Pinterest Experiment: How To Drive Relevant Traffic to Your Blog

Pinterest -- Pretty GirlPinterest is still the pretty and mysterious girl on the block that’s fascinating just about everyone online these days.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have become somewhat addicted to combing through the images you share, repining, liking and adding my own snippets to the mix.

If you read here on a regular basis, you may have already seen this series with some tips on how page admins and community managers can use the Facebook Timeline for pages to tell their stories.  The post on designing Cover Photos was actually a part of an experiment I’ve been watching for about the past 30 days.

Please be aware that I use the term ‘experiment’ loosely here. There’s no real concerted research method behind what I’ll detail in this post, nor control groups or any of the other stuff that good researchers (past client of mine) make a practice of doing.

Perhaps it’s more of a deliberate observation that can be used as a conversation starter. At any rate, here we go…

nateriggs.com Blog Post as the Hub

For this simple experiment, I started by creating a post on how to design a good cover photo. I made sure to include all the critical elements of what makes How-to style posts worth bookmarking:

  • Intelligent and well thought out commentary on Facebook’s changes and why I believe cover photos are an asset for brands using Facebook pages.
  • Relevant factual information including details on cover photo specs, tips on Facebook’s terms and conditions for cover photos.
  • Examples of people doing it well. In this case, it was a reference to Gatorade’s cover photo, as well as ours at The Karcher Group (shameless self promotion, heh!).
  • Ideas shared for free to help my readers get started in designing their own Facebook page cover photos.

Pinterest Board as the Referral Outpost

Next, I used my account on Pinterest to design a board titled: Examples of Facebook Page Cover Photos.  Nothing fancy in the title – straight to the point and loaded with keywords.

The next step was to populate the board.  I had already installed the ‘Pin It’ Chrome extension on my browser. As I noticed an article come out that included Facebook cover photo screenshots that I thought were well designed, I would Pin them and then immediately edit the Pin.

Shortly after Pinterest launched the ‘nopin’ code, my Chrome extension failed to work on any native Facebook URL’s.  Funny enough, even the ‘nopin’ code can’t stop you from taking your own screen shot manually, and then uploading it to any board you create. Take that for the learning it’s worth – there is always a hack.

At first wave, I pinned 25 cover photos, using the comments to add in my commentary on the design, as well as a call to action to my How-to post.  With bit.ly shortened links I also made sure to change the redirect URL for each of the initial Pins to redirect back to the my How-to post.

Cross Link for Two Way Traffic Flow

To finish things off, I went back to my original How-to post and linked out to my Cover Photo Examples board on Pinterest.

As an extra way to highlight the element in the post, I opened my HTML tab in my WordPress admin and used the


tag to create the breaks in the page you see below.

Pinterest Board - Linking Out from Blog Post

The Results (So Far…)

The actual Pinterest Board now has 736 followers and 33 pins. Not to shabby for four weeks. There’s merit to the discovery aspects and ease of follow found in Pinterest. (I’ve added a few Pins since I started, but did not include back-links to the post or calls to action on the new ones).

Bit.ly is showing me some activity as well … but not as much as I would have thought.

Bit.ly Results from Pinterest Board -- Facebook Cover Photos

Hmm… The insights from this data set seems two-fold:

  1. It’s possible that the visual nature of Pinterest tends to draw the eye and user engagement to the images – not necessarily the content under the images – where you would place a call to action to draw a click-through the image.
  2. A natural human resistance to forced channel disruption might be a factor of the lower than expected click-through numbers. In the same way the users tend to want to stay inside of Facebook when using Facebook, one could assume that Pinterest users might enjoy staying in the rabbit hole of Pinterest that they’re already nestled in.

My Google Analytics tell a different story though.  For the same time period as the Bit.ly measure (March 20th – April 5th), there is a big gap.

nateriggs.com Google Analytics Results - Pinterest Experiment

You’ll notice that the post shows up in two separate places in the top 5 traffic generating posts for the time period.  I changed my mind on title mid-stream and modified the URL to what you see ranking in the 2nd spot. (Again, remember that this experiment is anything but scientific or controlled).

Still, the total of the two is just under 800 page views in just under 4 weeks, a decent performance from the post relative to my overall blog performance right now. Without doing hard math, that puts my Pinterest board on Cover Photos in the area of being responsible for 10-12% of the total traffic to that specific post.

What I’m Thinking Now

  • Using Pinterest as a traffic referral outpost for blogging has some value and got some results.
  • It didn’t take a long time to set up, so the cost of my time and attention was fairly low.
  • 736 board followers only converted 98 click-throughs from Pinterest. In my mind, user click-through on images leaves a lot to be desired in its current state. Although, to be fair, 10% as compared to most Facebook updates isn’t too bad.
  • Good SEO and timing content when it’s most relevant still trumps Pinterest in generating traffic referral. No question. Definitely no unicorns.

What You’re Thinking Now

I’d really like to know what you see from this little unscientific experiment.

What am I missing?