Notes from Tailwind webinar on how to find success on Pinterest in 2018
There have been a lot of changes to Pinterest over the past few months, such as the introduction of a separate ‘following’ tab, the addition of monthly unique viewers stats and prioritisation of the first five pins.
Pinterest is working hard to ensure that followers and pinners see the most relevant, quality content.
Whether you’re new to Pinterest or a seasoned Pinterest marketer, you can’t afford to miss my notes from this awesome webinar.
Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing, Sarah Hoople Shere, gave definitive answers to a mind-blowing number of your most commonly asked questions:
- The new guidelines say the first 5 Pins of the day are prioritized – what does this mean? When does the “day” start?
- Pinterest prioritizes “fresh content.” What is considered “fresh”?
- Why should you Pin to the most relevant board first?
- How many times should you Pin in a day?
- What’s the right ratio of your Pins to other people’s Pins?
- Should you delete underperforming Pins?
- Is Live Pinning better than using a scheduler?
- And waaaay more…
(Note: Below is mostly a direct transcribe from the standout parts of the webinar. I have adjusted and moved around some of the more conversational parts of the discussion to work better as an actionable read).
When to pin and the significance of ‘the first five’
Alisa Meredith, Tailwind (TW):
Does it matter when you pin on Pinterest (i.e. – what time of day/week?)?
Sarah Hoople Shere, Pinterest:
The time of day doesn’t matter, but do think about the first several pins that you’re saving each day.
A few weeks ago we launched the following tab. It’s a dedicated space within the app where you just distribute the content to your followers, like the old days of Pinterest. Now that we have the following tab, you might start to see your audience engage with your pins at a certain time of day.
Pinners now have three different ways of finding content:
- Following tab
- Smart feed
- Hashtag search
How many times a day should I pin?
There’s definitely no such thing as pinning too much. Pinterest does prefer consistency to volume though, as it’s better than hitting your followers with all of those pins at once.
Now that Pinterest has the following tab, in the event that someone they follow saves a whole bunch of pins at once, it may not be ideal as the pinner to see all of that content at once.
Focus on the first five or so pins that you save. The idea behind this ‘first five’ rule is that we show the first five pins from someone you follow, then move on to showing the first five from the next person you follow. It’s all about spreading out the content.
You said that it’s the first five a day. If I come on at 8am and pin 20 pins and someone who follows me comes on at 8.15, she’ll see my first five?
Yes, but if the other people she’s following are not sharing any fresh content, she will just continue to see the content you’ve shared.
What if my follower comes on line at 10.30am, is she going to see the first five pins I saved at 8am or the next pins I saved at a later time?
She will see the first five pins you saved first.
That’s great. It shows that you do not have to pin 100 pins a day to be seen. It’s about consistency over time.
Are the comments and photos left on a pin a factor in search?
We’ve made the comments universal across all instances.
For example if you have three of the same pins linking back to the same URL, rather than having the comments spread out, they’re now all linked. So you’ll see all the comments and images collated together. This is encouraging very rich conversations and tries.
What comes first – are the comments and photos on a pin helping us get found, or are the pins being found first?
It’s likely that the pins are being found through great SEO first, then through comments.
On that note, it’s worth talking about how content gets distributed.
When you save a new pin to Pinterest, we distribute it to your followers first. That’s kind of the testing bed. Then we see which of those pins are getting good engagement and we can then distribute by recommending pins into home feeds, surfacing the pins in search results and as related pins.
The best thing that you can do to get your content surfaced beyond your followers is to make sure that it’s engaging to your followers.
The second is to treat it with SEO best practices so that it will be identified as relevant to other pinners who may be interested in it.
Do backlinks to boards or pins matter in terms of SEO?
No. Rankings are based on the content of that pin and where it links out.
Where should we use keywords on our pins?
The most important place to add keywords is in your Pin descriptions. Really try to think about the pinner’s mindset when they’re looking for your type of content and make sure the keywords contain information of what’s in the pin itself, but also related themes.
Eg: ‘This grilled asparagus recipe is great for a quick week night dinner, but also special enough to be a dinner party side vegetable.’
(Includes thematic keywords such as weeknight dinner/ side vegetable/ dinner party.)
When you’re thinking about your descriptions, lace them with keywords that cover a range of thematic to specific items. What’s the specific pin about AND what are all the broad things that people might be searching for that I would want this pin to show up for.
Pinterest also takes into account keywords in the board titles and board descriptions as well as the pinner’s profile description. When you write your copy, make sure that you cover off on all of the ways that people might be looking for a board like this, a person like you etc.
Do the keywords in boards and profiles help individual pins?
They do. If you’re saving a pin to multiple boards, save it to the most relevant board first as that pin will get distribution first and will bring with it all the keyword data from that board.
Board descriptions are very important as they help with SEO for each related pin saved to that board.
Does the image file name matter?
No, but we recommend that the pin description matches any blog post title or keywords that are on your site as we’re investing a lot to make sure that pins match the content of the landing page you’re linking the pin to.
Is there data on how much the use of hashtags improves the reach of a pin?
We do allow creators to add up to 20 relevant hashtags to a given pin. Focus on thematic hashtags and you will be likely to see improved reach.
Should we go back and edit the keywords on underperforming pins?
No. Rather create a new pin with a new description linking to that same piece of content. Don’t delete the old pin. Save a fresh version of it with an up to date, better description.
Should I go back and add hashtags to older pins?
No, they’re a mechanism to distribution for new content – rather re-pin and add the right hashtags.
Here’s a Pinterest hack for how to find the best hashtags:
Use guided search
Let’s use grilled asparagus.
I would actually go and search for asparagus or asparagus recipes and along the top you will see search titles come up. Use relevant words from the guided search tabs in your pin description or add as hashtags.
Does it make a difference whether keywords are in the body copy of the description or added separately after?
Under performing pins
Should we delete under performing pins to increase our profile’s overall engagement rate?
No. We know that underperforming pins may not get as much distribution, but that won’t hurt the distribution of your other pins. That pin could always become popular in future.
The importance of fresh content, and what constitutes ‘fresh’
Why add content when it’s fresh?
We know that pinners love fresh content. Hashtag searches are ordered by recency. Now that we have the following tab, more than ever it really matters to save while it’s fresh.
What makes content fresh? Does it have to be a totally new image or could it be an old image re-pinned?
It doesn’t have to be a totally new image. Other categories count as fresh as well, such as a new pin from an older blog post or an old image re-pinned with fresh and more relevant descriptions.
The importance of relevant content
What if you have followers who signed up for your original content and now you’ve changed or evolved your blog’s purpose and are pinning different content?
It’s all about being authentic. Focus on the followers who are loyal to the content you’re saving today.
If you have totally changed your focus, it’s a better idea to start a new Pinterest feed from scratch and build a new audience.
Whether an image needs to appear on a landing page
Some people have heard that it’s important to make sure that your pin image is on the landing page you link to. What if I have multiple images on the landing page?
It doesn’t have to be the exact same image of what’s on your landing page, but it has to be relevant to the content on your landing page. It’s really about making sure that the description of the pin matches the content of the page it’s linking to. That exact image doesn’t need to appear on the landing page.
Whether using a scheduling app affects rankings
Is there a smart feed advantage to pinning live exclusively vs. using scheduling apps?
No, we don’t penalise pins being scheduled by third parties. You’re considered active if you’re saving content regularly.
To be eligible to be shown to pinners as a recommended creator to follow:
- Make sure you’re saving pins regularly (can be third party tool) – ideally link back to your own website
- Have a business account
- Make sure you’ve claimed your website
Advantages of having images re-pinned
Is there an advantage to you as the original pinner when someone repins your pin through Pinterest?
As the content creator, it’s best for you to be the first pinner of that content because we prioritise pins that were created by the owner of the website where it was created.
Is it better to have a pin re-pinned or for someone to pin an image directly from your website?
It’s just as good to have people re-pin an image you’ve already pinned to Pinterest or saving a pin from your website.
Pinning an image multiple times
Is it OK to pin the same image more than once?
Yes, but make sure each pin has a unique description.
Keep in mind the pinner’s experience – will it make sense to pinners to see the same pin again in the one board?
Looping for the sake of looping is not great. But there are examples where it’s appropriate to resurface a pin, such as on an annual holiday or time of year. There’s no SEO value to mindlessly repining the same image.
Ratio of own content to re-pinned content
Is there an ideal ratio of own content to re-pinning the content of others?
Start with your own content, then if you don’t have fresh content every day from your own content, fill in the gaps by repinning.
There’s no magic ratio of your own content vs. others.
The importance of followers on pin reach
How much do followers matter?
Followers represent a small proportion of the people you reach on Pinterest.
We announced our new business profile last week and you will see that we are showing the total number of people you’re reaching, not just your followers.
The vast majority of your distribution is still going to be happening beyond your followers.
Quality is more important than quantity – it’s better to have a highly engaged, smaller number of followers than an under engaged, larger number.
How to build a following:
We are doing a bunch of stuff to recommend you if you’re pinning great content.
You can focus on building your own authentic following by doing these things:
-Add follow button to your website/blog
-Make sure that your followers on other channels are on Pinterest too
-Encourage people to add photos or comments to the ‘tried it’ section on a pin
e.g.: ‘Here’s a great brownie recipe – try this out and leave a photo or comment on the pin so I can see how you’re going’ – this will encourage engagement.
Importance of the profile page
How much activity takes place on our profiles?
The majority of engagement still takes place on pins and off profiles. The new profile we announced last week is designed to be customisable.
If you have limited time and are trying to decide whether to spend more time on making your profile look great or spending time on SEO on your individual pins, spend the time on SEO.
Local businesses and Pinterest success
What can a local business do succeed on Pinterest?
We have over 200 million monthly active users on Pinterest, so no matter where you are you should be able to find your local audience.
The key is to focus on optimising your pins to help pinners in your local area.
Focus on hashtags and pin descriptions that include your geographic terms and include relevant geographic description in profile name or descriptions. Think about SEO strategy and apply that to geography.
Optimal image size
What is the optimal image size for a pin? We’ve seen a few different recommendations and some people are confused.
2:3 (600 x 900) is recommended – if you go much taller than that, you might see less distribution of your pins. Sometimes we won’t show a pin if it’s super long.
You can use squares or go smaller, but vertical tends to perform better because you’re getting more real estate. Lifestyle images, tasteful branding and limited but helpful text on an image are still suggested.
Product pins tend to be more successful if they are beautifully shot and have helpful text overlays or descriptions.
Avoid logo placement in corner of pin. The lens icon may cover your logo. Use top centre or bottom centre.
What’s happening with pin description visibility?
At this point pin descriptions are visible in the feed for almost all users. We have been running experiments to see how much description to show in feeds (2 lines of text vs. full description etc).
We do see better performance on longer descriptions; don’t try to optimise to fit within what is showing up in feeds as the amount of text shown in a feed may change as we conduct experiments.
Using Pinterest for store websites without blogs
How can an online storeowner use Pinterest effectively if they’re not blogging?
If you have lifestyle images on your store, prioritise that image from your product pages. If only product shots, focus on pin dimensions, add text overlays to tell people a story and optimise descriptions. Encourage people to click through to your store.
What’s being done to stamp out stolen pins?
Pinterest is aggressively investing in trying to stamp out stolen pins by assessing domain quality – is the content on a landing page helpful and is it related to what’s on the website?
Using group boards to grow following
Should I use group boards to grow following?
Don’t use boards as a hack to grow your following, focus more on other tactics. Boards are still of value in terms of driving clicks to an individual piece of content.
New stats: monthly viewers vs. monthly engaged
What’s the difference between monthly viewers and monthly engaged?
‘Viewers’/ ‘Monthly reach’ accounts for all of the people that see your pin.
‘Engaged’ represents anyone who does something with your pin including viewing a close-up, saving, clicking to website – it’s the sum of all unique people who take one of these kinds of actions.
Would you like to watch the webinar?
Here’s it is:
If you’d like to find out more about how to succeed on Pinterest, head to the Pinterest page on ‘best practices for Pinterest success’.
I hope you found my notes useful. Leave a comment and let me know which points were most relevant to you!