One of the best ways to use Pinterest for business is to understand the timing of pinning.
Using Pinterest for business can be challenging because as you know Pinterest’s changed its algorithm in the Spring of 2018. Yes, again 🙂
Pinterest is constantly experimenting, as they should, but what that always means to you is changing what you do to keep up with new Pinterest’s best practices. Using Pinterest for business can get overwhelming and confusing. Businesses using Pinterest for business have to realize that there is no such thing as a cookie cutter approach. So in this blog post I’m going to reveal some of the basic things you should be doing and then decipher the other aspects of using Pinterest as a marketing tool to help you decide if you need to modify or change any of the Pinterest marketing tactics for your business.
History of the Pinterest Home Feed/Smart Feed in 2010
Let me give you a little history about how Pinterest decides which pins show up in your home feed. Pinterest was so easy to figure out in the beginning. In March 2010 when Pinterest was born, when you pinned an image all your followers would see those pins in chronological order at the same time you were pinning. So for example using Pinterest for business if you pinned an image at 10 a.m. PST, your followers would see it at 10 am PST. Simple. Yay! You didn’t have to guess if your followers were seeing your images. This system gave Pinners the confidence that their pins were going to be seen.
Pinterest Algorithm 2014
In August of 2014 Pinterest created a new algorithm that completely changed the way your pins showed up. They also changed the name from home feed to smart feed. Okay, first why even change the name. As if we don’t have enough to keep up with:)
Business owners using Pinterest for business were very upset by this change because they saw a dramatic drop in engagement. Pinterest wasn’t going to make it easy for businesses. Instead, they were serving the end users, your customers as a priority. Their goal was to make the smart feed more of a reflection of what each user cares about versus showing them the pins in real time as they were pinned by the people and businesses they followed.
How Did The Smart Feed Work?
Pinterest’s smart feed algorithm looked at three things: the quality of your pin, the quality of where the pin was originally published (website or blog) and a rating assigned by Pinterest. Let me explain what that really means.
Pin quality basically means how much engagement it received (the number of repins).
Source quality was determined by how often people pin and repin content from a website or blog.
Pinterest means Pinterest chose what they felt was best based on the current pin and the performance of other pins from that source.
Here’s What the Pinterest Engineers Explained in Their Official Blog:
The smart feed should be a reflection of what each user cares about. Content is sourced from inputs such as people and the boards users follow, interests, and recommendations. To ensure we maintain fast, reliable and personalized home feeds, we built the smart feed with the following design values in mind:
- Different sources of pins should be mixed together at different rates.
- Some pins should be selectively dropped or deferred until a later time. Some sources may produce pins of poor quality for a user, so instead of showing everything available immediately, we can be selective about what to show and what to hold back for a future session.
- Pins should be arranged in the order of best-first rather than newest-first. For some sources, newer pins are intuitively better, while for others, newness is less important.
Bottom line; Pinterest decided what they think is a better pin for you to discover rather than seeing new pins from Pinners you are following. A lot of Pinners who use Pinterest for business were not happy about this because users felt they should have control over what was in their home feed. For me, there’s no sense complaining; instead we just made adjustments based on this new reality.
Pinterest Algorithm Changes Again In 2018
Pinterest’s algorithm has dramatically changed again in the Spring of 2018. If you’re wondering if there is a best time to pin, the answer is yes! But here are two things you need to keep in mind when pinning your content live or using a scheduling tool.
First, pinning to serve your followers, and second pinning in general so that Pinterest pushes your content to other people’s home feed and search results.
First: When to Pin Your “FOLLOWERS” According to Pinterest
With the advent of the “Following” tab, the first 5 images you pin should be your own, meaning ones that link back to your website because Pinterest will distribute the first five pins you saved.
What that means is your followers will see your first five pins starting at midnight UTC.
So for example, since I am in PST I should be pinning at 5 p.m. PST based on the recommendation as shown in the screenshot below.
So here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter if you pin more than five pins at a time because Pinterest will only show your first five pins to your followers. The Pinner following you will see the next five pins from the other Pinners they follow.
So how will the Pinners following you see the other pins you saved after Pinterest exposes your first five pins to your followers? Basically after they see all the other pins from the people/businesses they are following. I guess Pinterest is making it fair for everyone 🙂
So the lessons are these:
- Make sure that the first five pins you publish live are your content and not pins from other businesses. (Because your content links back to your website and you want traffic right?)
- Make sure those first five pins feature different content. Your followers will quickly unfollow you if they see the same image five times because of the new FOLLOWERS tab.
- I’ve been monitoring this so called ‘first 5’ since Pinterest announced the way they distribute your pins. Based on what I have seen Pinterest is only showing the first 3, not 5.
Second: pinning in general
Remember that pinning for your followers is not the only way Pinterest users see your pins. If you get high engagement on your pins because you optimize them correctly your pins will also get shown higher up in the search results as well.
If you want people to see your pins, think of when they might be on Pinterest and schedule your pins accordingly. For example, if she’s a full-time mom she’ll most likely be on Pinterest while the kids are in school or after she puts the kids to bed. If your audience works 9 to 5 then you can assume that she’s pinning before or after work, and maybe during her coffee breaks.
Don’t get too hung up on the first five, the UTC and all. If your audience is on Pinterest at 10 a.m. then pin or schedule them for 10 a.m. Don’t just pin based on the UTC. Your followers will always see your pins under ‘FOLLOWING’ no matter what time you pin.
How Often Are Pinners on Pinterest
I bring this up because many people are so locked in thinking that there is only a certain time to pin. Especially today, “I’ll pin my own five images starting at midnight UTC and I’m done”.
But one thing people need to also consider is how often pinners use Pinterest. According to Pew Research Center between the dates March 17 – April 12, 2015:
- 27% of Pinterest users visit Pinterest daily
- 28% of Pinterest users visit Pinterest weekly
- 46% of Pinterest users visit Pinterest less often
46% is a huge number! Even if I timed my pinning activities when my target audience might be on Pinterest a great number of them may not see it.
Here’s another study according to Ahalogy 2015 Pinterest Media Consumption Study:
- More than ⅓ of active Pinners & 60% of daily Pinners visit Pinterest once a day
If you compare the two studies above the numbers aren’t even similar. What does this tell you? We who use Pinterest for business have to realize that if your images are not getting engagement it’s because a certain portion of Pinterest users are not necessarily on Pinterest when you pin your stuff. So to ensure that your content gets its maximum exposure you will have to loop those pins again, meaning repin them again in the near future.
Here are additional tips to give your pins the best chance at getting seen:
- Pin less during the holiday season (Christmas Day, New Year’s Day), observances (Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc), or long weekends like 4th of July. It’s not the best use of your time because they are most likely busy celebrating.
- Pinning activities during the summer is less compared to other months because Millennial Moms are busier with kid’s activities and vacations. Don’t get bummed out if your pin engagements are lower than usual during this period.
- If you’ve been on Pinterest and consistently pinning for at least 6 months, check your Pinterest analytics to see where your largest demographic resides and adjust your strategy accordingly.
To find out where the majority of your followers are from use your Pinterest analytics tab called AUDIENCE INSIGHTS. As you can see in the image below the majority of the audience is in the United States. In addition, west coast and east coast time zone is almost the same. What that means is you should be pinning time zones from the west coast to east coast.
- When looping or repinning the same pin make sure you do it one month after your original pin and create a new pin description. Why? People don’t want to keep seeing the same images over and over in a short period of time. I recommend that you use Traffic Wonker to loop your pins.
- Pinterest prefers that you pin consistently every day. Don’t just pin a bunch of images one day and then take the rest of the week off.
- For ecommerce sites pin on Saturdays and Sundays. If you don’t have enough pins for both days make Saturday a priority.
6) Pinterest claims that these categories receive the most engagement on these days of the week:
Tuesday: gadgets are all the rage in technology
Wednesday: inspirational quotes
Friday: GIFs bring some comic relief to the end of the week with humor. Humor is one of the fastest growing categories on Pinterest and holds the top spot on Friday. More than 3 million humor Pins are saved each day. And, in the five months since the GIFs launch, more than 400,000 GIFs were pinned every day.
Sunday: food and craft ideas
When you look at the topics that Pinners are most engaged with during specific days it makes sense doesn’t it?
The lesson for those of us using Pinterest for business: pin content based on when Pinners might be looking to plan or discover more information on a specific topic.
The bottom line:
You need to experiment. A lot of this is common sense. One thing I know for sure is this; pin high quality images that are both captivating and helpful because that’s what Pinterest wants to push on the Pinner’s home feed. Pinterest is a visual platform designed to help people architect the kind of life they dream of. If your images don’t represent that then it doesn’t matter what time of the day you pin. If your content sucks, you’re not going to get people saving and clicking on your pins.
If learning how to use Pinterest for business is overwhelming for you and you feel like you are going around and around with Pinterest and not getting anywhere contact me, a Pinterest marketing and account management expert about my Pinterest management services or to learn more about how you can be more effective on Pinterest check out my Pinterest Marketing for Business Course Chapter one is FREE.
Photo credit: Bigstock