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One question I commonly get from website owners – both bloggers as well as eCommerce store owners, is the value of Pinterest traffic.
Is Pinterest traffic worth anything? How does Pinterest traffic convert? Should I actively be focusing on my Pinterest strategy?
To be fair, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Pinterest traffic.
On one hand, my baby product brand, which is a wonderful market for Pinterest in general, gets a ton of traffic from Pinterest. It was by far our biggest traffic source from social media, and for a long time was our biggest traffic source period.
At the same time, it was also our poorest converting traffic source – converting 7x worse than organic Google traffic over the course of a year.
Why is that, and is there anything you can do to make Pinterest traffic more valuable? I’ll cover both of these in just a moment.
The Problem With Pinterest Traffic
I have said for a very long time now that traffic on its own is a vanity metric.
Unless your entire business is built around ad revenue (which is a very bad idea) than traffic on its own really isn’t worth anything.
With a business, your goal is to move a buyer closer and closer to a sale. This starts by getting your brand in front of people that stand a shot at ever converting in the first place.
Here’s the thing about Pinterest – these viewers are about as ‘top of the funnel’ as you can possibly get.
They are not browsing Pinterest to buy. They are not shoppers.
In fact, the very nature of Pinterest is built around saving things for later.
Think about it – the whole nature of a Pinterest board is to collect things you like around a given topic. But how often do people actually go back and even view their boards, let alone take action on anything they’ve saved?
Very, very few.
Even those that click-through to your website likely have no intention of making an immediate purchase.
Pinterest users are looking for ideas, inspiration, and entertainment.
Pinterest Isn’t Entirely Bad, However
That being said, there is value to Pinterest traffic, and its power comes in numbers.
Pinterest can be incredibly valuable for sending very large volumes of traffic to your website, making it a great way to build general brand awareness and familiarity. Unlike most social media channels, pins may continue to drive traffic years into the future.
Seriously, I still have pins generating hundreds of visitors a month from over 3 years ago. That’s something you’ll never get from a tweet or a Facebook post.
And let me be clear – even though Pinterest is one of the worst performing channels when you compare numbers, it still converts. It converts less frequently, but conversions are there.
Therefore, over time, it’s still possible for it to become a powerful money maker.
You just need a strategy.
How To Increase Conversions With Pinterest Traffic
While I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be a master of Pinterest – for leads or for sales, I have tried a few things that have worked well for maximizing the value of Pinterest traffic.
1. Use Pinterest Traffic To Build Your Facebook Pixel
Pinterest visitors may not convert the first time that they visit your store, but they may convert the 2nd or 3rd time.
Utilize Pinterest as a way to segment website visitors based on interest. For example, if you were a kitchenware company and a person clicked through to an article about baking chocolate cakes, you can infer that this person has an interest in baking desserts – cakes specifically.
Then, you could use this audience to retarget cake baking accessories to them on Facebook. The click on its own may not convert to a sale, but it does indicate a certain level of interest, which is valuable in itself.
Bonus Tip: When running Promoted Pins or adding content to Pinterest yourself, add a UTM tag to the URL. This will allow you to populate your Facebook custom audiences specifically with people who originally came through Pinterest – allowing you to separately track retargeting ads that run to Pinterest visitors, vs retargeting ads that run to everybody else.
2. Prioritize Retention
You stand a much better shot at making an eventual sale if you manage to retain the visitor somehow, so you can market to them over and over again.
Create some sort of lead magnet to offer in exchange for an email address. Although you still won’t convert most visitors into subscribers, it ultimately makes the traffic much more valuable overall. Alternatively, encourage people to follow you on other social networks.
This is the next best thing if they do not buy. A visitor that is not retained in some way, and that you cannot bring back via a retargeting ad, is likely lost forever. If you prioritize retention, it doesn’t have to be that way.
3. Brand Your Pins
Although views of your brand name and logo do not hold a lot of inherent value on their own, these impressions are not completely worthless. They do hold some value.
This also gives you the added benefit of getting your brand in front of people who did not bother to click-through to your website – which let’s be honest, is most people that view your pin.
There’s a principal in psychology called the mere-exposure effect (often called the familiarity principle) that causes us to start to like and trust things that are familiar to us.
If your logo manages to get in front of people multiple times (and they actually see it), there’s a chance it could increase their likelihood of finally clicking through, or aid slightly with conversion when they ultimately choose to do so.
When utilizing Pinterest for business, it’s vital that you look beyond just the pure traffic numbers.
It’s exciting to see hundreds or thousands of visitors a day coming to your website from Pinterest, but unless that traffic is taking some further action to escalate their relationship with you (such as becoming a lead, or purchasing a product) than that traffic isn’t worth much.
That being said, if we have an active strategy in place for utilizing the Pinterest traffic, it can become a bit more powerful.
I’d love to hear about your experience with Pinterest, and how you’re utilizing it to build your business!
To your success,
– James McAllister