Social media has begun to play a big part in marketing. Users, brands, and companies have begun to turn to these digital platforms to bolster their products or services. Ignoring the added value of these platforms puts brands and companies at a significant disadvantage.
There are many social media platforms out there that people use for their marketing efforts. The standard ones are Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube. One other website that should be taken into consideration is Pinterest.
Unlike Facebook, Pinterest is not a social media platform for staying connected with friends and family. Instead, it is a platform committed to the “pinning” of ideas, photos, and various interests of users. It allows for the research and discovery of current and new interests.
As of 2019, Pinterest has amassed 300 million monthly active users throughout the whole world. This number is continuing to grow.
As to the effect it has on marketing and sales, a study in 2017 showed that more than 80% of users on the platform made a purchase from a brand due to something they saw on Pinterest.
These are only a few statistics to show how widely used and effective Pinterest is. The fact of the matter is that it is best to utilize various social media platforms for your marketing purposes. Pinterest is one of those platforms.
In order to effectively utilize Pinterest – let alone any social media platform – it is important to understand what makes the site tick. The heart of every platform used for marketing is the algorithm that determines what posts are featured and reach more people.
Once you figure out how to use the algorithm, you can position your brand or product to reach more people. Eventually, it will convert to more sales.
Let’s take a look at how you can make the Pinterest algorithm your digital marketing ally. We’ll go over the evolution of the algorithm as well as several tips to maximize it to your advantage.
The Evolution of the Pinterest Algorithm
In the Beginning (2010)
Pinterest is considered a very young social media platform. Three developers founded Pinterest in 2010 with the hopes of making a platform solely for collecting and sharing images.
However, when one of the founders attended a networking summit for women, the visual social media site began to blossom. Women found it an ideal platform to share recipes, tips for things around the house, and even decoration ideas.
It was through these female users that the initial algorithm was based on. At the time, Pinterest was following the algorithm strategies of many other social media platforms. This was specifically the development of personalized rules based on the interests and activity patterns of the users.
The algorithm would learn from these various pieces of data.
Eventually though, the Pinterest team determined a few problems from this approach. This approach was good for attracting people who had the same interests as the initial female users. Unfortunately, it did nothing to attract more diverse crowds.
An example of this was the male users. When male users would visit the early incarnation of Pinterest, they would see all the content that women posted and think it was only for females.
This would be solved later on by adding information collecting questions from the signup process. The questions include a person’s gender, their interests, and the controversial yet standardized practice of using browser data to indicate what sites you have visited.
Investing in Interests (2014)
In 2014, a Pinterest engineer revealed slightly what was under the hood of the burgeoning visual social media platform.
The engineer affirmed that the main point of Pinterest was to help users find things that interested them or they cared about. This is primarily done by connecting users to significant pins and other users that relate to what they are interested in.
Unlike other social media platforms that rely on machine learning, Pinterest is a platform that relies heavily on user curation. The lynchpin for this system is the feedback that the system gets. Thus the loop is that users curate content, and this data is fed to the machine that allows for more improvements to take place for the algorithm.
Data via pins, boards, and explicit user input is added to people’s personal “interest dictionary”. This dictionary takes strings and phrases from the interests in order to provide content for human curation.
All of these pieces of data are then processed, and from this processing, comes new posts, pins, and boards for users to curate.
Factors of the Future (2021)
Currently, Pinterest’s team has shared several factors that comprise its search algorithm. There are about four factors that the algorithm takes into consideration.
The first factor is domain quality. Pinterest applies a score to the quality of your blog or website. All in all, this boils down to trust. If Pinterest trusts your website or blog, then it ranks it much higher.
From a general perspective, Pinterest ranks these by surveying how popular your posts are. You’ll want your posts to have lots of interactions, to be saved, and clicked as much as possible.
Second is pin quality. Just like the domain quality, if your pins are being clicked, saved, and viewed, the Pinterest algorithm deems them to be high quality. The idea here is that people who interact with pins are people who are satisfied users.
Moreover, this factor also affects how your pins are shared. When a new pin is published, it is first shared with your followers. If your users have a good experience with them, it then shares them with others.
The third factor is the quality of the pinner. This pretty much relates to the pins you publish, as well as the pins you share from others. It is all about interactions between your followers and your pins, and you and other people’s pins.
The final factor is topic relevance. In order to show pins to the right people, the algorithm needs to understand what topic the pins are related to. At the same time, it also needs to determine its relevance to the users.
Thus, any new pin published has certain keywords assigned to it that allow for the pin to be related to certain topics. Pinterest’s SEO utilizes these keywords.
Now that we understand the history and how it currently works, let’s now move on to certain tips that will allow you to make the Pinterest algorithm your digital marketing ally. These tips will focus on the recent ranking factors that the algorithm works with, as well as other relevant tips.
Making the Pinterest Algorithm Work For You
Improving Domain Quality
There are many ways to improve your domain quality. For starters, you can convert your current Pinterest account to a business account. Doing so gives you access to a variety of useful analytics and data.
Once you have converted your account to a business account, make sure that you don’t forget to claim your website. This is simply a way to prove to Pinterest that you own the website that you have associated with your profile.
The claiming option can be found in the settings area of Pinterest.
Next, you’ll also want to enable rich pins. These are pins that automatically take information from your website. These include product rich pins, recipe rich pins, and article rich pins. Rich pins can be identified by adding extra text at the top and bottom of an image, and by the bold title in the feed.
Furthermore, you’ll want to put more effort into your pins. Try and publish pins that encourage interaction with the community. You’ll also want to establish a consistent pin publishing schedule for continuous traffic.
For the schedule, make sure it is one that you can inevitably keep up with.
Improving Pin Quality
In order to improve pin quality, a simple solution for this is to come up with interesting and relevant titles for your pins. Long titles won’t do anything to endear users to your pins. You have a limited amount of characters to make people want to click what you have published.
In addition, accompany your new and improved title with better images and graphics. The fact that Pinterest is a visual social media platform means that making your posts beautiful has a very important effect.
Finally, you want to continuously monitor what you have pinned. See what pins are performing well and what pins need to be archived. If you have pin posts that are not seeing enough interactions, you should think about archiving them.
Improve Pinner Quality
The tip for improving pinner quality has already been stated. In order to improve pinner quality, you’ll want to publish pins on a consistent basis. Keep your account active and it will significantly help improve your pinner quality score.
Consider publishing fresh pins on a weekly basis. The platform loves fresh pins. This means that you should publish as often as possible. One easy way to do this is to create templates that will allow you to publish often.
You’ll also want to pin popular content to attract fresher eyes to the content you publish yourself.
Improving Topic Relevance
Any and all SEO efforts can be greatly improved by conducting relevant keyword research. This should be at the top of your list before doing anything else on Pinterest.
After finding the right keywords, these will act as the foundation for your SEO strategy. Start optimizing your profile by adding those keywords in your username, your business name, and your profile bio.
You’ll also want to optimize your boards. You can do this by using your researched keywords in the board’s title and description. Despite using these keywords in the description, ensure that they still sound natural sounding.
Finally, you can also use these keywords to optimize the pins that you publish. Similarly to boards, you should use the keywords in the title and description of the pins. With titles, start them out with the main keyword that you are targeting. This helps the algorithm determine what your pin is about.
For pin descriptions, combine relevant keywords with important information. Make sure that the description lets people know why they should go to your website and what they will get from an article that you have posted if any.
While hashtags have been around for quite a while, they have only been introduced to Pinterest fairly recently. These are very effective and should be added to your posts.
If you add hashtags to the pins that you publish, it can act as an extra boost to push you upwards through the rankings. The fact that people can search for these hashtags means that it can act as an effective way to bring a newer audience to your profile.
One notable thing to remember is that Pinterest puts a premium on newer posts. Thus, hashtags are only effective when placed on new pins and not older ones.
New Lens Technology
Our final tip is to utilize Pinterest’s new Lens technology.
Lens is a new technology that was created in 2017. This allows for people to take photos of products and directly upload them into Pinterest. Then, the system takes the photo and returns pins that are a match.
As you can imagine, businesses can utilize this technology to reach an even wider audience. In order to do so though, you have to take a picture with the product in the center of the photo. In addition, you also have to label it correctly.
An Ally in the Making
Every social media platform is a digital marketing vehicle waiting to be utilized. Social media is a very effective way to boost marketing and sales of a product. Pinterest is just one of these platforms that users and businesses need to get into now.
With understanding comes the opportunity to make the Pinterest algorithm your digital marketing ally.
Like any other algorithm, Pinterest’s algorithm will continually evolve and change as the years go by. Apart from the tips that we have presented, we hope that you stay on top of each and every algorithm change so that you can continue to post effectively on Pinterest.