Malorie Luchich, one of the members of the PR team at Pinterest presented at BlogHer 2015. I wasn’t at the conference, but Peg Fitzpatrick, author of the Art of Social Media, was there and she shared Malorie’s presentation. And in the presentation it may have answered one of my most pressing questions.
“Does uploading an image on Pinterest hurt the pin’s overall visibility and reach compared to those pinned from a website?”
Does Uploading a Pin Affect Its Visibility and Reach on Pinterest?
For me, and no doubt for you, this is an important question. And though I don’t have any solid evidence that it does, I’m going to trust my gut instinct and say that, yes, uploading a picture onto Pinterest and then having it linked back to a website does generally hurt a pin’s reach on Pinterest.
Why I Think Uploading Pins Hurts Their Reach on Pinterest
Reason 1: Pinterest Suggests You Don’t Upload Pins
Malorie Luchich from Pinterest gave out some great Pinterest tips in her presentation. On the second to last slide of her presentation, she summarizes her presentation with 10 helpful tips.
Tip 4 is “don’t upload photos” followed by tip 5 “pin professional quality images from your site.”
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these two points were made one after the other. When you upload a photo onto Pinterest and then change the redirection of the pin to a specific url then Pinterest can’t verify that the image actually comes from the website itself.
However, when someone does pin an image directly from your site, Pinterest’s backend can pick that up and recognize that this is the real deal and that the image does come directly from your site.
Reason 2: My Case Study Hints It Does
I started to pin to a group board on Pinterest that had about 100,000 followers.
I noticed something that was quite interesting. It seemed that pins that came from a website were outperforming, in terms of repins, pins that were originally uploaded. Even though the uploaded pins were longer and taking up more Pinterest real estate than the pins pinned from a site.
I looked at a small subset of the top 15 of the best performing pins, in terms of repins, for two groups. The first group were pins that were pinned from a website, and the second group were pins that were uploaded and had their website url direction inserted. (For the second group, in some cases, I couldn’t confirm for sure that they were uploaded. I just know that the images used were not picked up by the official pin it button for Chrome browser.)
All the pins were pins that I had pinned onto the group board over a 3 month period.
The majority of the top performing pins (with the exception of one) were pinned between the hours of 5 pm and 8:30 pm (PST). I was trying to maintain some consistency.
The top 15 pins from group one, the pins coming from a website, resulted in an average of 103.3 repins per pin.
The top 15 pins from group two, pins that were uploaded, resulted in an average of 51.6 repins per pin.
It seems that pins that had their images uploaded received half as many repins as those that were pinned from websites.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions Yet…
You have to keep in mind that this is a small sample set and shouldn’t be considered significant. It would require a larger data set with thousands of pins before we can jump to any solid conclusions.
Since I only used the top 15 best performing pins, this could have also skewed the results. Factors such as the cumulative number of repins a pin receives on Pinterest, and how many times a pin’s image is linked to a specific url are also factors in how many repins they get and may have skewed results.
For example, the top performing pin for group one had a total of 265 repins in the group board but has approximately 37,000 cumulative repins on Pinterest. That image on Pinterest has been used since January of 2014.
While another image, one that was much longer that was uploaded to Pinterest but redirected to the same url was created on February of 2015. So the long image doesn’t have the same type of “weight” in terms of cumulative repins compared to the original image that was created therefore potentially showing up less in Pinterest’s smartfeed and reducing the number of repins.
My Suggestions Regarding Uploaded Pins
I still think you should upload pins and redirect them to a specific url, especially if you have a lot of product shots that you can’t use. But if you are running a blog post, I strongly suggest that you actually pin directly from your own website instead of uploading the image and then editing the website it links to.
If you want to keep a shorter image, but then have one that’s designed for Pinterest and recognized by the Pinterest backend, then you can try use this method I outlined in this blog post about how to get readers to pin a specific image from your blog.
What are you thoughts? Do you think pinning from your own site gives it more exposure on Pinterest?
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