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Using Analytics to Craft Your Pinterest Strategy
Written by JD Prater, Former Head of Paid Social
Pinterest is currently experiencing tremendous growth. PEW Research Center estimates that nearly 31% of online adults use Pinterest (up 10% from 2013). With nearly 1/3 of adult users, Pinterest has rightfully earned a seat at the social media marketing table in 2016, and you should be ready to
make the most of this growing platform.
Did you know 87 percent of Pinners reported that Pinterest helped them decide what to purchase (Millward Brown)? Which is what makes Pinterest such an attractive platform for marketers. It has the unique ability to influence future purchases. This may explain why Pinterest saw such tremendous gains with advertisers in 2015. Here’s what the growth pattern looked like.
Moreover, I think Pinterest is one of the most exciting social platforms to watch in 2016.
• Introduced new types of Pins, including Promoted and Buyable Pins
• Expanded their targeting capability with over 400 interest categories
• Announced the future capability to target uploaded email addresses
As Pinterest strives to monetize their platform without scaring away existing users, they continue
to listen to the challenges of advertisers and brands. Another key challenge they tackled early on
Pinterest realized how important it was for marketers to understand how their audience interacted and engaged with their brand while on the platform. In an effort to make that analysis easier, they rolled out their own Analytics platform and regularly add new features to make the product more
A lot of SEM marketers find it to be “clunky” or “confusing”, because they’re spoiled by the maturity
of other platforms like Google AdWords and Google Analytics. They expect Pinterest’s features to
possess the look and feel of Google. However, those are not realistic expectations for a platform still
in its infancy.
While Pinterest Analytics may lack advanced features, it does provide rich audience insights that can guide not only your Pinterest strategy, but also your content marketing strategy. Below is a walkthrough of the Pinterest Analytics platform, highlighting some of the key features for marketers, and explaining how to use them to better understand your pinning audience.
PINTEREST ANALYTICS DASHBOARD
When you first log into your account (analytics.pinterest.com), you’ll be greeted with three dashboards:
• Your Pinterest profile
• Your audience
• Your activity (not shown in this whitepaper)
These three dashboards serve as a launching point for diving into your Pinterest performance. Click
on “More” in order to enter that dashboard.
Your Pinterest Profile
Let’s dive into the first dashboard called, “Your Pinterest Profile.” Within this dashboard, you’re
presented with line charts and four different ways to segment the data.
To see the third dashboard you’ll need to confirm your website by adding a snippet of code on the
website. Once installed, you’ll see what people are pinning from your website—you’ll know how
all your content is doing on Pinterest, not just the Pins you’ve saved to your profile.
Impressions – this chart shows the total number of impressions and viewers on a given day. The left-hand side shows you the averages for both impressions and viewers.
Repins – this chart shows how your Pins spread across Pinterest. One line represents the amount of repins and the other shows the number of repinners or people who repinned your pin.
Clicks – this chart shows the number visits to your website from Pinterest. Again, one line is the total clicks and the other is the number of visitors. This does not show the total number of clicks on a pin.
All-time – go here to find your best-performing pins broken down by your most repinned or shared Pins, Pins that rank higher in search, and Power Pins (Pins with a high mix of repins, clicks and more).
Top Pins And Boards
Under each section, Pinterest highlights your top Pins and Boards for that segment. For example, if
you wanted to see your most repinned Pins, navigate over to “Repins” and scroll down to see your top 5 pins.
Pins with the most repins often represent content that Pinners find interesting enough to save and
share. This is important because it’s a good indication that someone is probably in research and
evaluation mode. They might be saving for recipes to try out later or the latest fashions to shop. Either way, they’re saving and sharing information so they can review later.
Repins play an essential role in driving future conversions, due to downstream organic activity.
In fact, the half-life of a pin is 3.5 months. That’s 1,680 times longer than Facebook (Social Marketing Writing).
Or, if you wanted to know which Boards earned the most clicks to your website, go to “Clicks” and
scroll down to see the top boards.
Bonus Tip! Use the Custom Date Range
If you need to view a specific date range outside of the preset 7 days, 14 days, and 30 days,
then follow these easy steps.
1. Start by selecting the date for beginning range.
Example: If you want to look at November 1st through December 15th then select November 1st. A circle will appear around the date.
2. Then select the end date of December 15th for the range. Now you should have a custom date range selected.
Pinterest breaks this audience down by demographics and interests. Demographics shows the people who see your Pins and people who act on your Pins. The chart below shows the number of viewers and the number of people engaged on a given day. Again, on the left-hand side we can see an average monthly number of viewers and engaged people.
Analyze this information to check out how engagement trends over time. Understanding where your audience is from can help you find new opportunities for marketing.
Below the chart is a breakdown of your audience by top locations, languages, and gender. According to Pinterest:
• Country – based on country settings the Pinner chose
• Metro – this is only available in the U.S. right now. It’s based on DMA data provided by Digital Envoy.
• Language – again, this is based on Pinner account settings
• Gender – this is based on Facebook settings and what the Pinner chose when they signed up for Pinterest.
Before you start analyzing the data and drawing insights, it’s important to understand the Pinner journey. How well do you understand the behaviors of your customers along their path to purchase on Pinterest?
FIRST COMES FIRST: MAPPING THE PINNER JOURNEY
There’s no one way to pin. People’s pinning habits are diverse and are centered on what they care most about (their interests). Keep in mind, people are in different stages of the buying cycle. Meaning just because people use Pinterest, doesn’t mean they’re ready or willing to buy from you. However, understanding the Pinner journey may help you craft your Pinterest strategy.
Let’s take a closer look at these stages and how to map success with Analytics.
Just Looking – Awareness
One question I frequently get is, “how do you know where people are in the journey based off of their interactions with your pins?” It’s a valid question. And one I plan on addressing.
The first stage is Just Looking. This is the top of the funnel on Pinterest and it encompasses nearly
every Pinner scrolling through their feed. People in this stage are in the discovery phase of their
journey. Measure this phase by looking at your overall profile impressions and audience impressions.
These two metrics will reveal how many views your Pins are receiving, as well as the number of people seeing them. Use these as indicators for how well your Pins are doing at creating awareness.
Maybe I Could – Consideration Phase
Imagine someone sees your Pin and stops scrolling to view it in more detail. The fact that you got someone to scroll is already a good thing. But how do you know they stopped scrolling? Pinners can express their interest in your Pin by liking it and zooming in for a Close Up.
A Close Up is when someone clicks on your Pin to expand the size to take up the whole screen. Since most Pinterest activity is done on a mobile device, it’s a really good metric when seeking to understand how many times your Pin made someone stop scrolling. I also like to review how many Close Ups and Likes each Pin earned to grasp how they’re resonating with our audience.
Here are a few other metrics to analyze to better understand audience engagement:
• Close Ups/Impressions
• Close Up to Likes Ratio
• Clicks/Close Ups
• Close Ups to Clicks Ratio
• Repins/Close Ups
• Repins to Close Ups Ratio
• Repins to Clicks Ratio
Using these metrics helps inform your image strategy on the platform as you seek to test different types of sizes and colors.
Pin Impressions and Daily Viewers
Narrowing It Down – Research And Evaluation Phase
Pinterest is a discovery platform. Some Pinners are naturally in a research and evaluation mindset when exploring their newsfeed. There are a few ways in which to measure this phase by analyzing your repins and clicks.
Below your main dashboards in Analytics is a snapshot of your 5 top performing pins over the last 30 days, sorted by the highest impressions. Aside from impressions, you’re able to see the repins, clicks, likes and pin type for each one.
Note! Promoted pins are designated with a “P” under pin type like in the example here.
I Know What I Want – Purchase
This phase is more like your typical paid search. People know what they want and are looking for options to purchase. They might not go on Pinterest to buy something, but seeing the right Pin at the right moment could lead to a sale. Plus, consider how all their pinning activity influenced their decision. It’s easy to see how a Buyable Pin or Promoted Pin might lead to a purchase.
As performance marketers, this is probably one of the first metrics we review. Look at which Pins drove the most clicks in your Pins and boards sections. Pins with the most clicks often represent content that Pinners want to learn more about, take action on, or purchase.
Pinterest Buy Now Button
Next, analyze the quality of your incoming traffic. We’ve found Pinterest is great at driving new and relevant website traffic, which makes it a perfect choice for ecommerce companies wanting new customers. Review your website engagement metrics to ensure quality traffic.
3 THINGS TO KNOW AS YOU MAP THE PATH TO PURCHASE
1. Brands must align their content to the types of information Pinners are looking for. Recently,
Pinterest asked Pinners to choose 3 words to describe what content needs to be on Pinterest—they said useful (54%), helpful (50%) and inspiring (45%). Therefore, brands that are able to create high-value pins for their audiences will see the most success.
2. The customer journey is only getting more complex. The funnel is no longer this linear line
where people progress from one buying stage to the next in an orderly fashion. People move back-and-forth and stay in some stages longer than others.
There are a variety of metrics to consider when determining ROI. We can’t just hold lastclick
attribution as the true measure of performance for any platform. This idea of one-size fits all approach is outdated, especially on Pinterest. People can enter any stage of the funnel and move from just looking to buying in a matter of minutes. Just look at the popularity of the Buy Now button and increasing nature of impulse buying.
Think With Google – The Customer Journey to Online Purchase for the Food & Drink Industry
3. By understanding the Pinner journey, Pinterest could be a jewel in your social commerce crown for 2016. Experiment with the variety of Pins available to improve your social commerce. Brands that focus on delivering high quality, engaging and inspiring Pins will positively influence the Pinner’s path to purchase in 2016.
MORE INSIGHTS TO IMPROVE YOUR STRATEGY
Audience Interests – What Your Audience Is Into
This is a relatively new feature in Pinterest. Think of this information like your Google Affinity
audiences. They are a visual representation of the popular categories that your followers are into. It’s designed to help give you more ideas about the content your audience may like. As a marketer, it’s important to understand whom you’re trying to reach. Some businesses go to great lengths to create detailed personas of their target audiences.
To help determine your audience persona on Pinterest, navigate over to your Interest segment under Your Audience in Pinterest Analytics. The first section of data is a visual representation of your audience’s interests. Pinterest claims that these interests are in no particular order or have weighted significance. Therefore, it’s best to view them all as equal when informing your strategy.
Review these interests to find out what you could Pin to engage your audience as a proactive tactic. For example, to inspire this audience, you might experiment with creating a “Woodworking Tech Gadgets” themed Pin. The Pin could link to a blog talking about the best new gadgets for woodworkers in 2016.
By creating content and sharing pins that your audience is more likely to find interesting, you’ll
probably get higher engagement rates on your Pins and boost referral traffic from Pinterest to your
Boards – Pinner Boards With Lots Of Your Pins
One way people can engage with your Pins is by repinning them. Repins are a sign that people found your Pins interesting enough to save and share with others. But have you ever wondered what board or type of board your Pins were repinned on?
Now you can easily find the top collection of boards that contain a large number of your Pins. Inside your Pinterest Analytics, under Your Audience, is a segment called Interests. Click on it and scroll down until you see a section called Boards.
This is one my favorite audience insights for two reasons. First, you can quickly see how people are organizing your content without having to hunt it down. In the example above, people are actively pinning to lifestyle and seasonal boards.
Visit these boards to understand what else is being pinned on them. You may consider organizing a few of your boards in this way to make it easier for your audience to interact and engage with your pins.
Second, you get a better idea of how people are thinking about your brand. Board titles provide
excellent context for how people actively perceive your brand.
Before moving on, ask yourself a few questions. Use these answers to inform your Pinterest strategy.
● Do you like how people are thinking about Pins or brand?
● Do you think it’s an accurate depiction of your brand or product(s)?
● What could you do to increase or decrease that perception?
Brands – Businesses Your Audience Engages
Competition takes various forms on Pinterest. Competitors include businesses selling the same
product(s) as you and the companies populating your audiences’ feed with Pins. Thankfully, Pinterest provides a list of brands that your audience engages with in the Interest segment under Your Audiences dashboard.
While most of the time this list is comprised of bigger publisher brands — think Buzzfeed and POPSUGAR — that probably aren’t your direct competitors, you are still competing with them for audience attention. Start by sifting through the brands and looking for trends in types of content. You’ll get a sense of the types of content and Pins your audiences interacts with on a daily basis. Look over their boards and pins, because they might inspire what you create next.
Again, ask yourself a few questions:
● What messages is your audience hearing?
● What do you like about their boards or Pins? What do you not like?
● Is there anything you can mimic or do differently?
● How can your Pins stand out from the competition?
Use these Pins to learn what your audience is hearing, seeing and interacting with to help inform your Pinterest strategy.
Power Pins – Pins with a High Mix of Repins, Clicks and More
Pinterest recently announced that they’re opening up Promoted Pins to all US businesses in January 2016. Promoted Pins are “Pins that businesses pay to appear where you’re more likely to notice them.”
They’re a great way to gain extra exposure and engagement on your Pins. If you’re unsure which Pins
to start boosting, turn to your Power Pins.
Power Pins are Pins with a high mix of repins, clicks, comments, likes and more. Essentially, they’re Pins with high user engagement and interactions. Pinterest ranks your all-time Pins for you and they can be found under Your Profile dashboard.
An easy way to start with Promoted Pins is with your Power Pins, as they have done well historically. This may reduce the risk of experimenting with the platform. Make sure to look for trends with these Pins, which you can use to refine your future content strategy.
Review the images to glean insights:
● Are they engaging photos?
● Is there a color pattern?
● What do you notice about the shape of the image?
● Are there words on the image?
Then, analyze the content of Pin:
● Is a there a theme?
● Is it seasonal or a certain type of content?
● Are the titles and Pin descriptions search-friendly?
Power Pins make an excellent place to start with Promoted Pins and gain an understanding about which Pins have already performed well.
Your Followers and All Apps
As you make your way through Pinterest Analytics and gain valuable insights about your audience, it’s
important to segment and analyze just your followers and devices.
Located under Your Audience analytics, there is an option to segment the data by all audiences or just by your followers. All audiences include everyone who has ever seen one of your Pins, while your followers is reserved for the people who follow your business and boards.
Limiting the data to just your followers allows for a deeper analysis of the people who care the most
about your business. Begin by evaluating their Interest collection, Pinner Boards and the businesses they engage with, like we did above.
Make sure to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between your followers and audiences. Knowing what your followers are interested in will give you a clue on what’s working well and how they think about your brand.
Lastly, contained within all of your Pinterest dashboards, you’ll have the option to segment your data by app or device. One benefit of segmenting your audience by device is to gain insight into how many people use Pinterest from their desktop computer versus their mobile phone versus their tablet.
Why is that important? Because Pins and Boards look very different across each of those screen sizes. By understanding which device your audience uses the most, you can start optimizing your pins for that device.
Examine your Pins on all the devices.
● Are there Pins performing better on certain devices? Why?
● How do they look? Are they too tall? Too small?
● Can you read the words on the Pin from your Smartphone?
● How do the colors look in the feed? Do they grab your attention?
● Does the description keep your attention and make you want to click-thru?
These are a few of the questions you should ask yourself when looking through the device segment.
Understanding their answers will help you to maximize your next Pin.
OVER TO YOU
Pinterest Analytics is evolving into a platform where savvy marketers can gain insights into what their customers want. The platform isn’t without its weaknesses. However, as more advertisers demand
more insights and analysis, Pinterest will have to keep adding features if they want to monetize their
In the meantime, marketers will need to get better at learning from the data provided by Pinterest to
inform strategies and tactics. Keep in mind Pinterest is all about discovery along the Pinner journey and influencing future purchases, and not necessarily today’s.
There are many insights that can be gleaned from your Pinterest Analytics if you know where to look
and how to frame the data. Employ these insights to inform your Pinterest strategy and improve your
content marketing strategies.