Have you heard about the newest Pinterest algorithm update? There is always a lot of buzz around these changes and what they will mean for our business.

Today we’re going to explore exactly what Pinterest is changing and what YOU can change to keep serving your audience well.

organized white office space - text overlay "The Pinterset Algorithm Debunked".

Blame It On The Pinterest Algorithm 

If you have been a long-time listener of my podcast, you know that whenever someone says the words “algorithm change,” I tend to get a little prickly. It’s not because I think they don’t exist. I know they are happening all the time. The platforms are always trying to find ways to serve their audience more efficiently.

One thing I’ve realized is that sometimes people use this term when their traffic is going down without taking much time to look into what is going on in their analytics. I want people to dig a little deeper and find out what might be going on instead of automatically using “the algorithm” as their explanation.

Related: What to Do When You Experience a Pinterest Traffic Drop


Pinterest Algorithm Update: What’s Changed?


The Old Model 

With that said, we actually did experience a Pinterest algorithm change in mid-July and Pinterest let us know about it. They are introducing a new ranking model to their home feed. They want to show different types of content (regular pins, video pins, idea pins (formerly story pins), etc.)

Traditionally, Pinterest monitors the content on the home feed and looks at the habits of the pinner. They call this a “click-through prediction model.” They then show the pinner more of the content that they typically click on.

This model ensures that the pinner sees what they want and will engage with the pins in their home feed.

Controlled Distribution

The problem with this is that if a pinner never clicks on idea pins or video pins, they won’t ever see any of those types of pins in their feed. Pinterest has a ton of great content that they want to get in front of their users.

To solve that problem, Pinterest introduced a new real-time ranking system called “controlled distribution.”

First, the user tells Pinterest what content they love. Next, Pinterest decides how much of the “extra stuff” (like idea pins, videos, and GIFs) to sprinkle into that user’s home feed.

If the pinner engages with these pins, Pinterest will sprinkle in a little more.

This allows Pinterest to show a wide range of content without relying solely on the pinner’s engagement as the determining factor of what to include in their feed. With the goal of dispersing different types of content within a user’s feed, controlled distribution is the main feature of the latest algorithm change.

Good Content Keeps Giving

Our former creative director (Tina) recently attended a creative seminar hosted by Pinterest. During the seminar, Pinterest communicated loud and clear that its platform is changing. Although their initial goal was to drive content, they are now focusing more on content creation.

We see this when it comes to idea pins. In most countries, you can’t add a link to an idea pin.

Hearing that Pinterest is focusing more on content creation tends to freak out Pinterest marketers. But Pinterest is always focused on keeping the user around and showing them what they want. Even though you can’t link them to your site, idea pins can increase followers and create engagement with users. Like Pinterest says:

Good content keeps on giving.

organized white office space.

Focus on Diversification

When it comes to your Pinterest marketing strategy, it’s really time to shift your focus to diversification. This means that if you have been staying in that safe zone of creating regular fresh pins, you need to branch out into creating enticing video pins and idea pins.

Think about the pinner and who your ideal pinner is. Create content in an idea pin that will serve them well.

Please leave any questions you have about diversifying and this algorithm change in the comments.

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:


  1. Thank you for your valuable updates, Kate. Do you know if Pinterest devalues the pins of a content creator who only pins her own blog posts, but rarely to never uses the platform as a search engine? Personally, I find it too frustrating to bother with as so often a pin doesn’t lead to the correct link.

    1. Nope, Pinterest does not penalize a pinner who doesn’t spend much time searching on the platform. And they certainly don’t penalize you for pinning your own content exclusively.

  2. Hello! Hoping someone here can help – today I read your post about the new algorithm and decided to give Gif pins a shot. I made one, and it has gotten more views and re-pins than any of my recent static pins – great! BUT, when I look at the pin…it does not seem to link people to my website when viewed on a PC. On a phone, if you click the three little dots, there is an option to ‘go to website’ – but not when on a computer. Is this true, or am I just not seeing something? Here is the pin: https://pin.it/eHZXjwv

    1. I just clicked on the pin and was able to hear the audio. Pins are muted by default. In order to hear volume, user needs to unmute them FYI.

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