs on the Bio page in my blog: http://www.paulbradleysmith.com. Thanks for publishing such excellent content. Seeing your blog has given me new interest in playing around with Pinterest again especially since they changed their T’s and C’s.

  45. I think Pinterest is great way to get not only traffic, but also email subscribers by offering a small prize like an E-book or anything else, pinning It’s image on Pinterest and linking back to our blog.

    I started using Pinterest but lost interest quickly because It works great with topics of photography, fashion, celebrity and recipes, not for internet marketing and blogging.

    I still use Pin my blog images there, but I don’t get much traffic from it.

  46. I think Pinterest is great way to get not only traffic, but also email subscribers by offering a small prize like an E-book or anything else, pinning It’s image on Pinterest and linking back to our blog.

    I started using Pinterest but lost interest quickly because It works great with topics of photography, fashion, celebrity and recipes, not for internet marketing and blogging.

    I still use Pin my blog images there, but I don’t get much traffic from it.

    Darren, Do you also use Pinterest to get traffic for ProBlogger? or just dPS?

  47. I actually just got started on Pinterest, so this helps a lot. Thanks Darren.

  48. I think Pinterest works for many industries, especially marketing, design, photography and the arts but not so great for other industries like medical, health, accounting, law and construction. Again not all social media platforms are good for each business so it’s up to us social media marketers and SEO experts to know what fits best.

  49. Impressive numbers…
    I was never really a “lover” of Pinterest, but after read this article I changed my mind and i’m going to make o my pinterest experiment… Excellent publishing.
    Thanks for open my eyes :) Daman

  50. Hi Darren, I love the idea about posting tips as images. That’s something that I can do is create an image of a quote or tip related to the article/blog post as an and then pin the image from the article. Yay, great idea


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