Today, we’re going to be digging into 2018 Pinterest predictions. I’m so excited to have my friend, Kristie Hill, on with me today. Kristie and I have bounced around in the same Pinterest circles for a while and are constantly sharing ideas back and forth. We are excited to share our predictions and thoughts with you today!
What Pinterest Is (& Isn’t)
First, let’s start off with a refresher course on what Pinterest is. Pinterest IS NOT a social media platform; it IS a search and discovery network. People go to Pinterest to discover and curate ideas. It is less about pretty pictures and more about actionable ideas that people can implement in their day to day lives.
You cannot apply Facebook marketing rules to Pinterest. It will leave you frustrated and without results. Pinterest is more comparable Google or Youtube. Knowing this will help you in your Pinterest marketing in 2018.
Keep in mind that Kristie and I don’t have a Magic 8 Ball that delivers these Pinterest predictions. What we do have is education and lots of experience on the platform from a marketer’s perspective. We want you to take these as what they are: predictions. We don’t want to overwhelm you, but rather, help you streamline, in order to have intentional growth in 2018.
2018 Pinterest Predictions
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Topics (or Categories) on Pinterest
One key thing to understand about Pinterest is uses a smart feed to deliver targeted content to its users. They want to make sure that your feed is curated to match your interests. So when Pinterest sees what you’re interested in and what you’re pinning, they want to keep showing you more of that content. They will direct you to follow more “categories” or “trends” that are similar to what you’re already looking at and loving. They will also show you things that are slightly different from what you were looking at so you can discover new ideas. You can check out some of the current trends here.
Followers Don’t Equal Traffic
Another thing worth mentioning is that Pinterest is not a follower-focused platform. It’s less about following people and more about following specific boards or ideas. I always try to remind people that followers do not convert to traffic. However, if you are interested in growing your followers for sponsors, I recommend MiloTree. We have talked about Milotree before on this podcast back in Episode 13. I’ve been using it for about 18 months and it took me from roughly 4,000 followers to over 12,000. But the big takeaway here is don’t worry about followers unless you’re doing so for sponsors. Again, followers and traffic are not the same.
Pinterest Is a Teenager
I love that Kristie describes Pinterest as being in their “teenage years.” No one really knows what to expect from them. There’s constantly undergoing changes and trying to sort out their identity. It’s crucial to remember that Pinterest is not here to serve us as a marketer, they are first and foremost a business. When Pinterest makes changes, it’s because the users are requesting the change and they want to honor their users. We as marketers need to learn to fall in line with that and learn to appeal to the user base as well.
Pinterest is overflowing with content. If Pinterest is not showing quality content to the user, the user isn’t going to be upset with the blogger who originally pinned it, but with the platform itself. For us as marketers, we need to make sure our content is high quality so that it doesn’t get lost in the massive sea of content on the platform.
Weeding Out Low Quality Sites
Having quality content doesn’t just mean that your post rocks. Your site as a whole has to rock. After you create an irresistably clickable headline, make sure that the content delivers what it promises to the reader. If they get to your site and it’s not quality content, the user is just going to bounce back to Pinterest and find a new pin.
Site performance is also key. Make sure that your page is loading fast, and that it is as optimized as possible. For example, ads really slow down your site. Make sure you always click your own pins on your mobile device and see how long it’s taking for your recipe or exercise routine to actually load and that your pop-ups aren’t blocking the page from being viewed.
Think about how a user is interacting with your content. We have to be smart about how our sites are loading so that they are as user-friendly as possible. Kristie knows of some non-techie ways to speed up your blog performance. You can also use sites like Web Page Test or Pingdom to check your page speed.
Finally, we think it’s safe to say:
If Google has done it, Pinterest might.
As platforms like Facebook and Google make changes to become more mobile-friendly, reduce spam, and speed up site loading, it’s probably safe to say that Pinterest will follow in their footsteps. It’s all about improving the user experience.
2018 Pinterest Q & A
Next, let’s dig into some questions people have posed heading into 2018.
Are group boards still effective? We think so. But…keep in mind that running your own group board can be really overwhelming. It’s hard to monitor the people coming in and sometimes the ROI just isn’t there. Kristie recommends creating a landing page to field requests to join your group board. When Kristie had her group board set up, people needed to submit their Pinterest URL on the landing page so she could check the quality of their content (and an email address to contact the person).
If you’re new to Pinterest, group boards are not necessarily the only way you can gain traction, but they can be helpful. Some of Kristie’s best-performing pins have come from group boards. Don’t choose group boards based on the number of contributors or followers. Look for niched-down group boards that are very specific content that aligns closely with your content.
Images are another aspect of Pinterest that are constantly changing. First they wanted horizontal, then vertical, very vertical, and now they’re saying that square images are acceptable. Confused? You can never go wrong with the classic optimal size for images (a 2:3 ratio). Pinterest has changed their size recommendation over the years, but that specific ratio has stuck around and seems to work the best (Kristie talks more in depth about images sizes here).
When it comes to images, you either need to think like a designer or hire a designer. It’s less about the size and more about creating and designing beautiful pinnable images.
Let’s talk about hashtags (we’re both still slightly in denial about this one). Pinterest just launched the ability to use hashtags in 2017, so it’s still fairly new. Here’s what we know so far. Pinterest allows you to use up to 20 hashtags, however, I recommend you only use four or five. They populate in the chronological hashtag feed. You don’t have to go back and update all of your pins with hashtags, but you can add a hashtag to your description on your site. This is all still unfolding, but what we do know is that the user has to pick up on them first to see how they respond.
One thing we have noticed is that if you click on the search on your mobile device, Pinterest will recommend hashtags that are trending. So keywording on Pinterest is still front and center for 2018. Make sure you know which keywords YOUR people are searching for.
Playing with Pinterest as a User
We highly recommend spending time playing around with your mobile app so you can better understand how it works. As marketers, we sometimes forget about the end user. Use that time on your mobile app to better understand the user experience.
Updating Posts is Key
Your posts stay on Pinterest for a long time. Therefore, you need to make sure your affiliate links are still going to a product that is still viable. Edit your caption to include the fact that you’ve updated your links to something similar to what was originally linked.
If you already have great content, don’t get bogged down creating new pins. Instead, focus on updating what you already have. Going into 2018, make a list of your top ten posts and make cleaning up those posts a priority.
Final Thoughts and Predictions
One of our final predictions for 2018 relates the Lens visual search tool. Pinterest is spending a lot of time and money on this visual lens. Pinterest CEO Ben Siberman thinks that soon, searches will move away from text format, and take place mainly with the camera. Make sure your images are clear and precise so that the visual machine can recognize them accurately.
Kristie’s last thought is to make sure you create good pin descriptions, even if you can’t see your descriptions. Other people do see and use those descriptions. Clear images, good descriptions, and great keywords are definitely the key to a great pinning experience in 2018.
We are excited for you to intentionally grow in 2018 using the Pinterest platform. Stay focused on what’s working for you and don’t get bogged down in what everyone else is doing. Stick what works for your site. Be smart and strategic and that intentional growth will follow.
Be sure to join my Facebook group to stay up-to-date on everything that rolls out this year on Pinterest.
2:40 – What Pinterest Is
9:00 – Where Pinterest is Headed
15:00 – Followers Don’t Equal Traffic
18:20- Pinterest is a Teenager
21:15 – Weeding Out
27:30 – Other Questions
27:34 – Group Boards
31:10 – Images
35:42 – Hashtags
42:00 – Final Thoughts and Predictions
Kari Sayers says
Thanks for this Kate and Kristie! I’ve been wondering about Pinterest group boards and how to move forward with them as a part of my Pinterest Strategy so this was helpful.
I definitely will be implementing the advice to play around more on Pinterest as a user to get a better feel for the “user experience”. Good stuff!
Kristie Hill says
Yes! We are both big on using Pinterest like a normal user / your target audience. Good luck, hopefully 2018 brings you lots of Pinterest traffic.
James Allsopp says
>Followers don’t equal traffic
Well, yes and no. It’s true on basically every social media platform that a majority of your followers won’t end up being a website visitor when you post something (or a video view on YouTube, for instance). Every follower is, however, a potential person who will share your post/pin/video at the right place at the right time and cause it to explode in popularity, which of course nets you tons of traffic. So, followers certainly aren’t something to be scoffed at, as long as the followers are real active users who actually have a chance of sharing your stuff.
In my Analytics dashboard, I had a notification on the top of my screen saying that as of January 16, 2018, Pinterest was changing how they measured impressions. Ever since the 16th, my food blog’s (Savor the Flavour) Pinterest account has had a steady decline in impressions. What does this change mean, and is it affecting my impressions?
I just listened to the podcast version of this and found it very helpful! Also, thank you for taking the time to type out all the show notes so I don’t have to pull over while I’m driving to write everything down. Also love that you are a foster mama cuz my blog “thejoyfulpurpose” is about my foster adopt journey. Thank you again! Love the podcast.