CASE STUDY: Increasing Traffic to Your Website Using Pinterest

Pinterest has the ability to be one of the largest sources of traffic to a website because of the viral nature of the platform. Over the past four months, Pinterest has been our #1 traffic source to our authority blog.

That said, our Pinterest traffic isn’t really growing with the overall increased traffic to the blog; it’s simply holding steady. That is because our older content has gone viral on Pinterest, but not our new content (you know, the content we actually want people to find).

We are doing a case study on how to increase traffic to our website using Pinterest, and convert the traffic into email subscribers

Our Pinterest Website Traffic Problems in More Detail…

So again, upon first glance, it seems that we’re doing AWESOME on this platform because it is our #1 referral source. But here’s where the problems are

  • Most traffic isn’t for desired pages or content: Pins that are “viral” on Pinterest are not really the pins we are wanting to get traffic for. We want to grow a list of subscribers that is really interested in the off grid homestead life, not things like recipes or cute crafts. Get it? Viral content doesn’t mean much if it’s not bringing you the traffic you want.
  • Our content IS engaging but not getting found on Pinterest: We can take a look at our analytics for just a few seconds and understand that our content is top-notch and that our audience is highly engaged. So why aren’t we getting Pitnerest traffic? It’s because nobody knows the content exists! If a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
  • Pinterest traffic has ADHD: When people pin, they turn into a pin zombie. All they do is pin, but they often don’t engage with the content they are pinning. IF they open op the content, they often don’t stay on the page long becuase of the ADHD-nature of Pinterest.
  • We don’t know if Pinterest traffic is converting to email subscribers: Prior to recently, we didn’t have a way to measure email subscribers by referral type. We have a hunch that much of our Pinterest traffic isn’t converting to email subscribers on our blog because our blog is somewhat irrelevant to our popular pins, so why would they?

Increasing Traffic to Our Website: Biggest Pinterest Opportunities

  • If we can get our content noticed, it will go “viral”: We know that if we can just get a few key people to share our content that it will go “viral”. We don’t mean that we will suddenly get one million hits a month to our blog from Pinterest, but the pins will gain quite a bit of traction.
  • We should be able to then convert that traffic to email subscribers: We just recently installed a welcome mat on our blog which should then convert some of the ADHD Pinterest users to email subscribers. Our welcome mat is relevant to the new content we want to go viral on Pinterest, so that’s a pretty good combination.

Where We Are Today with Website Traffic from Pinterest

This is traffic to our blog from August 1, 2015 to date (December 22, 2015). As you can see, our #1 traffic source is Pinterest. While that’s great and all, we think we can be getting at least 5x the traffic from Pinterest!

You can also see that our traffic has been pretty steady. Our blog has grown like CRAZY over the past three months but Pinterest traffic has not.

Pinterest traffic over the past four months.
Total traffic over the past four months.

The reason our Pinterest traffic isn’t growing is because some of our pins went viral months ago, but our new content (you know, the stuff that people really like) isn’t gaining any traction. Our top two pins are “how to make healthy cat food” and “immune system boosting juice”. While we do have great blog posts on both subjects, we really want to be targeting the “off the grid” and “homesteading” crowd.

Here is what our Pinterest email conversion rate has looked like since we implemented tracking just under two weeks ago.

The Plan: Be Invited & Pin to Group Boards

If you create a Pinterest account, create a bunch of awesome images to pin, and use appropriate hash tags but you have no followers on your account… GOOD LUCK MY FRIEND. You will never be noticed!

What you need to do is ask to be invited to group boards.

What are Pinterest Group Boards?

Group boards are boards that many people can contribute to. Often, there will be hundreds of contributors and thousands upon thousands of followers. If you can pin to a board that has 20,000 followers, that’s a heck of a lot better than posting to your own Pinterest board that has maybe 30 followers. Your pins are guaranteed to get noticed.

For a more in-depth explanation, visit How to Use Pinterest Group Boards to Get More Exposure for Your Business by Jeff Bullas.

Basically… go where the crowd is and don’t try to create your own crowd. If your target audience is already corralled together in one place, why not join the club and share your content?

However, there is a small hurdle to the group board strategy: You have to be invited to join these group boards. You don’t simply join. That means that you need to do a little bit of outreach.

The Plan of Attack: Start with PinGroupie

PinGroupie is a tool that allows you to search for group boards by broad topic. You can then filter the boards based on pins, collaborators, followers, likes, repins, etc. You can also access each group board directly from the tool which is helpful.

Here is what we’re going to do to find relevant boards to request an invitation to.

Search for relevant subjects

Keep this to a broad category that is still relevant to your niche. For us, we will look for groups under “off grid” and “homesteading” or “homestead”.

You will want to order the results by followers

The more followers the group board has, the more exposures you will get! You could also try filtering by Repins. If a board has a lot of followers by no repins, that may mean that the board doesn’t have a very active community. Generally, the more followers a board has the more repins it has, as that’s just the nature of Pinterest.

Open up a bunch of boards that look relevant

Nobody likes spam, so don’t plan on pinning to irrelevant boards. That will just annoy people and get you banned from the board.

Try to figure out what you need to do to join the group board

Some make it obvious like this board below.

We won’t qualify to be part of this group board but that’s okay. We’ll find a different board.This is what you will often see; the moderator letting you know that you need to follow the board, follow them, or follow all of their boards, and then comment on one of their pins letting them know that you’d like to be added to a particular board that they manage.

What you will see MOST often is NO instructions whatsoever on how to join! If the board only has a few contributors, there is an unlikely chance that you will be added. If, however, there are many contributors, chances are good that you can become a contributor too.In this case, you will need to send a message to the owner of the board. This is usually the first profile picture you will see under “contributors”. Sometimes, when you click on their profile, they will have instructions on how to be added to the group boards. You will simply need to dig a bit.

If they have no instructions in their profile (as this group board owner does not), simply comment on something that they have pinned, and try tagging them as well. This should show up in their notifications and if they see it, they will likely honor the request.

You can tag them in a message by typing “@(their username)”. To find their username, hover over their profile picture and their username will be shown in the URL.

Hit comment, and then simply wait! They should see a notification such as the one below. Either they invite you to contribute or they don’t.

Pinterest Group Board Invitation Success Rate

It goes without saying, but you won’t be invited to contribute to every board that you request to be a contributor on. I’m sure many group boards go unattended, or the request could simply get washed down the notification feed.

Here are the group boards we requested to be contributors to and we’ll update whether or not we were invited to contribute as this case study goes on.

Group board invitation successes:

Family Preparedness (24.8k followers)
I requested to be invited to this group board a couple of months ago at least.

Off the Grid Living (10k followers)
We were invited to join this group board almost immediately, which is always the idea. I haven’t pinned a bunch of content to this board yet but it’s on the to-do list!

{Homesteading}  (10.5k followers)
This took about a week before we received an invitation.

Group board pending requests:

Homestead & Garden Ideas (13.6k followers)

Homestead Ideas 1 (2.6k followers)

Homesteading (77.8k followers)
It took about a week to get a response from this group board owner. This makes sense as they seem to be more of a business rather than a blogger/hobbyist. As you will see in the image below, they requested that I send them an email to be contributed to the group board. This is a good sign but doesn’t mean we’re in yet!

So I sent them an email and here’s what that looked like.

Two weeks has gone by with this group board request but because it’s the MOTHER of group boards in our niche, I’ve sent yet another email. I sent the first one around the holidays so you can guarantee that it was lost in the inbox.

Homesteading/Preppers Board (4.9k followers)

Modern Homesteading (7.1k followers)

Homesteading (29.3k followers)

Homesteading | Self Reliance | Preparedness (21.8k followers)
Pinged again on 1/6/15

The Homestead Survival (14k followers)
Pinged again on 1/6/15

Homesteading and Preparing (7k followers)

The Results: Watch Our Pinterest Traffic Soar

We began this case study on December 22, 2015. We will update the case study as time goes on with how things are progressing.

Stay tuned for updates! Subscribe to our blog if you want to be notified of our progress!

Update 1/7/15: Two Weeks In

It’s been two weeks since I’ve done initial outreach and we’ve been accepted to three group boards for a total of promoting our pins to 45.3k followers (compared to 300 followers on my personal account).

It looks like our Pinterest traffic has more than doubled in a short time. Whether or not this will continue to increase is hard to say, which is why we will keep the case study updated. Some things take off after the initial pins, and others die down.

The other great thing is that our #1 and #2 Pinterest traffic sources are from homestead-realted pins. These are both pins we WANT to be getting traffic for.

The other great thing is that because we’ve implemented the Welcome Mat by SumoMe to gain email subscribers (read how we have increased our overall email subscriber rate from 0.65% to over 5%), AND we’re able to track the email subscriber conversion percentage (a pro feature), we know that we have a 2.3% average conversion rate (Pinterest traffic to blog email subscribers), and we’ve collected 194 new subscribers since we’ve began our case study.

Update 2/4/15: Six Weeks In

Here is what our traffic from Pinterest looks like over the past month. It does seem that the traffic has dropped off a bit but that is perfectly okay. Prior to this experiment we were getting an average of 150 hits per day from Pinterest to our blog. Even though the climb has died down, we are holding steady at 700 hits per day. This is a crazy improvement.

In January, our Pinterest traffic has brought us 784 new email subscribers for a total conversion rate of 2.33%.

Wrapping It Up: Lessons Learned

I think the important thing to takeaway from this Pinterest case study is that posting to Pinterest should be a rinse and repeat method. Doing this once may not make traffic to your website skyrocket, but by continuously using Pinterest this way in your marketing strategy, you will drive more traffic to your website over time.

Just remember… don’t bother building your own audience right away but go where your target audience already resides! By proactively seeking invitations to Pinterest group boards, you will get more exposure to your pins than you ever thought was imaginable.

Leave a Comment