Pinterest Popped: Why It Won’t Drive Traffic To Your Site

pinterest  poppedPinterest: Analysis of the real traffic winners

Pinterest has been gaining a lot of interest over the last few months, with nearly every other tweet being about the new social site.

One of the main claims is that it is a great site for driving traffic to your website. However, these claims cannot be taken at face value.

Just like any other social site Pinterest can be a beneficial platform for your social media campaign, but it is unlikely to  improve traffic and here’s why.

To write this blog I read a number of articles about Pinterest traffic and I’ve found that “traffic” is being used as a buzz word to increase the appeal of the site. Article after article mention how Pinterest can drive traffic to your site.

A article reads:

“We’ve already seen that Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter, as well as more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined, but one thing we haven’t heard much about is where all that traffic is actually going.”.

That is a really good question and yet it is one that has been heavily overlooked: article reads:

“Have boards that interest your new visitor to the point that they consider following your links to the site you are promoting” 

But what site are you promoting? When you use Pinterest you share links to other sites, not your own. Think about it: when you find a new image for your board, what do you do? The answer: pin the image linking to the external site and in so doing the external site gains traffic.

An article reads:

“Pinterest users aren’t just looking at pins all day, they are proving to be information seekers that click through the actual pins to learn more.”

So, it is the image sources that gain the traffic not your own site. When looking at the stats at face value, it does seem that Pinterest is a great source of traffic for your site but on closer inspection this is not the case. It could only ever be the case if you uploaded images to your own site and then pinned those images.

However, if you only pin images on external sites then you are essentially working for external webmasters, promoting their sites for them. Don’t get me wrong Pinterest can add to the social signals that Google likes to see, but it can’t drive traffic to your site.

When you explore the most popular sources of content on Pinterest you will see that most of them have their own sources of images. Amazon, Etzy, Polyvore, Martha Stewart, Flickr – these all host their own images and because of their popularity that is why they gain traffic from Pinterest.

I think that when people start to realise this that they will reassess the value that Pinterest can add to their business. If you have your own database of images then you can win with Pinterest but if you use Pinterest how it is suppose to be used (the sharing of external images) then don’t expect your traffic to significantly rise.

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12 Comments on “Pinterest Popped: Why It Won’t Drive Traffic To Your Site”

  1. It’s a hot topic and many people love using it but the hyperbole surrounding Pinterest is tantamount to scandalous.

    It’s a cool product and looks slick as hell. It’s on the bottom of rung though when it comes to a social network.

  2. Love your post! It’s nice to see the other view of Pinterest vs the articles I’ve read that state this site will be the next up-and-coming social media tool. This gave me a new perspective, great job!

  3. I love the “tell it like it is” view and that helps us focus on putting our own content where we want people to go, not just sharing others…

  4. philw123 says:

    The growth in Pinterest has been phenomenal, I think it’s taken many by surprise. However, your insight is interesting and implies that it might not deliver the value one might expect.

  5. Have to agree Tudor
    I have lots of boards but only a few of the images are from my own sites – they are repins from other boards.

    Therefore… I’m seeing very little traffic from Pinterest.

    Solution has to be… pin more of your own images – that’s what I’m going to do.

  6. Tudor Davies says:

    Certainly, pin more of your own images. In fact, build your own database of images. However, only certain industries are going to have access to enough images to retain followers.

    Other industries may resort to tactics of downloading images and then uploading them on their own site and then pinning those images. As long as you give credit in the alt text, this may still be acceptable but it’s certainly grey hat.

    • cleokirkland says:

      That makes sense. Kind of like a broken link building tactic where you host all the great, “Lost” articles. I guess you could have a page dedicated to images that your business loves. Interesting tactic.

      Thanks, Tudor.

  7. Hi Tudor

    I agree with Matt’s comment at the top. There is a huge amount of hyperbole around it at the moment. But if used correctly Pinterest can drive plenty of traffic, it all depends on what your niche is. The more visual the better. I have actually had a huge amount of traffic from it recently due to my infographic (four faces of link building) having a large uptake. I see Pinterest as having excellent potential for ecommerce, pinning good product shots can see plenty of exposure.

  8. Ian Gentles says:

    I think this sums up the benefits of all social media. Isn’t it the same with Twitter, Facebook etc, that it’s the links of others that we share with our different tribes that drive traffic.

    The challenge for us is to produce quality content so our tribes will share to their tribes that will drive traffic to our sites.

    Good article Tudor

  9. [...] Social networking goes to work Online Selling to the Subconscious Pinterest Popped: Why It Won’t Drive Traffic To Your Site Thought Leaders and Failures of Digital Integration: Why I’m Rejecting [...]

  10. [...] Social networking goes to work Online Selling to the Subconscious Pinterest Popped: Why It Won’t Drive Traffic To Your Site Thought Leaders and Failures of Digital Integration: Why I’m Rejecting [...]

  11. The assertion “when you use Pinterest you share links to other sites and not your own” is misleading. First, marketers can and do pin their own content to Pinterest, though this is not its best use. Much more authentic and powerful is influencing loyal customers and daydreamers to pin your content on your behalf. Pinterest users post images and links to the things they love, want and recommend. In a large number of user scenarios, pins are based on an image on a marketer’s web site, or that of an online journal, and absolutely do drive traffic to the original content owner’s site.

    The key for marketers is not to use Pinterest as a bulletin board, but to create visually appealing content that users are clamoring to pin to their own boards and which other users subsequently repin. Users can upload pins, but easier still is to paste an existing link or use the Pinterest bookmarklet to post one.

    Marketers that generate beautiful content, content that describes dreams, aspirations or just the very best products and services, will have no need to pin their own content to Pinterest and will indeed drive site traffic.

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