2018 UPDATE: BoardBooster (referenced below as a Pinterest scheduling tool) is no longer approved or supported by Pinterest. I’ve switched to using Tailwind instead.
From September 20th to November 20th, Side Hustle Nation generated 479 visits from Pinterest.
The next 2 months, from November 21st to January 21st, Side Hustle Nation generated 11,733 visits from Pinterest.
Why the sudden 25x increase?
It was anything but an accident.
I just followed the steps Rosemarie Groner shared on our podcast recording late last year.
At that time, I knew almost nothing about Pinterest other than:
- It was mostly for women. Could men have equal success there?
- It was about pretty, vertically-oriented pictures.
So to increase the traffic 25x from this one social media source I was a total newbie with, I had to follow some pretty specific instructions.
(That barely visible orange line at the bottom is my “before” traffic.)
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How to Generate Traffic from Pinterest
Here are the steps I followed.
1. Set up your account as a Pinterest business account.
If you already have an account, you can switch it to a business account and keep all your followers and data.
This is free.
2. Create at least 10 boards with at least 10 pins each.
Organize these around topics your audience might be interested in. I have mine loosely based on the categories of the Side Hustle Nation blog: Amazon FBA, Freelancing, Software and Apps, etc.
Don’t make the mistake I did and pin your own content to these boards. Use them to feature other cool content you find on Pinterest.
(Some of mine still don’t have 10 pins on them. It’s a work in progress!)
3. Create “pinnable” images for your best content.
Although there are hundreds of posts in The Side Hustle Nation archives, I started with only the highest traffic posts. If a post was already popular pre-Pinterest, I figured the content should do OK over there as well.
How do you find out which posts get the most traffic?
In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to see which pages and posts of yours have the most views.
I also looked in AWeber to see which posts or podcast episodes were performing the best in terms of email opt-ins, and prioritized making images for those.
Then I tried to make images that were 1000 x 1500 pixels, and included some text to say what the post was about.
For royalty-free images, I sourced mainly from Pixabay and Unsplash.
For editing, I tried Canva at first, but ultimately had an easier time over at PicMonkey.
I made most of the graphics myself, and as you can see, they’re not amazing, but they were good enough for this experiment.
This was a time-consuming process for me so to accelerate it, I did hire out some help on Fiverr and from a graphics specialist in the Side Hustle Nation community.
Here’s one that the graphics specialist made:
See? Way better than mine!
Total cost: $95.
4. Create a “Best of Your Site” board and make it the first board on your page.
When you’ve got some nice images made, you can add them to your “Best Of” board in one of two ways.
First, you can add them directly from your hard-drive. This is mostly what I did because I knew it would be the highest resolution graphic, and to be honest, I was nervous about adding all these big image files to my blog posts.
When you do that, be sure to hit the “Edit pin” button to add in the URL you want the pin to point to. Otherwise it won’t link back to your site!
Here’s my “Best Of” board with some recent pins at the top:
The second way to add these images to your Best Of board is to add them to the corresponding posts on your site, and then use the Pinterest browser extension OR your social sharing toolbar to pin them.
(SumoMe has a popular social sharing tool, and I’m currently using the Floating Social Bar.)
5. Activate Rich Pins
This feature is only available to Pinterest Business accounts (see #1 above). What it does is displays the title of your post along with your little favicon below the pin, basically making it look more legit.
See? There’s Rosemarie rocking the Rich Pin :)
The set your account up for Rich Pins, you need to use Pinterest’s tool to validate that your site has meta tags, which if you’re running WordPress, I’m 99.9% sure you already do.
Validate, hit “Apply now,” and your pins shall be enriched within an hour.
6. Identify Group Boards
Finding group boards — and automated pinning to them — is the secret sauce to unlocking all this Pinterest traffic, especially if you have very few followers on your own account.
I had less than 100 Pinterest followers when I started this experiment, and now only have 660. The amount of followers you have doesn’t matter.
There are a couple ways to get this done.
First, you can use a Pinterest Group Board search engine like PinGroupie.com, which is free, to search for boards relevant to your various keywords.
For example, I searched “skiing” and found these results:
PinGroupie will show you how many followers each group board has, as well as some other metrics you can use to gauge the level of engagement.
In general, the more likes and repins the better, and the more collaborators there are, the more likely you are to be accepted to pin to the group board. More on that below.
The other way to find relevant group boards is to simply check out the Pinterest profiles of other prominent “Pinners” in your niche. For example, I jumped over to The Penny Hoarder’s Pinterest page, and found several potential groups to add to my list.
You probably already know the other personalities in your niche, so they should be easy to find.
Group boards are identified by the little icon in the upper right. If there are 2 little avatars, it’s a group board. If there’s nothing there, it’s a solo board that only The Penny Hoarder (or the respective account owner) can pin to.
At this point, all I’m doing is making a list of my “target” group boards — boards I think would be relevant to the content of Side Hustle Nation. In my initial effort, I had a list of 23 boards that I compiled into a Google Docs spreadsheet.
The columns you might consider in yours:
- Group Name
- Pinterest URL
- Number of Followers
- Board Administrator
- Board Administrator Contact (more on how to find that below)
- Board Rules
7. Request Group Board Invites
Identifying these boards is just the first step. Unfortunately, you can’t just hit a button and become a collaborator; you have to request an invite from the board administrator.
Eventually you’ll add columns for whether or not you asked for an invite to the board and if you were accepted.
The first step in making these requests is finding out who’s in charge. Thankfully, Pinterest makes it super easy. For each group board, the list of collaborators is shown in the top left corner of the page. The first account listed is the board owner.
Many boards will have instructions in the description on what to do to request an invite, as the Saving Money board example does above.
Important: Follow the board by clicking the red “Follow board” button before reaching out.
If no instructions are given, click the link of the board owner to reach their personal profile page. Follow them. Often there will be a website listed where you can find a Contact Us page, or begin guessing common email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org to see if Rapportive or another email validator tool recognizes it.
Here’s an example of one of my “request for invite” emails:
I’m just trying to be brief, polite, friendly, and drop in a little “social proof” because I have very little of it on Pinterest yet.
Important: Send these emails from the email address tied to your Pinterest account.
Alternative: If you can’t find contact information from a board you really want an invite to, you can send the board owner a direct message on the Pinterest platform. I did that a couple times and it worked fine.
In my initial outreach effort, I asked to join those 23 boards. I was accepted to 11, rejected from one, and ignored by 11.
But those 11 I was accepted to pin to pushed my nominal “reach” on Pinterest from my less than 100 followers to over 80,000. (Adding up the followers from all those group boards.)
8. Automate Your Pinning
At Rosemarie’s recommendation, I began using a cool tool called BoardBooster.
Important Update: BoardBooster is no longer approved or supported by Pinterest. I’ve switched to using Tailwind instead.
Board Booster is a very affordable service to automatically pin to these group boards on your behalf. You can even start out on a free trial, which is what I did before jumping up to their $5 a month plan.
Rosemarie recorded a very helpful video on how to get your account set up and begin pinning:
Important: Don’t go crazy here when you’re just starting out. Don’t pin irrelevant content or flood a slow-moving board with your stuff. Follow the rules for each group board and expand accordingly.
9. Add Pins for New Content
With each new post you publish, create a new pinnable image for it and add it to your “Best Of” board — assuming it’s worthy.
Then you can add those new pins to your Board Booster secret boards to generate an automated steady stream of traffic back to your site.
10. Maintenance and Optimization
Let the automation run for 3-4 weeks. Watch your Google Analytics to see the impact to your traffic numbers. Mine started out slow but has been fairly consistent and growing over the last two months.
Another cool feature of Board Booster is they will tell you the average performance of pins to your group boards and show you how yours did.
Here’s my scheduler dashboard, and you can see how the average number of repins varies by group:
If you click on one of these boards, it will show you your last 20 pins to that group board:
What you want to do here is look for the duds; the pins that are performing worse than average for the group. Rosemarie explained that if you remove those from your pinning queue, your more engaging pins will cycle through more often, getting you even more traffic.
If you’re not quite ready to give up on a pin or post just yet, you might try re-doing your image or re-writing your description text for the pin.
Traffic Results and Impact
There are a lot of positives of this experiment — and a few negatives, which I’ll get to in a moment.
But first, let’s look at the good stuff.
- The percentage of traffic coming from social channels grew from just 6.1% to 15.9%, reducing my reliance on Google.
- Pinterest quickly became my #1 social media referral source, far surpassing the traffic I get from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined.
- My female readership increased from 40% to 44.4%.
But Pinterest isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. On average, visitors from Pinterest spent less than half the amount of time on the site as other visitors, viewed fewer pages per session, and had a higher bounce rate.
The risk in that these “engagement metrics” may factor into Google’s algorithms; signaling that the site isn’t doing a good job of keeping people around. This isn’t a huge concern at the moment since Pinterest still accounts for less than 10% of my overall traffic, but it’s something to be aware of and to keep an eye on.
My main goal with the Pinterest experiment is to generate incremental exposure for Side Hustle Nation, and especially the podcast. I think it could be a good channel for new readers and listeners to discover the content at the “top of the funnel” and become followers, subscribers, and fans.
Ready to give Pinterest a shot? Did you implement Rosemarie’s advice from the podcast? How are your results so far?
69 thoughts on “The Pinterest Traffic Experiment: I’m Up 2350% In 60 Days”
Nick – I still have the tutorial from Rosemarie bookmarked and I’ve been procrastinating getting everything set up properly. Now I’m bookmarking this post too!
I did have an organic Pinterest explosion on one of my posts on one of my niches sites though. And I figured out another negative about Pinterest traffic. It sucks for conversions!! The site I am talking about is an Amazon niche site and close to 0% of the Pinterest traffic turned into buyers. And I’m talking over 1,000 visitors per day for at least a week from Pinterest to one specific post. The good thing… I was able to turn several hundred of those visitors into email subscribers.
Also – I wouldn’t worry too much about your Pinterest traffic stats having any effect on your Google rankings and traffic. I’m willing to bet that Google knows this about Pinterest traffic and they probably account for that in their algorithm somehow.
I think you’re right reg. the Google algo. On the email sign-ups, conversion rate is lower than other channels, but I figure any email sign-ups would still be incremental. I’ll take it!
I have no idea about Google affecting that, but if it helps you guys figure it out- I get 68k/month from Google and growing. :)
Great guide! I’m glad to see exactly what you did and what impact you saw.
Nice guide and tips!
Yup Noah Kagan/ Buzz sumo did a case study – Pinterest generates the most shares than any other social media(!) – yes more than Facebook. Up to you to figure out the CLV though.
Definitely going to implement this – thanks!
Excellent balanced validation…I did listen to the original podcast and was impressed but wondered how generally applicable it could be.
Many thanks and congrats on the new arrival too!
Thanks Steve — we’re in full-on “what day is it?” newborn blur over here :)
Awesome to see the results, mine have been just as transformational. I followed pretty much the exact steps you listed, and my traffic in total has gone up 400%!
And my email subscribers went from 4 or 5 a day to 20+ a day as well.
Pinterest and Group Board is an amazing way to get yourself in front of a HUGE audience, and find more fans :)
great write up Nick!
Yes! Loving the #FinCon community for their openness in sharing cool strategies like this!
I listened to her podcast and thought it was really interesting. I have been trying to do some of this (when I can!) I read that Board Booster isn’t Pinterest approved so I am trying Tailwind. Haven’t seen your results yet but I did start with bigger #s. Will keep trying!
Thanks Nick, I’m trying to figure this out now thanks to your great guide. I’m scratching my head about the image requirement being 1000 x 1500 pixels? Surely that’s a typo? That seems way way too large… my Macbook’s screen is only 1280 pixels across. I checked out your image here as a reference:
…And notice that it’s showing as 236 x 353. Am I wrong in second guessing the image dimension?
Looks like that 236 image is grabbing a thumbnail version. I normally embed a 640px wide version into the blog post, and either pin that one or upload the full 1000-wide one to Pinterest. I think there might be a difference between the screen resolution settings and the image dimensions? Either way, don’t sweat it — bigger image will look good on big screens and still be resized OK for mobile and smaller screens :)
Thanks, I began to upload images that are 736 x 1128 and those seem to be working fine. Now the only issue I’m having is trying to send a message to pitch the group board owners. It seems I can’t send a message to someone over Pinterest unless they are following me… is this right?
Also going to have to bookmark this, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make this useful and you nailed it. Going to have to dedicate one of my VA’s to do this for a week and I’ll send back some results next month
Keep us posted :)
What a fantastic post, easy instructions and so much greatness here!
Thanks so much for this step by step guide! It’s been really helpful for us. We’ve got our pinterest up and running and now are just starting to reach out to join some groups!
Thank you so much for this write up Nick,
I just finally got around to getting Rosemarie’s guide to doing this, as I’ve been meaning to beef up my blog now that I’ve had it for 2 years. Definitely going to implement this as other social media can be rather costly for even trying to spread your message out there.
One of the most useful posts I’ve read in recent times. I’m all over this now…thank you very much.
Great job for publishing such a beneficial article. Your blog information isn’t only useful but it is additionally creative with high content too. I am going to follow your steps and let you know my finding at the earliest..
Great post! I’m bookmarking and will share it with other participants in an online blogging course I’m taking.
Do you have a similar post about how to use Twitter?!
Hi, I have been looking everywhere for an answer to my question but cannot seem to find one. I have followed all your steps and I am using tailwind (will look at board booster next). My question is can I post the same pin on my best board and a bunch of group boards at once. If so should I stagger the times and days they go out. I noticed if I post on more than one of my own personal boards, I get a ‘psssst’ message so I assume I cannot do this.
I would love to find an answer to this as I have been looking for days for one, maybe I am missing the point here?
Thanks for the post, Nick! I’ve been using Pinterest personally and then switched to business name, and now switched to business account! I’m sure I’ll be editing my boards to better suit my business, and definitely keeping these in mind! I never thought about using Pinterest so thoughtfully for business, but it makes perfect sense and you just gave me a ton of great ideas! Thanks!
Love this! Publish more Pinterest case studies? Still learning how to leverage Pinterest traffic and I like seeing other people’s results and tactics. The group board one is a new one I’m going to try.
My Pinterest strategy is simple.. I use PinPinterest to schedule and manage my Pinterest.
I’m using it for more than 7 months now, and I’ve gained unparalleled results both in the form of followers and revenue. Some features of PinPinterest:
– Sophisticated Algorithms, pin relevant images to my profile
– Pin Scheduler, schedule as many pins as you want to
– Speed control, decide whether you want to play it safe or go on a pinteresting spree
– Free to use
– Runs on the cloud, no need to download anything to your computer
– Mobile optimised, access your account any time, anywhere . .
– Sets up via the 5-minute easy setup
– Pin, Repin, Like, Comment, Follow, Unfollow..all on Auto Pilot
Hi! Very interesting article indeed.
However, I don’t understand the idea of making a 10 pin boards with at least 10 pins each. If all you need to do is get accepted by popular pin boards, then what is the point of making your own boards with only 10 pins each?
And how do we gauge the quality of the pins for our boards? Should we just search for a keyword and pin the first 10 image results to our boards?
Hi Syed, good question. My understanding is that will help you get approved for the group boards because it will make your profile look more legit and built-out.
Yeah I kindda assumed that. Thanks! I am also trying to make my boards. Lets see how it goes :-)
This is awesome. I’ve already started this and ordered graphics from Fiverr. Right now all my traffic is from Search so I’m hoping this will diversify the source of traffic for my blog. I don’t want to rely on google.
This is awesome!! I’ve been trying to crack the code on how to use Pinterest successfully.
How do you feel about graphics using icons and text rather than great background images? Specifically, I’m wondering about the pinnable image I created for this post: https://www.thewanderingrv.com/rv-accessories/
Totally not trying to just get a link in your comments, just really curious what you think. I also think others could benefit from knowing as well.
Do you mind posting a link to the fiverr seller that created your pins? I used one a couple days ago and the graphics he came up with were garbage. Thanks!
The thing about Pinterest is its niches. Pinterest is mostly a perfect fit for you (like if your site is about cooking) or it is the completely wrong fit if you are outside of those stereotypical Pinterest niches.
Not saying you won’t get any traffic, but you won’t get much and are probably better spending time elsewhere
I was wondering about this, too!
It seems to me like this traffic hack from Pinterest is ideal for websites selling info products or websites that have a podcast/Youtube channel that they’re trying to grow.
Most of the successful pins from this post seem to be “How to…” with info splintered off of an info product.
Imagine a local business, say, a plumber or a real estate agent or a travel agent or a locksmith or a landscaper or even a coffee shop. What does the Pinterest strategy look like for them? Does any content marketing strategy translate over to Pinterest easily enough? Is there enough benefit from the SEO perspective to justify doing this, even if the traffic is not converting?
I might have to toy around for some of my clients who are local businesses to see what the results are. :)
Wow! Amazing post! Everywhere I turn everyone is talking about Pinterest. I can’t believe I knew about Pinterest but never understand its power in terms of website traffic and capturing a larger audience. Now I know better. Thank you for sharing Nick!
This is a great tutorial. Barely used Pinterest before, but this article gives few points where to start from. Thanks for sharing.
Awesome! Thanks Nick. This is really useful stuff. I am putting it into action today!
It is an uphill battle at first to build up your Pinterest presence and traffic, but it’s all worth doing the transformation work.
Up 2350% In 60 Days, Wow This is awesome. I really got inspired by your awesome post. Thanks for sharing and i’ll try this. Thanks
Never knew that pinterest can be one of the most useful platform to drive referral traffic to my site.
This is awesome! I read the post from the Busy Budgeter episode and Chasing Foxes episode. Both bloggers inspired me to start my own blog recently. This post is awesome and packed with ideas as well. Will be implementing these tips right away. Thanks Nick! Big fan of your blog! :)
I launched my blog about internet marketing 2 weeks ago and I’m doing the same as you but I see no results. I guess I have to give it some time. Thanks for the post :)
Loved the step by step guide! Super easy to follow and I know it will definitely take my blog to new heignt.
Pinterest is by far the perfect place to test market anything without spending one dime for advertising.
Thank you for this guide. I’ve just started using pinterest. Although it’s slow, I’m seeing some result in proportion to the effort I put in.
Hey Nick sorry if I missed this if you mentioned it already, but what’s your traffic split gender speaking? Like, how much of your traffic is female? No worries if you don’t want to give that info out. Just curious to see because it seems Pinterest is so heavily female, if it’s the right kind of (targeted) traffic to your site.
Like you alluded to, more traffic is great but if it results in a higher bounce rate, maybe not so much?
Overall the site audience is about 54% male / 46% female. For the traffic from Pinterest, it’s 87% female. I think there’s a lot of interest in the mompreneur crowd looking for creative ways to make money from home, so it’s definitely a good audience for me.
I wonder how this will work with male dominated sports industry? Worth a shot I guess!
Hey Nick, just a quick tip. Now that I’m a contributor to 35+ group boards, I put this at the bottom of my email requesting to join:
‘Thanks for considering me! If you have anything that you’d like some extra exposure on, send it over, I’ll happily share it around.’
I’ve not yet had somebody take me up on it but it’s resulted in a higher rate of favorable responses.
I like it! Thanks for the tip Mike!
Pinterest still is something I need help in, it’s just a bunch of pictures with words on them and there are no real SEO tools out there. This post helps big time though!
What a fantastic post, easy instructions , step by step guide
I love this thanks for sharing. #Nick Loper
This is nice to see the big impact of Pinterest traffic, need to learn more tricks to boost the traffic from Pinterest
I’m using this guide – my Pinterest account is fairly new, and I have only around 1800 pins till now. Also, I grew from 40,000 impressions on 1st May to 400,000 impressions on 30th May 2018. thank you :)
These are all great tips! I already do all of these things so I know I’m definitely in the right direction.
From my experience the three most important things to do are applying to group boards, pinning high quality pins that are not your own (Pinterest loves this), and creating attention grabbing pin graphics that stand out from the crowd (something I’m currently working on).
I’m really sad that Board Booster got canceled. It worked wonders for me! I switched to Tailwind as well and I joined as many tribes as I could. So far, it’s doing its job, but if I’m being completely honest it’s not doing as well as Board Booster did.
Thanks for sharing this awesome post!
Thanks so much for this guide. I’ve dabbled in pinterest traffic a couple of time and I just couldn’t make it work. I’ve also tried the method you expouse in this article but it seems success keeps slipping through my hands. I think this time around, I’ll not only need dedication but also consistency to make it work.
This is amazing, I just have one small question. Is Pinterest good for generating relevant traffic to a youtube channel? Do we need to do something else for that or the same strategy is going to work? thanks!
I am kinda newbie when it comes to Pinterest marketing, so this article is very helpful to people like me who are starting their Pinterest journey.
P.S: pl. share the link of a subscriber list, love to receive an article on social media marketing.
This is a great post. Thank you very much for this important information.thanks and thanks again
Great article. Pinterest is my major traffic source and a great platform for publishers to promote content. But the latest update changed a lot of things. Now, it is behaving a bit harder to give the results we used to get before.
Its a great article. I think Pinterest is the top method for social media targeted traffic. if you want to sell your product tray to Pinterest paid or free methods. thinks you good result.
Thanks a lot for the step by step guide. It was super helpful!
I’m starting with a new Pinterest profile so it’ll be interesting to see the results.
I’m a testimony Pinterest works even in non-mom niches. I think any niche can get its fair share of traffic from Pinterest with the right strategy. Great post!
Does Pinterest work primarily for a service business or consumer shopping mainly?
Is Pinterest working these days well for you? I know obviously you’re a brand now, but do you think Pinterest will be good for future as well? I am hearing a lot of news about spam filter and many stuffs. Looking to hear what you think.
This is an amazing read. I just want to say that Pinterest was a game changer for. It helped me drive 20K – 50K visitors to my blog per month.
Although, even since Pinterest updated its algorithm in June 2020, it has changed the way how Pinterest used to serve content to its users and now focusing more on other type of content they have introduced recently like idea pin. And because of this, Blog traffic went down to from 20K to 5k or 10k per month.
What’s your about Pinterest recent changes?
Good information was shared, thanks for this.
This is an excellent read. I didn’t know about doing the 10 Boards technique.