I’m a big fan of studies and data. However, studies on Pinterest are tough! Several different factors weigh into the traffic patterns and how the content is received during the study. Images, audience interaction, keywords, visual search, etc it all plays a very vital role in how things perform.
Our studies aren’t super scientific, but they do take into consideration more than one account at a time (like this one and this one). This gives us a bigger picture of how different accounts are affected by the change.
In this study, we’re asking the question, Does live pinning on Pinterest via the app on your phone or desktop get you more traffic than if you use a scheduler like Tailwind?
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What is Live Pinning?
Let’s back up for a minute and define ‘live’ and scheduled pinning. There are two ways to pin on Pinterest:
- Open up the app, your browser and just save (repin) a pin to your board. Or pin a pin from a website onto your boards. This is called manual or ‘live’ pinning. You’re actually pinning yourself instead of using a scheduling tool.
- Scheduling your pins. This is done by using a scheduling tool like Tailwind, Ahalogy, Buffer or any other scheduling tool out there. Pinterest has listed these Pinterest scheduling tools as their approved partners.
As marketers on Pinterest, we are often looking for the best way to share our content that fits our schedule in an effective way. For some people, this is ‘live’ or manual pinning from their phone. They are able to pop on, save a few pins and go on their way.
Others find that they often forget to pin so they will want to schedule their pins for the week so their content is showing up on Pinterest consistently. The Smart Feed likes consistency.
Manual vs Scheduled Pinterest Pinning: Is one better than the other?
In the Pinterest marketing community, there is always the question of whether one pinning method is better than the other. Does Pinterest reward those who ‘live’ pin? If you use a scheduler will you be ‘hurt’ in your rankings? etc.
Here at Simple Pin, we’ve tested out the ‘live’ vs. scheduled pins a few times and have found that it doesn’t really affect the overall traffic. But we thought it might be useful to perform a more formal study.
We set up our study with four established accounts that use optimized images. An optimized image is one that is vertical, has a text overlay and is within Pinterest’s creative guidelines. (Meaning, it looks attractive to pinners.) We wanted to rule out the image factor (new images, square images, etc) all of those involved in the study had great images.
We live pinned on Pinterest from Monday to Monday to see if there was a bump in traffic created as a result. We tracked progress in both Pinterest and Google Analytics for a full 30 days to get a full view of traffic patterns before, during and after the live pinning period. We’ve included screenshots of both sets of analytics.
It should be noted that we commonly find discrepancies between Pinterest and Google analytics. I tend to lean on Google for more accuracy but we know because of the mobile piece some may be going to direct. Pinterest and Google haven’t figured out a good way to communicate with each other. As you’ll see based on the graphs below.
Pinterest Pinning Experiment Results
Here’s what we found:
Notes from the account manager:
I manually pinned 98% of pins from her site directly. I tried to do evening on some days, but couldn’t always do it, and because she lives in NY, I did earlier than I would here.
From account manager:
I kept pinning the same way I would pin in Tailwind to keep the consistency.
From the account manager:
Google Analytics was up 11% in that time frame, and I also took a screenshot of Pinterest Analytics.
Traffic definitely improved, however, traffic was already on the upswing, so it will be interesting to see if things drop down this next week after going back to Tailwind. Another thing to note, I pinned inside content from the site and not Pinterest.
From the account manager:
I live pinned in the evenings (between 7-10pm usually) from Monday (5th) to Monday (12th). I pinned straight from her website. I did use some new images (ones that I knew we hadn’t used before) just to see if it would make any difference. I pinned a lot of her content to her well-performing group boards. I did pin outside content every day but for the first half of the week I pinned a lot less (closer to 20%) but the last two days I pinned half outside content.
Pinterest Pinning Experiment: Summary
First, the difference between Google and Pinterest analytics is fascinating! When one was up the other was down. This goes to show you that relying on Pinterest analytics alone will not give you the full picture.
Second, we didn’t uncover any compelling data trends that convinced us to make the switch from scheduled to live Pinterest pinning. For the most part, we saw slight bumps in traffic at the beginning of the experiment, followed by a decrease in traffic. In no case, however, did we see a significant increase.
My final thoughts on the matter? Maybe live vs. scheduled pinning really isn’t the question we should focus on. I would say creating images that convert, creating engaging content for your readers and finding ways to get them on your email list might be a better use of your time for business in the long run.
Brittany Wise says
I enjoy the data 🙂 Thanks for experimenting, Simple Pin team! Have a wonderful holiday.
Kate Ahl says
Hope you had a great holiday too!
David Christopher says
Very interesting post. Thanks for looking into this.
Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom says
Thanks for doing this and sharing what you learned. I love how you save me the hassle of testing stuff. 🙂 And like you, scheduling pins is a total lifesaver for me as a busy mom. Glad to know it’s not really hurting my pinning visibility either.
Shantanu Sinha says
This one’s a savage 🙂
Thanks for coming up this topic with the excellent data. No, wonder scheduled pin can save our time and energy both. Pinning manual could also be fun, but its good only we are totally working on our pintrest account.
Thanks for the share.
Kay @ Nested Blissfully says
Thanks a ton for this post. I am trying hard to develop my Pinterest profile, and I am ready to (and I am) pinning live, and experimenting with scheduling.
This is very helpful.
Kate Ahl says
Sheila Martin says
Super useful post and experiment, Kate! Really appreciate the info.
Kate Ahl says
I’m so glad it was useful!
Tania Sheff says
I was just wondering about that. Thanks for the post!