Raise your hand if you'd like more traffic from Pinterest? ✋

Raise your hand if you'd like more followers on Pinterest? ✋

Raise your hand if you've ever felt like you're randomly pinning stuff and hope it helps you with those two goals we mentioned above? ✋

You're not alone!

Pinterest marketing is an oft-discussed topic. Search Google and you'll find plenty of recommendations, best practices, and how-to guides for cracking the Pinterest code and bringing loads of traffic to your website.

However, from a true data standpoint, Pinterest is pretty locked down. Getting real numbers about how real people use the platform is pretty tough, if not impossible. The Pinterest API simply doesn't provide the data needed to make big conclusions about what works and what doesn't.

So how do you know what really works?

Introducing the Pinch of Yum Pinterest Marketing Case Study

We love providing real data and actionable tips for our customers.

Pinch of Yum started publishing income reports way back in 2011 as a way to share what they learned about earning an income from a food blog. Those income reports have helped thousands of people grow and monetize their blogs.

We wanted to do a similar thing for our readers with Pinterest, so we're starting the Pinch of Yum Pinterest Marketing Case Study. This case study will walk through everything we are doing to grow the Pinch of Yum Pinterest presence and will report on how those changes are impacting traffic to the site.

This case study is a collaboration between Pinch of Yum, WP Tasty, and Simple Pin Media.

Who is involved in the case study?

Simple Pin Media

Screenshot of the Simple Pin Media website

We've operated in close proximity to Simple Pin Media for a few years now – Kate, SPM's founder, is the Pinterest Expert on Food Blogger Pro. When it comes to really understanding the guts of Pinterest and making Pinterest marketing work, the Simple Pin Media team is the best place to go.

Pinch of Yum

Screenshot of the Pinch of Yum website

Pinch of Yum is a former sister brand of WP Tasty. In fact, Pinch of Yum is where it all started! Pinterest is the #2 traffic source for Pinch of Yum, right behind Google, so it already has a good base of Pinterest traffic. This will be helpful in seeing what tactics really make a difference outside of initial growth.

The Pinch of Yum Pinterest account has previously been managed in-house, but we're handing the reigns over to the Simple Pin Media team for a few months to see what kinds of changes they make and techniques they use.

WP Tasty

Screenshot of the WP Tasty website

That's us! We're the creators of a tool called Tasty Pins that helps Pinterest marketers do their job well. We want to learn how our customers can best use Tasty Pins and other Pinterest features to really grow their Pinterest accounts. And we want to share everything we learn with you!

What are we looking to learn?

Simply put: What really works with Pinterest marketing?

This question can be broken down into a few parts:

  • What are current Pinterest marketing best practices that actually make a difference?
  • What things can you do on your website that boost traffic from Pinterest?
  • How long does it take to get traction on Pinterest? How long does it take to see changes you make have an effect?
  • What's the ROI (return on investment) for Pinterest marketing? Is it worth it?
  • How can publishers best use Pinterest to further their business goals?

These are some heavy questions that are going to take a lot of research, testing, and analyzing. We're excited about everything we have to learn, and we can't wait to share our newfound knowledge.

Where are we starting?

When starting a case study, it's important to establish a baseline for the object of study so you can measure changes against that baseline. Fortunately, that's the first thing the Simple Pin Media team does when they take over an account.

Because web traffic can vary drastically depending on the time of year, it's important to look at a relatively long sample size when getting a baseline for Pinterest. The Simple Pin Media team gathered some stats for Pinch of Yum's Pinterest performance during 2018. You can get the spreadsheet here, or just check out the screenshot below:

What are Pinterest Sessions?

Pinterest Sessions are the number of sessions on the Pinch of Yum website that came from Pinterest. A session starts when someone on Pinterest clicks a link and lands on the Pinch of Yum website.

What are Pinterest Impressions?

Pinterest Impressions are the number of times any image that links back to Pinch of Yum was seen by users on Pinterest. The Simple Pin Media team doesn't put too much stock into impressions, but it does give us a little bit of interesting information, which we'll discuss in a moment.

What are Pinterest Saves?

Pinterest Saves are the number of times any image was saved from Pinch of Yum to a board on Pinterest, or any time an existing image on Pinterest that links to Pinch of Yum was repinned to another board on Pinterest.

What do these numbers mean?

While this information is going to mostly be useful as we compare the 2019 numbers and look for the effects of our Pinterest marketing changes, I also noticed some interesting things looking at these numbers alone.

For instance, in the month of September, Pinch of Yum Pinterest sessions went up 7%, but impressions and saves on the Pinterest platform itself were actually down 13% and 14%, respectively. This gives a couple useful nuggets:

  1. People do actually save images to their boards, then visit the sites at a later date to check out the content (recipe in this case)
  2. Traffic coming from Pinterest can have a delay after saving the image to Pinterest

#1 is interesting to me because I primarily use Pinterest when I'm looking for something specific in a specific moment in time. But with these numbers, it's obvious that not everyone uses Pinterest in the same way, and that it really is used for saving ideas for later.

#2 is also interesting, but not surprising. It's well-known that seeing a return on your Pinterest time investment can take up to 6 months, but seeing some hard data like this really helps drive the point home.

November 2018, on the other hand, was the opposite. Traffic from Pinterest was down, but impressions and saves were way up – another indication that people were stocking up ideas, potentially for the upcoming holidays.

These numbers are huge!

Yep, they are. Pinch of Yum is an established website with a fair amount of traffic. If your website is newer or not quite as established you may be experiencing some sticker shock.

Showing the actual numbers helps “validate” these results, so we'll continue doing so. However, it's best to pay attention to the changes we're seeing, not the raw numbers. We'll do our best to call attention to these changes throughout this series.

What's coming up next?

Because of the time it takes for changes on Pinterest to really trickle down to measurable traffic, we're planning on keeping this case study going for six months to one year. We'll post updates monthly on the progress and things we're learning.

We'll start off next month with the best practices the Simple Pin Media team recommends and how we're implementing them on the Pinch of Yum Pinterest account.

What questions do you have?

One of our goals with this experiment is try and get data around some common questions related to Pinterest, so respond in the comments with the following:

  1. Where does Pinterest land as a traffic source for your blog? #2? #4? #1?
  2. What questions do you have about Pinterest and what are the things you want us to test?

We're excited to learn with you!