Understanding The True Reach Of Pinterest

Pinterest became the social media’s new golden child earlier this year when marketers learned that it drives more web traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Yet despite recent studies showing that referral traffic from the channel is decreasing, it’s still a big hitter in the social space. As B2B publishers we haven’t seen the […]

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pinterest-logo-220Pinterest became the social media’s new golden child earlier this year when marketers learned that it drives more web traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Yet despite recent studies showing that referral traffic from the channel is decreasing, it’s still a big hitter in the social space. As B2B publishers we haven’t seen the same surge in traffic as others have, but for many others the impact is very real. Now marketers, publishers and community managers are asking, how do we track our content? How do we measure up to other sites? Are people really seeing our content if it’s not driving traffic? And most importantly, will this platform drive revenue?

After a bit of a rant on Twitter about not knowing what the heck is going on with our content on Pinterest, Lexie Kier introduced me to Curalate, a new image moderating tool to help us “listen” to curated content. According to Apu Gupta, Curalate’s CEO and co-founder, “Pinterest finally makes it possible for people to not just “like” a brand, but to actually express their love for the specific products they care about. Engagement no longer has to be about brands and their posts, it can be centered around the actual products they make. The implications to how brands use this information for modifying their content, commerce, and advertising strategies is potentially far reaching.”

A Look At Image Curation Data

To give you a taste of what Curalate can do, we dug into our Search Engine Land Pinterest account, which is quite active, has established brand recognition, and therefore a decent audience for a case study. The screenshot below is an activity summary for April 26. The labels are self-explanatory: Interactions aggregate pins, repins comments and likes on the content; Engage Users are the number of people who take action; Impressions is how many times our content has been viewed via Pinterest; Followers are, well, account followers;  Traffic is site traffic – we just haven’t plugged in Google Analytics yet.

As mentioned, the way Curalate works is via image recognition, so the platform recognizes a pin and follows its path not just on Pinterest, but it also goes one step further and follows that same pin on other social platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Many social media professionals can attest – following pins on Twitter is nearly impossible because they aren’t associated with a  brand in a way we can track it. But what is interesting is that here we can see that there were 23 shares of pins from our SEL account made on Twitter that day alone. It’s an opportunity to engage with those users outside of Pinterest.

Curalate Pinterest Account Summary Dashboard

Pinterest Boards – It’s Not Just About The Brand

Like many other branded accounts, many of our boards have more followers than the brand itself. It’s an unusual twist to the typical “follower” measurement social media professionals are accustomed to, especially when determining reach.  If you have many boards, compiling just the follower counts for each one would be a tedious but necessary process. Below is a list of all of SEL’s boards and the number of followers each one. From here, you can drill down to the detail of content activity for each board. Not too surprisingly, our most popular board strictly in terms of followers is the SEO board. Although the SEM/PPC has about the same number of pins and followers as the SEO board, when you compare the ratio of repins to pins, it doesn’t drive nearly the amount of engagement as SEO.

(Unfortunately, collaborative boards are not showing up on this list yet, we offered this feedback. The Curalate team is working on it.)

Curalate Pinterest Board Data

Digging deeper into the SEO board, we can see the top content for that board from the past thirty days. Each thumbnail is clickable within Curalate so you can see the source.  We share our own content as well as others’, so getting a sense of what resonates visually is valuable feedback. You can also break it down to how the content performs from our own boards, as well as community-wide throughout Pinterest.

Top Pinterest Content From Curalate 1

Top Pinners – It’s Not Just About The Content

You can also see who the top pinners are, an important factor in terms of identifying your top social sharers and advocates. Not only to engage with them, but collaborate boards, run contests, or reward them in different ways.

Top Search Engine Land Pinners From Curalate

You can also directly respond to pinners within the platform using the Respond button, another time-saver:

Curalate Pinterest Respond View

How Do We Measure Up To Other Sites?

Curalate can also track other brands, so I chose a few other tech media companies to give us a sense of how we are doing in terms of presence. Below is a competitive comparison just on the brand/account level – not the visibility throughout Pinterest.

Competitive Pinterest Brand Activity Report

All of the reports can be exported into Excel, so to get some kind of engagement baseline, I started looking at the  ratio of repins/pins:

  • CNET – 5.8
  • SEL – 2.4
  • TC – 2.4
  • TNW – 7.8
  • The Verge – 2.1

It’s reassuring that our engagement levels are on pace with larger, more mainstream competitors such as The Verge and TechCrunch. CNET and TNW also post content not relevant to our core content, such as gadgets and  geek-oriented topics, which gives them a broader appeal. We could potentially expand to these areas, but for SEL, we like to focus on search news and tips.

Using Pinterest as a B2B content tool requires thought and planning about what kind of images to share, a commitment to engage and careful tracking. However understanding how your  curated content is shared  beyond referral traffic numbers can help you focus attention to what works. Measuring engagement has reached another level.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Monica Wright
Monica Wright served as Vice President of Audience Engagement for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. With over 15 years of experience in online publishing, content marketing and audience development for media companies, she is focused on content consumption and measuring user engagement on both sites across multiple platforms including desktop, mobile, social and email. In addition, she serves as a program coordinator for the SMX conference series, produced by parent company Third Door Media, publisher of Marketing Land and Search Engine Land.

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