The State of Pinterest: What Content Marketers Need to Know Now

Image of Pinterest Logo

The buzz about Pinterest seems to have calmed down a bit in the last few months, but it’s still a very powerful tool for content marketers.

According to a study by the social media analytics firm Simply Measured, 69 of the world’s top 100 brands now have Pinterest accounts, and Pinterest is still driving more traffic to websites and blogs than Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or YouTube.

For right now, Pinterest doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and the stats for marketers are still very encouraging. One in five Pinterest users have purchased something they’ve seen on the site, and when they do buy, they spend around $80 per purchase — twice that of Facebook buyers.

And now, Pinterest is shaking things up — there have been some very interesting changes to the service in the last few months.

Let’s take a look at some of these recent additions and modifications, and what they mean for content marketers.

Pinterest launches new tools for businesses

Pinterest has added new business accounts for brands who want to use pinning to market their companies. You can convert your current personal account to a business one, or you can start a brand new account as a business.

It’s easy to convert your account – just go to Pinterest’s new business center and click on “Convert My Account.” Or to create a new business account, click on “New to Pinterest? Join as a business.”

As a business account, your profile won’t look different than a regular Pinterest profile, and your boards and pins will still look the same.

Pinterest gives business account owners some new buttons, badges and widgets for their websites and blogs, as well as giving them access to some visual marketing best practices and case studies.

If you’re thinking about starting a business account, make sure to read over the new business Terms of Service before you commit — they are different than the regular Pinterest TOS.

What this means for content marketers …

While there isn’t a huge motivation to switch to a business account right now — it doesn’t really get you anything particularly earth-shattering — I do anticipate Pinterest releasing more tools for brands and business owners in the near future. I’m encouraging bloggers and business owners to go ahead and get (or switch to) a Pinterest business account.

Pinterest gets a new look

Pinterest is in the process of rolling out a brand new interface for users, and you can switch to the new look whenever you’re ready to dive in. But a word of warning — once you switch to the new look, it’s a permanent change — you can’t switch back to the old one.

Rumor has it the new interface is a little buggy (I’ve heard reports of problems pinning to boards after users make the switch), so consider this carefully before committing.

If you want to change to the new look, just hover your cursor over your name (or business name) in the upper left corner on any Pinterest window. Then scroll down to “Switch to the New Look.”

Pinterest will ask you to confirm your choice – click on “Get It Now” to confirm.



The new look gets you several new things:

  1. Larger pins.Once you make the switch, you’ll see that all of your pins are visibly larger. The bigger images are featured on your Pinterest home page, and when you click on a pin to enlarge it. Each enlarged pin is now 735 pixels wide (up from 600 in the previous version). Pinterest made this change to give you a cleaner, easier-to-view interface, but I’ve see some users complaining that the images are now TOO large — especially if you’re viewing Pinterest on a small laptop screen.
  2. Better discovery. When you click on the pin to enlarge it, you’ll see lots of new things, including related content in the area to the right of the original pin. You’ll see things like:
    • Pins from the same board — images grouped on the same board, by this user
    • Pins from the same source — stuff pinned from the same website)
    • Also pinned — images pinned by the same users who pinned this image)

    With these new discovery features, Pinterest is helping you find content that’s similar to the pin you’re currently viewing. Some users love this feature, and say it helps them discover new content on Pinterest they wouldn’t have found otherwise — other users say it clutters up their user experience.

  3. No more “repin” button. In the old Pinterest interface, a “repin” button appeared in the upper left corner of each pin when you hovered over it. Pinterest has now replaced the “Repin” button with one that just says “Pin It.”
  4. Settings are separated. Now you need to edit your Pinterest settings in two different places — account settings (like email notifications) are still in the upper right corner dropdown menu, and profile settings like your website and photo are in a separate place. To edit your profile settings, just click on the pencil icon in the lower left corner of your profile.



What this means for content marketers …

The new look is getting mixed reviews. I’ve seen reports of some minor and major bugs (everything from interface weirdness to not being able to pin to all of your boards) and unfortunately, the Pinterest help desk isn’t super responsive — so may not be able to get immediate answers if you have problems.

Pinterest’s new look makes discovery easier for users — this means the images you pin need to be compelling and interesting, so they’ll stand out and entice people to click on them.

Make sure to embed interesting and compelling photos and badges in your blog posts, so your readers will pin them to Pinterest (and you’ll get more traffic back to your site).

It’s also really important for you to pin original content to Pinterest (not just repin other people’s pins). Statistics say that up to 80% of content on Pinterest is just repinned from other Pinterest users — which means that when you pin interesting content from outside sources, it will really stand out and help you get followers.

Website verification and Pinterest analytics

You can now verify ownership of your website within your Pinterest account. When your website is verified, other Pinterest users see a checkmark next to your domain in your Pinterest profile.

Yes, verifying your website is a good thing to do — but it’s not absolutely critical (unless you are Oprah or Matt Damon). But verifying your website allows you access to other important Pinterest features, so it’s a good idea to do it.

If you have an HTML website, follow these directions from Pinterest to verify your site. If you have a WordPress website, use this plugin to add metadata to your site and verify it.

Don’t get tripped up with this plugin — you only need to enter a small part of the tag Pinterest gives you (the alphanumeric string in the content attribute).



Once you’ve verified your site and switched to the new look, you get access to a really great new Pinterest feature — their new Analytics module. Just scroll over your business name on the top right corner of any Pinterest screen, and select “Analytics” in the drop down menu.

This will take you to the analytics data page. From this screen, you’ll be able to view (and download) these stats:

  • The number of pins and pinners from your website
  • The number of repins and repinners from within Pinterest
  • The number of website visitors that were sent from Pinterest
  • Recent images that have been pinned from your site
  • The most repinned and the most-clicked pins
  • The total number of times your pins have appeared on the site and the number of times they were seen (impressions)

For a great video tutorial that teaches you more about using the new Analytics tool, check out the Pinterest Web Analytics page.

What this means for content marketers …

With the new Pinterest analytics tool, we can quickly and easily see data on our Pinterest activity, and we can tell if what we’re pinning is making a difference in traffic to our websites.

You’ll can tell what pins are doing well on Pinterest (and what’s not doing well). You’ll be able to tell what type of content gets the most repins, and be able to figure out the best time of day for you to pin.

It’s easier than ever to test different things on Pinterest and then measure whether or not they’re successful — so this Analytics module is definitely worth getting!

Pinterest is still a great tool for marketers

Last year, we published a post featuring a long list of ways to use Pinterest to market your business. You can still use all of those methods, and now with the newest changes to the Pinterest platform, you have improved ways of tracking your progress and charting your strategy.

Content curation is still the name of the game with Pinterest. People who do well on Pinterest (and develop a huge following) are good curators, which means they select the best content in their field, and share it on well-organized, attractive boards.

Pinterest can be an amazing source of traffic and engagement for bloggers and content creators. So take this visual marketing tool out for a spin, and track your progress to see how it works for you.

Want to know how to use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your site? Join me for my upcoming webinar, 10 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Website by Leveraging the Power of Pinterest on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at 1 PM Eastern time.

About the Author: Beth Hayden is an author, speaker, and social media expert who specializes in Pinterest marketing. To get more traffic-building tips, download your free copy of Beth’s e-book, The Definitive Guide to Driving Traffic to Your Website or Blog with Pinterest.

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  1. I feel like any visual driven brand/product/company (food, art, fashion, design, etc) should at least give Pinterest a try simply because their brand lends itself to the Pinterest format. But even more “boring” brands can find ways to make their content more visually compelling and capture people’s attention on Pinterest.

    • That’s right! Plenty of opportunities on Pinterest for the more ‘boring’ business segments as you say. Spice it up with an interesting infographic or pin great content such as your podcasts with an interesting image…

  2. Hi Nick – I agree! It’s not just for visual brands. I’ve seen what you would think of as “boring” B2B companies do really well on Pinterest. I encourage people to think of it was a bookmarking service that happens to be visual, so people can share anything of interest to their target market (whether or not it happens to include a picture of Ryan Gosling or a sunset).

  3. Great stuff! My problem is that I only have 24 hours in the day! Besides work, you have your blog, facebook, twitter, linkedin, stumbleupon, tumbler….. Thanks CopyBlogger for providing instruction manuals! So much information in our new digital world!

  4. I’ve been thinking about setting up a Pinterest profile for awhile. I’m working with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ at the moment to spread my comment but this does look promising.

    I shall be scouring Copyblogger for articles on Pinterest now lol. Thanks for this Beth!

    • Hi Tina – I highly recommend you look at your analytics, test everything, and find out what social networking platforms are bringing you the most traffic and the most sales. If everything is bringing you tons of traffic, great! If not, you can modify your efforts based on your data. Good luck!

  5. I see what Nick is talking about and I have often wondered the same thing. We are a consulting firm that makes software for small cities and I have been hesitant to use Pinterest. I watch as my wife and children and all of their friends talk about it. Even a few friends of mine have been telling me lately that I need to check it out. It is hard for me to see how I could leverage that into more business. I clearly need to take a look. Thanks for sharing.

    • Randy, I share your pain about taking a technical product – like selling software to cities and making it visually appealing. But, you might want to look at infographics. The infographics can take a step by step process and transform it into a diagram with visual appeal. Just some food for thought.

  6. I love Pinterest, but it’s a hot bed of copyright infringement. I just segued into the fashion/style segment of the blog world and I’m blown away by the bloggers who make collages with images they’ve basically stolen. The only attribute on the images in the collage is “Pinterest.” No direct links, no permissions, nada. They’re setting themselves up for potentially large bills from Getty Images. For DIY designers, it’s also a huge source of frustrating finding your designs and projects pinned and repinned without attribution.

    I don’t think Pinterest will have the long tail, it’s fun, but it’s not terribly interactive. It’s basically image hoarding. I am feeling the love for Polyvore these days. Users there get to show a little creativity. Plus, it’s monetized and images are linked directly to their sources, which is a bonus for affiliate marketers.

    Cheers,
    Madge

    • I agree, Madge – they have some major copyright issues. And I absolutely think that bloggers who are stealing images to use on their sites (from Pinterest, or from anywhere else) are in the wrong. But Pinterest is an interesting situation…for every artist or photographer who is (rightfully) upset about copyright infringement, there is another artist who wholeheartedly supports Pinterest and loves what Pinterest is doing for their businesses. Case in point: Trey Ratcliff, a photographer who wrote a fascinating post called Why Photographer Should Stop Complaining About Copyright and Embrace Pinterest.
      I always check my pins on Pinterest, and make sure my posts link back to a reputable source. I encourage all my clients to do the same. And if people aren’t comfortable with using other people’s images on Pinterest, they can either: A) Not use Pinterest, or B) Use only their own images, or images they have permission to use.

      It’s a complicated situation for users, for Pinterest, and for the artists whose work is being showcased on the site.

  7. Great post on a really interesting social networking site.

    While I agree that it shouldn’t be limited to just B2C companies, we’ve had some interesting results when managing our own and that of a B2C client. For our client, a company in the wedding industry, we found that Pinterest is their biggest traffic referrer and the bounce rate is extremely low. They have even had a number of sales through the site.

    For our own B2B business, we have had some levels of success but not to that level. Maybe now with added analytics we’ll be able to see the best kind of content to post.

    I’ve blogged about this myself here if you’re interested on my take on Pinterest for Business: http://www.superdream.co.uk/pinterest-for-business-guide/

    • Thanks, Clare. Your client who is in the wedding industry is lucky – wedding folks are doing exceptionally well on Pinterest. It might be tough to get your other clients up to that level of Pinterest success (because the bar is high for that industry). Best of luck with your efforts! :)

  8. Great summary post, Beth.

    I switched to the new look when it first popped up on my screen as a suggestion (maybe a couple weeks ago). I’ve enjoyed using it. The larger images were a little mind-boggling at first, but I’ve grown to like them. The only potential bug I’ve experienced is a loss of the load more feature. It doesn’t take very long for me to get to the bottom of the main categories, and I no longer have a load more button. Maybe that’s not an oversight, but it was handy to have.

    Margot has a point about copyright infringement, but with or without Pinterest, that would happen. A lot of people attribute their images to Google because that’s where they found it. I think the best way to protect oneself is to watermark all of your original images.

    • I agree that it’s going to happen, Brittany – but i still want to do everything I can to encourage people to do the right thing, and remember that there are actual people (artists and photographers) behind those images, and to be respectful. And I totally agree that watermarking your images is the way to go!

      I’m also really glad you haven’t had any problems with the new Pinterest look! Thanks for your comment here.

  9. I’ve been using Pinterest since the “invitation” days and I love it. I’m a very visual person anyway, and my blog reflects that, so for me it’s a natural. I’m also a published author so I created a board for each of my books and another to support fellow Indie authors. If there’s anything that is a hot button for me it’s how some people will post only occasionally and then post 20 images all at the same time!

    As far as the copyright issue – yes it’s pretty obvious that most people ignore it – but I can’t control anyone other than myself and I’m not going to let that prevent me from taking advantage of this platform – so I have my own set of standards. If I happen to pin an image from another site I always leave the link to that site and give full credit and I would never dream of pinning a work of art or any other creative work. I’d like to say others do the same for me, but as I’ve begun tracking images pinned from my blog I see that’s not always the case – irritating, especially if it’s an image I’ve personally created, but I won’t lose any sleep over it. I’m sure there’s some sort of software or plugin that would prevent pinning, but so far I haven’t felt the need to explore that option.

  10. Hi Beth,
    I’ve been working with Pinterest but I’m hitting a wall. How do you get a “conversation” going or interact? And most importantly, where does this fit in a business model?

    For example, I thought it might be nice to thank people who repin my pins. Then I found out that there is no private message system. Is there anyway to “converse”?

    And if I get people to repin the pins to my posts, is the only value that I get traffic to my site? How do I put a call to action? I don’t see any pins with calls to action so it seems to be against the Pinterest culture. Just having images of things to buy with prices seems like it wouldn’t be an effective way to market.

    Now that I have a few boards going, I’m trying to figure out how this works in my business.

    Thank you. I appreciate your help.

    • Hi Julia – the only way to interact with other pinners is by commenting on their pins. So that’s the way to go if you want to thank people, start conversations, etc..

      As for calls to action, you can put them into photo badges on Pinterest. You can create a cool badge that says, “Sign Up for My Upcoming Webinar!” with a compelling image, then put the link to sign up for the webinar in the description of the pin. I’ve seen that work very well. And yes, the primary benefit is probably traffic to your site, but it’s also that you can build a loyal community on Pinterest who follow you because they like what you’re pinning. I have a board that’s filled with lots of different resources about Pinterest marketing, and people follow that board (and sign up for my list) because of the good stuff that I post there.

      The key (just like with any content marketing technique) is consistently publishing great content AND driving traffic back to your site.

      • Great Ideas, Beth. I like the idea of badges. But the first thought in my mind is that I need to make friends with a graphic artist.

        I’ll keep experimenting. My blog got a lot of traffic from Pinterest, even before I had an account there. I just have to figure out what to do with it and it may work well for my site.

  11. Hey Beth, Great post! Interesting stuff and thanks for linking to our study. I’m actually curious where you found that Pinterest is still driving more traffic to websites and blogs than Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or YouTube? That’s a really interesting statistic that I hadn’t heard before and would love the context.

  12. Great article, thanks. I already have a business account with a verified URL and there is no Analytics tab in the dropdown menu. So, it looks like the analytics tool is only available once you switch to the new look. Is that correct?

    • That is correct, Jonathan – unfortunately, you must verify your website AND switch over to the new look in order to get access to the Pinterest analytics module.

  13. I am one of those who like the old look of Pinterest. It was much more comfortable then it is now :-( Still it is very effective instrument for promotion of my travel-photo blog.

  14. I created a Pinterest account but haven’t done much with it. Like Tina, I’ve been focusing on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (need to pay more attention to this one), and LinkedIn.

    One thing that concerns me about Pinterest is re-pinning photos that may be in violation of copyright unbeknownst to me. I’ve heard and read many stories about people who’ve re-pinned posts who found themselves in ‘hot water’ with Pinterest because of this. They were just re-pinning information that was already uploaded onto Pinterest. This makes me apprehensive and nervous about re-pinning.

    Since Pinterest is an image driven social media platform, it could be useful for my children’s picture book series and middle grade book since

  15. This is mostly great information but some of it is inaccurate. I’ve still been unsuccessful installing the verification information using provided instructions. Also, converting a regular pinterest account to a business one is missing some steps.

  16. Thanks Beth! As soon as I started reading this post I went to into my Pinterest account and started implementing the ideas that you shared. I’ve already verified my site and I even decided to get more serious and add some boards to profile, plus a pin a few things, so that I’d feel more acquainted with the service. Again, thank you :)

  17. I’d thought that Pinterest was losing momentum as I hear little about it these days. This is the first post I’ve seen in awhile about the network. I have an account but rarely use it. Maybe I should rethink.

  18. It’s been difficult to know if Pinterest was providing any value. I’m excited to update my account and see the new analytics. With out measurements it’s been difficult to really devote time to my account.

  19. Enjoyed this article Beth. I finally set up a Pinterest account for my business and I’ll be curious to see how it works. If nothing else, it’s fun to try and keep up with everything :) Thank you for sharing the insights – it helped me validate the reason I decided to give it a go.

  20. I was thinking to create a business account on Pinterest but couldn’t get a time. After reading your post, I will certainly do it. Thanks Beth!

  21. I’m going to stick my oar in here I’m afraid – studying the new Pinterest analytics page, what it reveals to me is that Pinterest is useless for driving traffic to my site.

    I pin photographs from my new articles religiously, they’re regularly repinned and I have great ‘reach’ (i.e. the number of times my images pop up on someone’s Pinterest.com homeage) but in the last two weeks exactly two (2) people have come to my site via the images I’ve pinned on Pinterest. I understand that highly visual brands are using it very effectively, but I’d argue that for the rest of us its a bit of a waste of time…

  22. Pete – it’s a bummer that you haven’t had more traffic from it, but I think it would be unfair to say that anyone who doesn’t have a highly visual brand will have the same experience. What I find is that it varies widely from company to company. It also really depends on what you’re pinning, when you’re pinning it, and a number of other factors. If it’s not working for you – no problem! Just shift gears and focus on a different social network. But other companies might do very well with it.

  23. It is interesting how all the social networks “metamorphose.” Pintrest started out as a”pinning board” for people to share interesting pictures they found on the web, now it has metamorphosed into a business platfprm

  24. I love Pinterest and have recently started using it more for my blog, but since I have zero html understanding, maybe next you can you write a verification for dummies post? I don’t really get where/how this verification html code is supposed to go in Blogger. Thanks for the post!

  25. Sara – I don’t think you can verify a Blogger site, unfortunately, since I don’t know of a way that you can upload a file to a hosted blog service like that. I could be wrong, but I think you’re going to have a tough time. Perhaps a good reason to switch to self-hosted WordPress for your blog?

  26. Good read Beth, thanks. I agree, Pinterest has staying power and should be looked at. My business is new and I absolutely see us taking full advantage, but it’s all about creating content that people can use.

  27. Hi, Beth,

    All very interesting, and thanks for the research.

    I have to comment on copyright. Pinterest is a total scavenging thief, and like all the social sites, including Facebook, does nothing to enforce copyright and the rights of artists/imagemakers, except take down. After you spend 10 minutes or more proving that something stolen belongs to you. For some reason, the artist always gets the short end of the stick.

    I’m a cartoonist, and no cartoonist would publish entire cartoons on it, because who would click through? The link you have above by the photographer is silly. He goes on about how much traffic he gets from Pinterest, and the fact one of his photos was seen by 3 million+, but forgets to note how much money he made from it…:) That’s not business, that’s an ego boost.

    He says they get 15% of their traffic from Pinterest. That’s incredibly low — and of course it’s because he has already SHOWN the photo – he has nothing more to offer the audience.

    There is a plus I see in in your article: a badge with a promise of info with an image, or just showing a thumbnail of it, might get some click throughs. This would be much easier for someone with graphic design experience, of course, as the commenter above said. Has anyone tried that?