This is a transcript of episode 22 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on April 14, 2021
Two weeks ago, I went into the review of my Pinterest audit and what changes I was going to be making to improve those results. This week has you riding shotgun in my DeLorean because there’s actually a 2-month difference between the recordings of that episode and this one so that I could get you a likety-split passenger seat view to the impact those changes made to increasing my Pinterest traffic… and spoiler alert, but it’s going so well, it’s goofy!
Now I’m not going to recap my audit results and recommendations again – you can read “Behind the scenes: Auditing my PINTEREST account and traffic strategy” if you want the full details – but I will say that when I wrapped up my Pinterest audit with miss Jana from Jana O Media, I told her I’d like to book a follow-up audit in a month’s time… and she wouldn’t take my money! (I know, right?)
She reminded me that seeing results from Pinterest was a slow-and-steady process, and that I should align my expectations accordingly.
Fine. I didn’t book a follow-up right away… but I still felt entitled to have SOME expectations because, I mean, wasn’t I just bringing life back into an account that was once a pretty successful one? That had to count for something, right?
WHAT CHANGES I MADE
Here’s what I actually ended up doing, based on the results and recommendations of my Pinterest account audit:
- I went through all the pin description keyword optimization exercises I covered in episode 20; and
- I actually skipped the new graphic creation for time being because I just wanted to get my posting schedule underway as soon as possible.
Once I had all those pin descriptions updated, I used Tailwind to schedule one month’s worth of content in about 3 or 4 hours, tops, using the Tailwind scheduler.
MY “RIGHT TRACK” RESULTS
Now, I know you’re not supposed to open the lid when you’re making dumpling soup but I always open the lid… and so a week and half into scheduling, I ignored Jana’s advice (sorry Jana!) and looked at my numbers, and I’m glad I did because they confirmed I was on the right track.
—> According to my Pinterest insights, in less than 2 weeks, my total audience was up by 286%.
—> According to Google Analytics, the users coming to my website from Pinterest was up by 240%.
By the way, when it comes to data and you have 2 platforms measuring 2 different things, I always recommend you consult both to get the full story. I go more in depth with this with “My FACEBOOK ANALYTICS are different from what GOOGLE ANALYTICS says. What gives?” where I talk about the difference between Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics, and it’s a similar situation here: Pinterest Insights are giving you feedback as to how people are engaging with your Pinterest account, whereas the analytics software you’re using on your website is giving you feedback as to how the traffic coming from Pinterest is engaging with your website – totally different but equally valuable stories for you to hone in on.
OK, so I felt really good about having such a sweet spot starting line!
And that was actually enough for me to take a hands-off-the-wheel approach for the next few weeks. I could then focus on creating those new visuals Jana recommended in “Behind the scenes: Auditing my PINTEREST account and traffic strategy”.
This way, I would know that the changes from my first month could be attributed to my pin description changes, and then I would add these new visuals to the second month of changes.
That “moving forward” approach I preach isn’t just about getting started; it’s also about being able to isolate which changes made what impacts to your results.
THE FIRST MONTH
So what were those results after one month of keyword optimization?
—> According to Pinterest Insights, the total audience growth for my pin content was 41% and Tailwind Insights clocked my engagement rate at a new 30-day high of 26.7%, which was up almost 3% from the previous period.
—> Meanwhile, Google Analytics was reporting that the users for my Pinterest traffic was up by almost 79% overall, while it was up by 350% on Tuesday and 600% on Sundays.
My average session duration from Pinterest click-throughs was up almost 294%, pages visited per session were slightly up by 14.3% and my bounce rate has dropped by almost 13%.
Not only was I able to impact my click-throughs from Pinterest, but this was traffic that was sticking around longer, engaging with more pages, and they were demonstrating more interest in my content.
While Pinterest is a social media platform, it works the way organic and search does in the sense that people are seeking out topics or interests when your content comes up. This is a long-term strategy you typically don’t see huge gains from at the jump and Jana was right to give some fair warning to keep expectations in check.
But again, I wasn’t starting entirely from scratch. My Pinterest account was once a huge traffic generator – it was very “I was once a beautiful woman” – where the beauty could still be captured and that’s what my changes and results were addressing.
Now, in a normal circumstance, I would also compare my Pinterest traffic trends to my overall traffic trends but I wasn’t doing that for this period.
The reason was that I had been collaborating on a bundle during this time – and I think I’ll do another behind-the-scenes episode on how that went soon, too – but my traffic numbers definitely was NOT business-as-usual. My overall traffic was up something like 250% during this period so it was most definitely an outlier month that wasn’t a fair comparison or vantage point for that first month’s results.
THE SECOND MONTH
Fast-forward to another month later – so two months into my strategy adjustments – and I added those fresh pins into the mix with new visuals that were a little less branded than what I usually posted.
Lo and behold, some of those fresh pins were showing up in top performers. In fact, the template I saw coming up most was the one that used that #dataforcreatives hashtag that had minimal branding content. I will definitely be taking that into consideration in my next round of fresh pin creations.
As for my overall results, my Pinterest Insights saw the total audience growth for my pin content at 23%, which is a drop from last month’s 41% but I suspect those numbers are simply stabilizing and I’ll be keeping an eye on them. I’m not getting hot about it, though, because I set yet another new 30-day high engagement rate according to my Tailwind Insights at 28.4%, which is up from last month’s 26.7% engagement rate. Despite the audience size drop, I’m actually very happy with these results.
If I have to pick between engagement growth or audience size growth, I will always favor higher engagement.
As for the people coming to my website from Pinterest, Google Analytics recorded my user growth over the last 2 months at 36.8%, with those same top performing days recorded last month continuing with Tuesday’s traffic up by 367% and Sunday up by 267%.
My average session duration from Pinterest click-throughs is up a whopping 423% (which is 129% more than last month’s 294%), pages visited per session grew a touch at 15.6% (compared to last month’s 14.3%), and my bounce rate held perfectly steady with a 13% drop (compared to last month’s 13%).
So all this is telling me that I am getting slow-and-steady traffic growth and this is highly engaged traffic, and they’re staying on my site for much longer periods of time. Basically, I’m getting in front of the right people and they are picking up what I’m throwing down!
There also are definitely fewer click-throughs from most of my group boards – in fact, there was zero engagement from those pins! – but I think I need a little more time and data before I make any real strategic decisions as to how I’ll handle this because there was SOME activity happening there and I want to see the trend for this rather than focusing on an isolated period of time.
In fact, boards in general are next on the list to get some TLC, as well as putting in place some kind of system that will account for Tailwind SmartLoops and Tailwind Tribes – or what is now called Communities – into my scheduling strategy.
Which brings us to the LESSONS LEARNED portion of these behind-the-scenes episodes:
1) Play mad scientist
You remember when you were in school and how science class would work? You developed a hypothesis, you tested it and you evaluated the outcome. Consider your online business to be your very own science experiment because that’s the process you’re wash-rinse-repeating.
You can follow other people’s guidelines and recommendations but until you see how it pans out – FOR YOU! – you don’t actually know whether it applies to you.
For instance, while group boards on Pinterest are generally considered to be an outdated strategy, my results are telling me that they aren’t to be thrown out quite yet. And Jana encouraged me to do this on our initial audit call, too! She said they’re considered to be outdated but to test them and see for myself… and that’s always the approach I want to take: understand the risks and trends a specific strategy entails, but always take responsibility for my own results by playing the mad scientist and proving those hypothesis for myself.
2) Small steps over big leaps
It turned out to be a bit of a blessing that I didn’t have the bandwidth to do the keyword optimization work AND switch out my graphics, because it allowed me to sort of segment and isolate the results of each a little more effectively.
Now, don’t get me wrong, when you’re improving your “search-ability”, your outcomes and results tend to be compounded on your last ones. But I still think there’s more value in taking small consistent steps towards growth and progress, than there is in trying to make massive gains through big leaps.
It’s just a more sustainable way of being and working that I appreciate and gravitate to.
In the words of Axl Rose, “you and I could use a little patience”. I’m not much different than you are – I want to see huge gains and as soon as possible, too, please! – but I’m also in this for the long haul. I have to accept that this takes the time it takes, but I also have the responsibility to track, test and tweak. As much as Tailwind doesn’t require a bunch of maintenance outside of scheduling, this doesn’t mean I can take a hands-off-the-wheel approach to this digital marketing strategy.
As the boss, I have to monitor the results of my efforts, I have to give my efforts the time they need to turn into results, and I have a responsibility to make adjustments to my results to make sure they’re the results that I want.
And that’s “where I’m at” right now: I’m going to monitor the results over the next few months and build out a system for my Pinterest strategy that will keep those results coming in while also allowing me to take a step back from the actual scheduling itself.
Because Pinterest – and really, any search in general – is a long-term strategy with long-term results, I’m reminding myself that is a strong start; but I’m also looking forward to seeing what 6 months of consistency looks like, which – of course – I will share with you because you’re my favorite peeps to share this stuff with.
But I’ll put it out there and stand by this: in 6 months, I’m aiming to have 20-30% of my overall website traffic coming from organic Pinterest traffic, which is a significant jump from where it currently hovers around 5%. I’m staking this claim knowing that I will also be investing in ads – so paid traffic – during this time period.
This means that the next time we talk about my results from this particular marketing strategy will be sometime in the fall, where I’ll go in-depth with what my scheduling system finally looks like, and what results I’m seeing from my Pinterest strategy.