I’m an experimenter. If there’s one thing I love, it’s doing case studies, and getting down and dirty with analytics.
I’ve been using Pinterest for quite a few years, now–I joined shortly after they started. When I first joined, I used Pinterest for my own personal use. I used it as a tool to save recipes I knew I was going to want to make in the future. As time went on, though, I began to use it more and more as a marketing tool for my blogs, pinning articles from here and recipes from my cooking blog.
During the month of April, I gathered a group of about 10 other bloggers and we participated in a 30-day Pinterest challenge. Every weekday during April, we were committed to spending 15 minutes a day dedicated to Pinterest. This included:
- Cleaning up and reordering/renaming our Pinterest boards
- Installing WordPress Pinterest plugins and making sure we had Pinterest analytics
- Creating new Pinterest boards
- Following new people
- Pinning from our own blogs and others
- Creating new pinnable graphics
As a guide, we used some of the exercises on Vincent Ng’s 31 Days to a Better Pinterest Page Challenge. I also used as a reference the chapter on Pinterest from How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup.
Here are my pinterest stats at the beginning of April:
- Number of followers: 630
- Amount of following: 400
- Boards: 42
- Pins: 1550
- For Cooking by Laptop, the amount of traffic to my blog from Pinterest (Google Analytics): 10% of all social traffic
- For RebeccaColeman.ca, the amount of traffic to my blog from Pinterest (Google Analytics): 9.5%
And here are my Pinterest stats for the beginning of May:
- Number of followers: 1,000
- Amount of following: 811
- Number of boards: 46
- Number of pins: 2,290
- For Cooking by Laptop, the amount of traffic to my blog from Pinterest (Google Analytics): 15%
- For RebeccaColeman.ca, the amount of traffic to my blog from Pinterest (Google Analytics): 11%
I grew my Pinterest following during the month of April by 60%. In addition, I increased the amount of traffic happening on my Pinterest profile dramatically. In March, I had 416 average daily impressions, and 249 average daily views. By the end of April, I had 1,893 average daily impressions, and 623 average daily views. Clearly, daily participation in Pinterest really helps to increase your profile there.
But the question we were really trying to answer was: can Pinterest dramatically increase your blog’s traffic? And for most of us that participated, the answer is no.
My traffic to my blog from Pinterest only increased by 5%. In the month of March, I received 59 clicks to my blog from Pinterest, which resulted in 52 visits to my site. In the month of April, I received 66 clicks, resulting in 62 visits. That is a minuscule increase, considering the amount of work I was putting in.
Most of the participants in the challenge had similar experiences:
I only got 8 clickthroughs to my blog in April, which is a lot more than previous months, but really low on the list for referral traffic. Pretty sure if I include all the time I put into reworking some pinnable photos, pinning, and organizing my boards, that works out to several hours per click.
It was useful to clean everything up and learn some strategies for Pinterest.
–Lisa Corriveau, spokesmama.com
I almost tripled my number of pins and followers. On Friday I was up to 897 followers. I checked my Google Analytics and during April I got 11 hits through Pinterest making it 2nd on the list, behind Facebook – which is good considering I did not generate much content this month. I am happy with the results.
–Fabiano Maciel, BizGlobeTrotter.com
I did not have a very high profile on Pintrest at the start and for me I found it a ton of time with very little return. I do not think it is a very good way to drive traffic to my blog. I noticed when I was pinning I really didn’t see any point in going to the blog. With the exception of a recipe I wanted to try or a pattern I wanted to do.
–Wendy Mould, ArtbyWendy.com
I have 32 new followers on Pinterest, and I had 78 clicks from Pinterest to my site in April. The month prior I had 22, so I think I did okay! It really helped to start adding old evergreen content and I will probably keep that up for a few months.
–Raj Thandi, PinkChaiLiving.com
The conclusion that we seem to come to is this: there are lots of people on Pinterest, pinning, looking, liking, re-pinning. That’s wonderful. But there are fewer who are actually clicking the links. It seems that people are on Pinterest to “save things for later,” but later either never or very seldom actually comes. So, while my Pinterest Profile growth was impressive over the course of the challenge, the thing that really matters to me–traffic to my blog–barely increased at all, so in our experience, Pinterest is not a way to dramatically increase traffic to your blog.
Of course, we’ve all heard of bloggers who have “viral pins” that pull a significant amount of traffic to their blogs, so I know that Pintrest has the ability to do this, but I (and the others who participated in the challenge with me) have yet to crack that code.
Still, I don’t consider the experiment to be a waste–I will post some other findings and things I learned later in the week.