Why is my Pinterest traffic falling out of the sky?
A lot of people have seen dramatic changes to their Pinterest analytics due to the changes in the way the Pinterest platform works in 2020.
Even me! I was just about to hit a million monthly views, when my traffic started to drop. I had reached to 960,000 monthly views, and then, within a couple of weeks, it was 20% of that. The algorithm changed, quite dramatically!
So, if your Pinterest account has been giving you less and less traffic over the last few months, you are definitely not alone!
1. Pinterest algorithm changes announced February 2020
We were actually warned about forthcoming changes to how Pinterest works back in February 2020, but you, like most of us probably took it with a pinch of salt. They could not be SERIOUS right?
Yes, it turns out they were! Since most users have only started feeling the effects of the changes in the last couple of months, these drops in traffic along with repeated “glitches” in Tailwind have put many people off using Pinterest completely.
Esty and eBay sellers without a blog have had repeated problems with their accounts being marked as spam. Pinterest has penalized many accounts that have multiple pins that are connected to the same webpage that they pin every day, to more than 10 boards.
So, if you have had dramatic falls in your monthly impressions, contact Pinterest for an evaluation of your account directly.
Tailwind Glitches in 2020
Tailwind has also been reported as behaving in a “temperamental” way by many users. Many pins have been marked as having ZERO impressions, clicks and saves. This is partly because Pinterest no longer sorts pins chronologically over time.
However, as a partner to Pinterest, Tailwind is really just responding to the changes in Pinterest. If it is no longer proving useful for you – because the way they report pins has changed, then you may need to change your scheduler.
In this article I will cover how and why the changes to Pinterest have happened and how you need to adapt your Pinterest strategy in light of the changes.
2. How Has Pinterest Changed In 2020?
- Although Pinterest was favoured by many entrepreneurs, handmade sellers (Etsy, eBay), as well as big brands in the past because anyone could feature highly in keyword searches, it is now moving towards a more “Instagram” like model.
In plain speak, this means it is featuring more promoted pins, and favouring content that gets the most engagement, more than it was before.
- What are promoted pins?
Promoted pins are those that people have paid to have shown in the feed. Bad news for small sellers, who can’t afford advertising? Maybe, however promoting on Pinterest is still cheaper than Facebook and other social media platforms, although less targeted.
- What do you mean by engagement?
Engagement is the level at which your audience likes, comments and shares your pins. Your new pins are shown to your followers first, and their reaction determines how good Pinterest judges your content to be.
So, continuing to grow your followers is back on your “to do” list, whereas before this did not affect your monthly impressions.
- Pinterest is now favouring “fresh pins”
Fresh pins are pins that use images or video that haven’t been pinned to Pinterest in the past. There are different degree of freshness however, according to Alissa Meredith, of Tailwind.
The freshest pin is a
- brand new graphic
- WITH a brand-new URL,
- pin description. Less fresh is a new pin for the SAME URL. However just changing the background colours of an image, but keeping the same title and pin description is no longer counting as a “fresh” pin.
TOP TIP: If you think of your board as a blog, and each pin as a paragraph of that blog
Lucy Matthews, Pinterest Partnership Manager reiterated recently that Pinterest wants to improve the user experience. This means creating new images which inspire pinners, with clear titles – read more about what she has to say HERE
3. What Is The Reason Behind Pinterest Changes in 2020?
Pinterest has always been constantly updating how it works, like most other platforms. Its engineers are constantly updating its algorithm.
For a technical breakdown from Pinterest about why they have implemented these changes you can check out this article on Medium
One of the main reasons it may have decided to start prioritizing new content is that Google recently changed the way it works, and how it ranks pages in its search engine. Google penalized many Pinterest accounts because of “spam”.
In the past, every time one of your pins was ranked highly by Pinterest, Pinterest used to create a special “google” page which meant that your pin could be featured on Google searches. This is not happening any longer.
One of the results of this was that many Pinterest users woke up to find that all of a sudden, their Pins had zero rankings, as they had been “de-indexed”.
Get more details about how Google changes affected Pinterest here
- Pinterest is a publicly owned company and as it is increasingly viewed as THE Social Media “channel” shoppers visit when they want to buy something, it has clearly decided to focus on making more money.
In the past it marketed itself as the visual version of search engines like Google, and as such it needed to encourage its users to produce content.
Now it has heaps of content but is worried about its “customer experience”.
Pinterest wants to encourage Pinterest creators to create new images, rather than pinning the same images to 20+ boards. It also is prioritizing new was of sharing content like story pins and video pins.
For example, if you have created a new recipe for lemon cake, it wants you to think more creatively about creating pins for it. For example, your graphics could feature organic lemons, or all of the ingredients, feature the health benefits of lemons, for example, not just the finished product.
Just pinning a slice of cake, then changing the background colours without changing anything else is no longer going to be viewed as a different pin. (think stale not fresh).
4. What Do I Do Differently on Pinterest Now?
- Pin Less
Pinterest is now favouring quality over quantity. So, more pinning more is not the way forward anymore. Tailwind recommend pinning 15-25 pins in total a day. (Tailwind is still the official partner to Pinterest – I think, although rumours abound about its status in Europe ….)
- Pin the same pin to a maximum of 10 boards
Pinterest gathers information about your pin every time you pin it to a board. The boards MUST BE RELEVANT. This is also why you must pin it to the MOST RELEVANT BOARD first!
If the pin is pinned to too many boards, it almost makes the pin worthless, as it will not be assigned to any particular category, or key word.
- Use larger intervals between repining
The time you need to leave between repining the same new pin to different boards needs to be longer. How much longer depends on who you listen to – some recommend a minimum of 3 days between boards, others as much as 21.
5. How To Produce More Fresh Content – and feed the beast
If you using Pinterest to drive web traffic and improve sales, you may have guessed by know, if you are reading closely, you need to create fresher content to stay on top of Pinterest.
Some successful pinners are creating 20-25 new pins every week.
Clearly if you do not have enough content on your website, or only have one sellers page, this is going to be a challenge. So, do you really have to create 4-5 new blog posts every week?
If you have older blogs you can continue to promote them by creating new pins for those posts AS well as creating new pins for new content that you create every week.
- What if I don’t have a blog?
Maybe it’s time to start one? Or rethink your web traffic strategy?
Blogs are really cheap to set up, with prices as low as $4 a month – check out my article on affordable web hosts HERE. It doesn’t have to be blog – it could be a you-tube channel or podcast.
- How do I create more fresh content?
Changing the colours of your backgrounds and titles, as a quick way to make new pins is no longer enough. Just changing the pin title, with the same image is also not enough.
Instead of using the same template for all of your pins, when you sit down to do your pin creation, create several different templates you can use.
TOP TIP: Remember your pin titles also need to relate directly to your blog title and key words need to match. And don’t use the same pin description for every pin, use different keywords.
If you want to know how to make gorgeous, effective new pins check out my blog post HERE
In addition – your personal boards are now more important, than group boards. (Each of your boards has a unique URL so it can be shown differently on Pinterest and search engines like Google)
To avoid being penalized for spam, stop creating over 5 pins per URL (webpage) and pinning them all at the same time. Space out your pins going to the same URL over time. (You can do this manually inside Pinterest, use Tailwind or another social media scheduler).
When platform algorithms change, it does force people who rely on them to change their tactics. (Yep, it’s a bummer – remember what happened after the last Facebook change?!!)
You always have the option to try a different platform, or wake up and smell the coffee (sorry if that sounds harsh), and invest time and energy into building your email list. That way whatever happens to which ever platform you are using for your business, you will always have your own fan base that you can talk to, and sell to.