On our site, Pinterest is our number one source of traffic -- and it's not even close. When Abby started blogging years ago I knew absolutely nothing about Pinterest. But as I studied her blog traffic and noticed that Pinterest was our largest referrer, I started to pay attention. I'm certainly no Pinterest expert, but understanding the platform and analytics is an important step in increasing the effectiveness of our Pinterest strategy.
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Before I walk you through Pinterest analytics and show you what I'm paying attention to in order to increase blog traffic, it's important to understand that Pinterest is more like a search engine than a social media platform. It's not about interacting with others but more about getting your stuff seen.
Unlike the other huge search engines (Google), Pinterest seems more complex. It's not just about showing up in search results. Sure, that's part of it, but there are so many other considerations like smart feeds, boards, re-pins, etc. To me, this complexity is an incredible opportunity. With Pinterest, you are not completely dependent on some algorithm. The Pinterest algorithm is certainly important, but your success on Pinterest is primarily determined by how other users interact with your content.
Lately, I've seen a lot of posts focused around the Pinterest algorithm and changes that have hurt traffic numbers for many bloggers. People try to predict and understand the algorithm changes in hopes of beating the system. Personally, I think this is the wrong focus. There's nothing you can do about the algorithm. Unlike Google which is nearly 100% algorithm based, Pinterest is not. Forget the algorithm and focus on how other users (real people!) are interacting with your content, and you'll set yourself up for Pinterest success and see less of the wild swings that the "algorithm chasers" see.
Accessing Pinterest Analytics
A business Pinterest account is required to view analytics. If you have a traditional Pinterest account, you can convert to the business version here. Don't worry, there's no cost associated with a Pinterest business account.
You'll also want to make sure your site is confirmed with Pinterest. You can do that here.
Now, when logged into your account, you should see an Analytics link in the menu bar.
Understanding Pinterest Analytics
In the analytics screen, there are three main sections listed across the top; "Your Pinterest Profile," "Your Audience," and "Activity." Let's look at each one.
1. Your Pinterest Profile
The "Your Pinterest Profile" section provides data on your pins in your account. This includes content from your own site that you've pinned to one of your boards as well as content from other sites that you've pinned to one of your boards. This section is further broken down into "Impressions," "Repins," "Clicks," and "All time."
For me, the repins and clicks are the most interesting. Clicks mean people are taking action immediately and visiting the source site, while repins are the long game. As pins are added to more and more boards, they become more and more discoverable which ultimately will translate into increased clicks.
In the "Your Pinterest Profile" section, I like to use a large date range and examine top pins as well as top boards.
What I immediately notice is that the top two pins in terms of impressions, clicks, repins, etc. are Abby's own pins. That's great news! In fact, they are pins for the same article about a student binder. I can click on the pin and examine it further.
At this point, it's important to ask myself why I think this pin is doing so well. What's different about this particular pin that we could potentially replicate in other pins?
When I click through to examine the pin I notice three things:
- The image is ridiculously tall. It's significantly taller than a standard featured image on a blog post.
- The pin includes multiple images. To make the pin tall, Abby used two original photographs. These pictures are bright and clear but nothing about them screams stock photography.
- The title is bright, clear, and colorful. Not only is the title easy to read, it also uses bright alternating colors. It'd be interesting to re-make this image and remove the serif font in favor of an all san-serif title. That would increase the readability even more.
I've learned some things that I can use moving forward. Nothing I learned is ground-breaking, but it further reinforces what I already know to be true and gives me confidence in our strategies.
I can continue to look at top performing individual pins on this page, including pins of other peoples' content that Abby has pinned to her account.
In this section, I can also look at what boards and group boards in my profile are performing the best. What I find interesting is that the best performing boards are all very general. I see "Bloggers Best Home Tips and Tricks" but I don't see "Home Office Organization" or other more specific boards. Take a look...
That's interesting to me. People interact the most with general-type boards. Maybe the strategy of dozens of ultra-specific boards is not the way to go. Maybe fewer boards in an account with a slightly broader appeal will increase interaction. Pinterest users have spoken, and these are their preferred boards!
Even when looking at Abby's non-group boards, the top two are "Home Tips" and the general "Just a Girl and Her Blog" board.
What I really like about the "Your Pinterest Profile" section is the ability to find hidden gems. You can easily find the best pins and boards on your profile, learn from them, and see if you can re-create the magic!
Also, it's easy to tell which pins in your account generate the most repins and clicks. Look around at your other boards and group boards and see if you can repin these yourselves. It's always beneficial to get your top pins out there in front of other pinners. Maybe this will bring a pin back to the top of someone's feed, and they'll notice it start pinning it to other places.
2. Your Audience
The "Your Audience" section of Pinterest analytics is the least interesting to me. I ignore much of this data, but there are a few gems I've been able to pull from this information.
The demographics available here are interesting but not immediately actionable in my opinion. It's fun to know that Abby has a significant contingent of Canadian followers and that 90% of her audience is female, but what are we going to do with that information? Not much.
My best advice would be to export this data and track trends over time. If Abby's audience is 90% female now, but only 80% female in 6 months, that would be something to take note of. Trends are important here.
I do find the "Interests" section to be helpful. Looking at the various interests of Abby's followers provides some helpful ideas.
Some of these interests do need to be taken with a grain of salt. For instance, "Recipes" and "Cooking Tips" both show up as top interests for Abby's followers. Does that mean Abby should start creating boards around recipes and cooking? Not really. Abby is not a food blogger, and I would guess that just about everyone on Pinterest saves recipes to some extent. Food blogs and Pinterest is a match made in heaven, so it comes as no surprise to see food and cooking interests here. I don't think it would benefit Abby much to try and compete in that unrelated space.
It's no surprise that "DIY Home Decor" and "Home Decor" show up as top interests. That's Abby's niche! I would sure hope her followers are interested in the same thing. The potentially actionable information from here is the "Furniture" interest. That's closely related to what Abby blogs about, but maybe there are opportunities to create additional boards and start pinning more furniture related content.
To get even more ideas, I can click on "Furniture" and see a feed of the type of furniture content that people are pinning and to what boards.
Honestly, not a whole lot in the "Your Audience" section came as a surprise, but understanding who is looking at Abby's profile adds to the overall big-picture and certainly will help with Pinterest marketing.
I love this section! The first "Profile" section is activity from your actual Pinterest account. The "Activity" section we'll talk about here is original pins from your own site. This data is one of the reasons why Pinterest Analytics requires a verified site.
In this section, you can get a more extensive look at the best pins for content on your blog. Like before, examine these pins and see if you can duplicate the magic.
Another strategy could be to look at the pins of your content with the most clicks. These are already winning articles, but the pins themselves could use improvement. Try creating new pins for these same articles and see if you can find that same magic but with a totally different Pinterest image.
It's helpful to look at the top Pinterest Boards with your pins and your content. Take a look below...
Again, it's fantastic to see that one of the top boards is Abby's own general board for her blog. In fact, the impressions are lower than some of the other top boards, but the click numbers are great. That means this board is generating a tremendous amount of traffic to the blog.
Another takeaway for me is the discrepancy between impressions and clicks when comparing "Blogger's Best Home Tips and Tricks" and "BEST BLOGS" boards. The first has significantly more impressions but significantly less clicks and repins. What do you value more? Clearly, it would be clicks (traffic now!) and repins (future traffic!). The "BEST BLOGS" board also has over a million pins. That's crazy!
What does all this tell me? Maybe a good strategy would be to increase auto pinning to the "BEST BLOGS" board. The impressions to click ratio is good, and that board is used to a tremendous number of pins.
In order to examine each of these sections in more detail, I click the "Export data" button. This way, instead of looking at the top 5 pins, I can examine the top 50 pins. The same holds true for examining top performing boards
Looking at "Original Pin" data is where you can tell if on-blog changes to encourage more pinning is paying off. Maybe you installed a new Pin It button or maybe you changed your site design. Here you can tell if those strategies are paying dividends in terms of pins directly from your blog.
A downward trend would spell trouble. Maybe not immediately, but eventually a lack or organic pinning directly from your site will hurt.
An upward trend would be an indication of future increased traffic. It seems to me that Pinterest would value original source pins. That's how everything gets on Pinterest in the first place, right? No one knows for sure, but it would make sense that Pinterest would place an increased value on these original pins over a repin. The strength of various pin will then affect its placement in the smart feed. (Note: this last paragraph is complete conjecture... but I think it makes sense!)
Use Pinterest Analytics to Increase Blog Traffic
So now we know what we're looking at and what to look for in the three Pinterest Analytics categories. I already provided some action steps in each section, but I want to boil everything down to some key takeaways. There's certainly some value in just understanding Pinterest Analytics, but it's more important to do something with this information.
1. Understand that the basics (not analytics) will continue to remain the most important driver for Pinterest traffic. The basics are: helpful blog content, intriguing titles, and eye-catching Pinterest images. If you focus on these three things, you are 90% of the way there.
2. Understand how other people organize your content. This was an eye opener for me. Everyone has their own unique method for organizing their boards, but what's even more important is to understand how other people organize your pins. Organizing your boards in a similar way may increase Pinterest activity from your profile.
3. Track key metrics over time. While writing this article I decided to export data from a few interesting categories on a monthly basis and keep everything in a Google spreadsheet. I consider this once-monthly task kind of an early warning system. So often I see people look at a decrease in Pinterest traffic and wonder what's happening. They panic and try every new tip and trick in the book, sometimes causing more harm than help. It's possible that the issue or change could've been detected early by keeping traffic of profile activity, on-site Pinterest activity, your group board effectiveness, and other measurable stats. Pinterest doesn't tell us about their algorithm, so the analytics are the next best thing for spotting a warning sign long before traffic plummets.
4. Consider promoting your best pins. I've experimented some with this, and the results have been interesting. I've spent some money that generated next to nothing in terms of clicks and repins. In other instances, I've spent a similar amount of money and gained hundreds of clicks and repins. My only recommendation with promoted pins (with my limited knowledge) is to promote the proven winners.
With a little effort and studying, you can take your Pinterest knowledge and ultimately your blog traffic to new levels. After spending more and more time in Pinterest Analytics, I'm more keenly aware of its limitations. But these limitations add to the simplicity. There's not a feeling of overwhelm using the tools, and that has helped me take action based on the insights I gather.
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