The State of Pinterest: What Content Marketers Need to Know Now

The buzz about Pinterest seems to have calmed down a bit in the last few months, but it’s still a very powerful tool for content marketers.

According to a study by the social media analytics firm Simply Measured, 69 of the world’s top 100 brands now have Pinterest accounts, and Pinterest is still driving more traffic to websites and blogs than Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or YouTube.

For right now, Pinterest doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and the stats for marketers are still very encouraging. One in five Pinterest users have purchased something they’ve seen on the site, and when they do buy, they spend around $80 per purchase — twice that of Facebook buyers.

And now, Pinterest is shaking things up — there have been some very interesting changes to the service in the last few months.

Let’s take a look at some of these recent additions and modifications, and what they mean for content marketers.

Pinterest launches new tools for businesses

Pinterest has added new business accounts for brands who want to use pinning to market their companies. You can convert your current personal account to a business one, or you can start a brand new account as a business.

It’s easy to convert your account – just go to Pinterest’s new business center and click on “Convert My Account.” Or to create a new business account, click on “New to Pinterest? Join as a business.”

As a business account, your profile won’t look different than a regular Pinterest profile, and your boards and pins will still look the same.

Pinterest gives business account owners some new buttons, badges and widgets for their websites and blogs, as well as giving them access to some visual marketing best practices and case studies.

If you’re thinking about starting a business account, make sure to read over the new business Terms of Service before you commit — they are different than the regular Pinterest TOS.

What this means for content marketers …

While there isn’t a huge motivation to switch to a business account right now — it doesn’t really get you anything particularly earth-shattering — I do anticipate Pinterest releasing more tools for brands and business owners in the near future. I’m encouraging bloggers and business owners to go ahead and get (or switch to) a Pinterest business account.

Pinterest gets a new look

Pinterest is in the process of rolling out a brand new interface for users, and you can switch to the new look whenever you’re ready to dive in. But a word of warning — once you switch to the new look, it’s a permanent change — you can’t switch back to the old one.

Rumor has it the new interface is a little buggy (I’ve heard reports of problems pinning to boards after users make the switch), so consider this carefully before committing.

If you want to change to the new look, just hover your cursor over your name (or business name) in the upper left corner on any Pinterest window. Then scroll down to “Switch to the New Look.”

Pinterest will ask you to confirm your choice – click on “Get It Now” to confirm.



 

The new look gets you several new things:

  1. Larger pins.Once you make the switch, you’ll see that all of your pins are visibly larger. The bigger images are featured on your Pinterest home page, and when you click on a pin to enlarge it. Each enlarged pin is now 735 pixels wide (up from 600 in the previous version). Pinterest made this change to give you a cleaner, easier-to-view interface, but I’ve see some users complaining that the images are now TOO large — especially if you’re viewing Pinterest on a small laptop screen.
  2. Better discovery. When you click on the pin to enlarge it, you’ll see lots of new things, including related content in the area to the right of the original pin. You’ll see things like:
    • Pins from the same board — images grouped on the same board, by this user
    • Pins from the same source — stuff pinned from the same website)
    • Also pinned — images pinned by the same users who pinned this image)

    With these new discovery features, Pinterest is helping you find content that’s similar to the pin you’re currently viewing. Some users love this feature, and say it helps them discover new content on Pinterest they wouldn’t have found otherwise — other users say it clutters up their user experience.

  3. No more “repin” button. In the old Pinterest interface, a “repin” button appeared in the upper left corner of each pin when you hovered over it. Pinterest has now replaced the “Repin” button with one that just says “Pin It.”
  4. Settings are separated. Now you need to edit your Pinterest settings in two different places — account settings (like email notifications) are still in the upper right corner dropdown menu, and profile settings like your website and photo are in a separate place. To edit your profile settings, just click on the pencil icon in the lower left corner of your profile.



 

What this means for content marketers …

The new look is getting mixed reviews. I’ve seen reports of some minor and major bugs (everything from interface weirdness to not being able to pin to all of your boards) and unfortunately, the Pinterest help desk isn’t super responsive — so may not be able to get immediate answers if you have problems.

Pinterest’s new look makes discovery easier for users — this means the images you pin need to be compelling and interesting, so they’ll stand out and entice people to click on them.

Make sure to embed interesting and compelling photos and badges in your blog posts, so your readers will pin them to Pinterest (and you’ll get more traffic back to your site).

It’s also really important for you to pin original content to Pinterest (not just repin other people’s pins). Statistics say that up to 80% of content on Pinterest is just repinned from other Pinterest users — which means that when you pin interesting content from outside sources, it will really stand out and help you get followers.

Website verification and Pinterest analytics

You can now verify ownership of your website within your Pinterest account. When your website is verified, other Pinterest users see a checkmark next to your domain in your Pinterest profile.

Yes, verifying your website is a good thing to do — but it’s not absolutely critical (unless you are Oprah or Matt Damon). But verifying your website allows you access to other important Pinterest features, so it’s a good idea to do it.

If you have an HTML website, follow these directions from Pinterest to verify your site. If you have a WordPress website, use this plugin to add metadata to your site and verify it.

Don’t get tripped up with this plugin — you only need to enter a small part of the tag Pinterest gives you (the alphanumeric string in the content attribute).



 

Once you’ve verified your site and switched to the new look, you get access to a really great new Pinterest feature — their new Analytics module. Just scroll over your business name on the top right corner of any Pinterest screen, and select “Analytics” in the drop down menu.

This will take you to the analytics data page. From this screen, you’ll be able to view (and download) these stats:

  • The number of pins and pinners from your website
  • The number of repins and repinners from within Pinterest
  • The number of website visitors that were sent from Pinterest
  • Recent images that have been pinned from your site
  • The most repinned and the most-clicked pins
  • The total number of times your pins have appeared on the site and the number of times they were seen (impressions)

For a great video tutorial that teaches you more about using the new Analytics tool, check out the Pinterest Web Analytics page.

What this means for content marketers …

With the new Pinterest analytics tool, we can quickly and easily see data on our Pinterest activity, and we can tell if what we’re pinning is making a difference in traffic to our websites.

You’ll can tell what pins are doing well on Pinterest (and what’s not doing well). You’ll be able to tell what type of content gets the most repins, and be able to figure out the best time of day for you to pin.

It’s easier than ever to test different things on Pinterest and then measure whether or not they’re successful — so this Analytics module is definitely worth getting!

Pinterest is still a great tool for marketers

Last year, we published a post featuring a long list of ways to use Pinterest to market your business. You can still use all of those methods, and now with the newest changes to the Pinterest platform, you have improved ways of tracking your progress and charting your strategy.

Content curation is still the name of the game with Pinterest. People who do well on Pinterest (and develop a huge following) are good curators, which means they select the best content in their field, and share it on well-organized, attractive boards.

Pinterest can be an amazing source of traffic and engagement for bloggers and content creators. So take this visual marketing tool out for a spin, and track your progress to see how it works for you.

Want to know how to use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your site? Join me for my upcoming webinar, 10 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Website by Leveraging the Power of Pinterest on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at 1 PM Eastern time.

About the Author: Beth Hayden is a Senior Staff Writer for Copyblogger Media. Get more from Beth on Twitter and Pinterest.

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