166: Answering Your Questions about Pinterest with Kate Ahl

Welcome to episode 166 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week on the podcast, we’re sharing the Q&A from our recent Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork interviewed David Allen about his Getting Things Done Methodology. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Answering Your Questions about Pinterest

Pinterest is a complex social media that requires time and a solid strategy to see success.

That’s exactly why we held a Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp! We invited Kate Ahl, our FBP Pinterest Expert and the owner of the Pinterest management company, Simple Pin Media, to speak about strategies, building traffic, tools, and more.

We hosted a Q&A with Kate at the end of the Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp, and she answered a ton of your most important Pinterest questions around topics like hashtag best practices, board management, and the highs and lows of Pinterest traffic.

After listening to this episode, you’ll be equipped with knowledge to help you form your own successful Pinterest strategy. Enjoy!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • If keywords and hashtags are the same thing
  • Best practices for hashtags on Pinterest
  • If you should be using board sections
  • What the ideal number of boards is
  • If you should disclose your sponsored or affiliate links on Pinterest
  • Why your Pinterest traffic might have gone down recently
  • When you can expect a burst of traffic as a food blogger
  • What giraffe pins are and why you shouldn’t be using them anymore
  • What rich pins are and whether or not you should use them
  • What the benefits of group boards are
  • Whether or not you should delete pins
  • How videos work on Pinterest

Listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast below or check it out on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Spotify:


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We’d like to thank our sponsors, WP Tasty! Check out wptasty.com to learn more about their handcrafted WordPress plugins specifically made for food bloggers.

If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.


Alexa Peduzzi: In this episode, we figure out a really cool way to listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast and we share a Q&A from our recent Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp.

Hey, hey, wonderful people. You are listening to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. I’m Alexa, the general manager of Food Blogger Pro. And I just have to say it, thank you so much for tuning in. We are so excited and honored to be a part of your day today. But before we hop into the episode, I’d like to take a second to thank our sponsors, WP Tasty. WP Tasty is our sister company that creates awesome, lightweight, and heavy lifting plugins for food bloggers. We have a recipe plugin, a Pinterest SEO plugin and a keyword auto linking plugin. And you can learn more about them at wptasty.com. And if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that we like to include an actionable, helpful tip for you alongside of our sponsorship.

And it’s called a Tasty Tip. And today’s Tasty Tip is from the future, or it feels like that, at least. This one’s actually about home assistance, and specifically, the Google Home Mini. I recently ordered the Google Home Mini and I’m totally loving it, talking to it, and having it spit back information. It’s just super futuristic and weird, but it’s been really, really fun to use. And especially while I’m working either at Food Blogger Pro or on my own blog. I use it to listen to podcasts, and I wanted to show you how easy it is. I have my Google Home Mini connected to my Spotify account, and just watch how simple this is.

Okay, Google. Play the latest episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast.

Google Home: All right. Here’s the latest episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. 165, Getting Things Done with David Allen.

Bjork Ostrom: In this episode, I share a list of lists, and we talk to the David Allen, the father …

Alexa Peduzzi: Okay, Google, stop. So cool, right? I always need that background noise to stay productive during the day. And it’s been so awesome to just easily tune into the latest episodes of my favorite podcast.

And now, our episode. We held our free Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp last week and it was just the best. Our events are some of my favorite days of the entire year, and this was event was no different. We invited our Pinterest expert, Kate, to be a part of the day, and it was just so helpful. She runs a Pinterest management business called Simple Pin Media, so she’s always up to date on the latest Pinterest news and trends. She talked about growing Pinterest traffic through keyword placement, strategies, and so much more. And then she talked about her three recommended tools for Pinterest success.

Our last session of the day was a Q&A where Kate answered a ton of Pinterest related questions from our attendees, and that is exactly what we’re sharing with you today. So grab your favorite drink, I’m sipping on my new favorite La Croix flavor, key lime, snag a notebook for note taking, and let’s hop into this episode.

Bjork Ostrom: For those of you that are listening on the podcast, welcome. We are doing a live Q&A with Kate Ahl. And Kate is the founder of Simple Pin Media, she’s been on the podcast before, she’s a Food Blogger Pro expert, she’s an all around great person, and we’re lucky enough to have her on this live Q&A to talk about Pinterest. So this is part of the Pinterest Bootcamp that we’re doing today, and then we’re doing a live Q&A here at the end of the day and then also sharing this on the podcast as well. So I think we should just go ahead and jump in, how does that sound, Kate?

Kate Ahl: Yeah, sounds good to me. I’m ready.

Bjork Ostrom: All right, let’s do it. So one of the questions that came up, and this comes from the first session that we did when you were talking about keywords. And somebody was wondering the difference between hashtags and keywords. Are those the same thing? How are they related? And maybe if you can, talk a little bit about what each one of those is and how they relate to each other.

Kate Ahl: Yeah, so in order to really explain that, you have to think about keywords and hashtags have their own feed on Pinterest.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Kate Ahl: And so if somebody puts in a hashtag, that helps it funnel into what’s called a chronological hashtag feed. And so we wanna keep keywords and hashtags separate because they’re serving two different purposes on Pinterest. And so keywords help the user match up in the smarter feed, where, like I said, it’s a chronological hashtag feed. So with that, it’s really just a bucket, if you will, for users on Pinterest to find your content.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And then one of the things that you’ve pointed out, I think it’s important to reiterate this, you talked about the difference, or how it’s important, not to use a hashtag as a keyword. So you wanna put the hashtags at the end, is that correct?

Kate Ahl: Yeah, that is correct. You do not want to cover up a hashtag by writing a sentence that says, “I love these hashtag chocolate chip hashtag cookie,” because then you’re only optimizing for the hashtag feed when that’s not super prevalent and it’s something very new within the last year. Whereas the keywords go with the smart feed and people who might discover your content. That is going to be number one, so we absolutely wanna write one to two sentences with hashtags at the end. And Pinterest had said in their guide before up to 20. They’ve now taken that out.

They just say add a few hashtags. So it’s really up to us to figure out which ones work best. But I do recommend that if you’re writing a sentence that says, “These are the best chocolate chip cookies,” maybe one of your hashtags are hashtag cookies because it matches up with the keyword. And this is something you just need to test to see. Our people, the ones that are coming to your website, we talked about Google analytics. Really looking at do those pins have hashtags in them, do they not have hashtags. What are you seeing?

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That’s great. Somebody had a question here coming in about using board sections.

Kate Ahl: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: And can you talk about what a board section is? And they ask does it make sense to break your sections out into multiple boards.

Kate Ahl: So board sections were added about six to eight months ago, maybe even a year ago. And it was a user request from Pinterest users because there had been these users that had been on Pinterest since the beginning, which were approaching almost ten years now, I believe. And one of the things they said was I have all these pins in a recipe board. I go to find these pins and I have to scroll, scroll, scroll. How can I organize my recipe board into sections so things are easier to find? So when Pinterest rolled it out, it was our users have been asking for this, here it is. Well, we didn’t necessarily see that as a benefit to marketers for two reasons.

One, we didn’t know how the names of these sections played into the keyword mapping on Pinterest. They have now said eventually they will make a difference in this keyword mapping, but they haven’t released how that works yet. And number two, if you use a scheduling tool like Tailwind, which you talked about in one of our tools. You can’t schedule to sections, so with that, we don’t recommend that you use them just yet. We recommend you create a separate board because we know the board name, and the board description, and pins in that board match with the keyword mapping.

So until we know for sure, we don’t wanna move forward as a marketer using sections just yet.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That’s great, and that makes sense. Pause, don’t implement yet, but monitor, which is great. In a little plug for your newsletter you had talked about that before, but that’s a great place for people to follow along with that, to be in the loop, to know what’s going on with some really important Pinterest stuff. For those listening on the podcast, can you mention how people can sign up for that real quick, as long as we …

Kate Ahl: Yeah, super quick, just go to simplepinmedia.com/email, or just go to simplepinmedia.com and you’ll see a big box at the top.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome, cool. Continuing to move through some of these questions, what is the ideal number of boards? So you have your account, you’ve got it all set up. Is there an ideal number of boards that you should try and create on that account?

Kate Ahl: The ideal number is the amount that serves your audience. So if you feel like you wanna communicate your message, your branding, your pins by 35 boards or by 100 boards, you can definitely do whatever number of boards works for you. Pinterest has said we want you to create relevant boards. So for me, I have found that I don’t need a ton of boards. I only have 35, whereas if you have maybe a huge library of different recipes, even as niches like vegan dessert recipes, vegan side dishes, vegan Thanksgiving side dishes. I mean, you could go endless, but you wanna be thinking am I going to be creating a lot of content for that. Don’t just create a board for one post because you can’t fill it up.

Do it where it’s something you know a lot of people are interested in what it is you’re talking about, noodle bowls, whatever it is. Make it so that it’s a board that’s going to serve your audience with a healthy amount of content.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome, that’s great. Here’s a question about disclosure. So I think this was maybe triggered by us, you talked about hashtags. And a lot of times on Instagram, or maybe on Facebook, if you’re posting a piece of content that is sponsored, people will do hashtag sponsored, hashtag ad, or hashtag affiliate. Is that something that you also need to do on Pinterest or how do you go about disclosing sponsored content that you have when you are posting something to Pinterest?

Kate Ahl: Yeah, there’s a lot of different ways. I would say number one, go overboard, because if you overdo it, you’re not gonna be accused of not doing it. So some people have put hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag affiliate. You’d have to really do some digging in to the FTC rules, which makes the most sense, but we do suggest adding those few hashtags. And then you can expand on your post more, obviously, that you’re an affiliate and you have that at the top. But for now, you can do just a simple this is the sponsor. It doesn’t have to be a long sentence at all, a simple hashtag is fine.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. That’s great. Yep, and basic idea there, like you said, you’re disclosing. So the filter test is when somebody looks at the piece of content, wherever it is, are they gonna understand that a brand paid you for that. And you’ve gotta get to that point where for FTC guidelines, they can say, “Yes, somebody understands that.” Now, each platform has different rules around disclosure, so that’s where you need to make sure that you are both FTC compliant and platform compliant. So Instagram is gonna be different than what it would be on your blog, which is different than what it would be on other platforms.

Kate Ahl: And Pinterest hasn’t been super specific on this. They’ve been specific when it comes to affiliate marketing and adding affiliate links. And they will strip bitly links. They’ve been clear on a lot of that stuff, but they haven’t been super clear on the disclosure, especially when it comes to sponsorships or influencer marketing. So with that, we just go with the basic ad sponsored affiliate.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so the affiliate thing is interesting. Do they strip all affiliate links so you can’t get …

Kate Ahl: No, they don’t. You can do reward style, you can do a bunch of other ones. Amazon is still on the line because the US platform hasn’t super clarified. If you’re in the UK, they have on Amazon over there said you can definitely use Amazon links on Pinterest, but that’s not here in the US. They just are really specific about link cloaking. That will probably get your link stripped and you won’t get the affiliate credit.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And so you used bitly as an example, so that’s hiding where the link goes to, you’re cloaking it. And so if you use a bitly link, they’ll just remove the link. So you still have the image, but it won’t link to anything, is that right?

Kate Ahl: No, it’ll still link to something …

Bjork Ostrom: The final?

Kate Ahl: Yeah, the final destination, but if you’ve put anything attached in that bitly, it will not read that.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Okay, interesting. All right, moving along here. This actually came up in the chat a few different times, and I’m guessing that this is not an uncommon email or a request that you get from people. My traffic has gone down recently from Pinterest, and why is that? And this one specifically is talking about I have these giraffe pins, and is that the reason maybe why traffic has gone down? So what is your response when somebody reaches out like that and what troubleshooting steps should they go through to help understand?

Kate Ahl: Yes. So we go through a checklist. Number one is we wanna look at if you’ve been marked as spam. And on Pinterest, when you’re marked as spam, you would just simply find that out by clicking on one of your pins that leads to your website. And there would be a pop up that says suspicious link. You’ve probably been marked as spam. If that’s the case, they’ve given a special designated email address for creators. That’s just [email protected]. Email them, you may need to email a couple of times. If they come back to you and say, “We’ve closed your profile because suspicious activity,” that is a canned response. Respond back again and say you need to give me a reason why you’ve marked me as spam.

So that’s number one. Number two, we would go into this place of figuring out was there anything that happened on your site that could’ve disconnected Google analytics or a plugin that could’ve effected that. We’ve definitely seen that when it comes to tracking sessions that are coming from Pinterest. We had one client who we could not figure out why it had dropped. But realized it actually wasn’t tracking fully, so that’s number two.

Bjork Ostrom: So the traffic was still coming in, it just wasn’t being tracked.

Kate Ahl: Exactly. So we wanna diagnose was there a hosting change, was there some people who haven’t fully converted to HTTPS or something like that. There’s a lot of things that can change that tracking. Then the third one is we wanna look at time of year. So we’re going into the high time, pumpkin spice lattes dropped today, here we go. And so that’s our queue from now to February 15th, this is when we get this burst of traffic. So especially for food bloggers, so if you’re looking at low traffic in June and July, that’s just gonna be a low traffic. That’s just people are on vacation, whatever. So if you can cross compare year over year and see that it’s a normal traffic trend, don’t worry about it. If you do see that it’s not a normal traffic trend, then what you wanna do is, I would say, it’s gonna be one of those first couple ones there.

Especially if it’s dropped so drastically that you wanna investigate further into whether or not everything’s working. The other thing to note, too, is that if the giraffe pins, those are the super long ones, they might not get distributed in the feed, I would move real fast to adjust those images down to the right size, which is 600 by 900, or as long as 1260. Get those flowing into your scheduling, get them into Tailwind and get them out there. And then after a month, see what happens. If that brings it back up, then you have your answer. You needed to get these new pins into the system so that they’re getting distributed.

So with Pinterest, there’s a lot of troubleshooting, one answer might not be the same for another account. The other thing would be to change up your keywords, change up things a little bit different. Sometimes that can be frustrating, because it can take a while, but if you’ve gone through all those things, and still something’s wrong, I don’t know. At that point, maybe we need to do some digging in on a consult or something like that.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and I think those first few examples you gave are really helpful, and I think even somebody in the chat here, Kathleen, said that her Pinterest was marked as spam in July and said, “Apparently many bloggers were marked that way, most accidentally”. She said, “Boy, did that panic me”. All was fixed in 12 hours, but kind of this panicked moment. It’s good to have as a reference. Sometimes it might not be anything that you’re doing wrong, necessarily.

Kate Ahl: Yeah, totally.

Bjork Ostrom: There just might be a disconnect in your Google analytics. There might be something on the Pinterest side that you need to reach out. You give that email, which is a great resource for people to reach out and talk to them. If not, after doing some of that initial high-level troubleshooting, maybe there’s something a little bit deeper that needs to be done. Great feedback, and good action steps for people, if they are noticing that.

Kate Ahl: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: As it relates to the giraffe ends, which I just love that we get to call them giraffe pins.

Kate Ahl: I know. And that’s what Pinterest said, it’s hilarious. They’re like, “These giraffe pins”, I’m like.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s great.

Kate Ahl: Oh, okay.

Bjork Ostrom: Roll with it. Should you delete the old ones from Pinterest or just replace the image on your site and create new content around that?

Kate Ahl: Yeah. Replace the image on your site and just create new content. Already Pinterest isn’t showing it, potentially, to people. You can just leave it there. It’s not anything they’ve indicated in any of their best practices doesn’t tell us that they penalize us. I think we have talked about don’t look at it as penalties. But just start fresh and move forward.

And images are really your most powerful tool. Like we talked about, they’re kinda your first gate. So start with that and see what happens.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Yup.

Kate Ahl: But don’t delete the old ones.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. And for those that maybe are feeling a little bit overwhelmed like, “Oh, I need to go back and chalk out 40 hours in a week to redo everything that’s Pinterest”. Maybe a good starting point would be, “Hey, think of these important things we’re learning here as things to implement moving forward”.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: And then if you have little spots of time where you can go back and kind of tighten things up and adjust old content, then maybe you can do that.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: But not necessarily things where you need to overhaul everything and delete all your old draft pins.

Kate Ahl: Start with little snippets of time. Set a timer, whether it’s an hour, do the top 10 in Google analytics like we talked about in the previous session. But don’t tackle it all. You’ll just shut down and start watching Netflix.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes, which sometimes needs to happen.

Kate Ahl: I know. It’s true.

Bjork Ostrom: Here’s a question. Rich pins, yay or nay? So for those that aren’t familiar, can you talk about what rich pins are? And then maybe give a little bit of a background as to why some people would say, “I’m not doing rich pins or I’m getting rid of them”.

Kate Ahl: Yes. So rich pins, they give the pin context with adding a little snippet of code to your site and it allows Pinterest to pull in this bolded title, that’s really the easiest way to describe it. It’s right underneath the pin, and it describes the particular post in … It’s usually the title that it pulls. So how to clean up Pinterest boards, that’s it. And then you go into the pin description.

So the snippet of code can be a product pin, it can be an article pin, and there’s two others that I’m forgetting right now. But basically, if we’re talking about it from a food blogger perspective, it just pulls in the title but it can also pull in the recipe ingredients. It doesn’t tell you how to do it, it just shows the recipe. And the reason it does this is because there’s a great little handy search tool on Pinterest where if I’m looking for a recipe that’s 15 minutes or less, it includes these ingredients, and it’s in this category, beginner vegetarian, Pinterest can easily categorize that pin based on what they see there with the ingredients. And so it’s a great, helpful, useful tool for users.

In fact, we’ve heard from a lot of users that we’ve kind of pooled our audiences who use it for personal, this ingredient list tells them am I gonna click on it or not because I might not have fresh cilantro or whatever it is. So the debate came in, probably about a year ago, where people said, “I don’t want them seeing this list of ingredients because then they might not click, and so I want to remove the rich pin completely to encourage the click”. And this was primarily people who monetized their site with ads, because when they got them over, obviously then people would see the ads. Well the problem really came in is that some people had tested it, and they had seen that it had definitely increased their traffic, and that kind of took sweeping, it swept everything. And some people said, “Well I’m gonna turn it off ’cause I want more traffic”.

So what we tell people now is we believe rich pins give great context to pins and they serve the user. And that’s why we’re putting our content on there. However, don’t just turn them on or off based on someone else’s experience. Really do the research for your own site to see if it makes a different, but one of the things you want to be aware of is that we turn them off, you could increase your bounce rate. And some of our clients have increased their bounce rate by about 10%.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And for those that aren’t familiar, can you talk about what that is and why that’s important?

Kate Ahl: Yeah. So it’s the people who hop over to your site and hopefully they bounce away. So you want to have that pretty low or as low as you can get it because that also tells Google, “Hey, they stuck around. They found this content interesting and useful”, the same for Pinterest. They are starting to factor in time on site. “This person originated from this pin, they found it helpful. This must be good content”. Whereas if we get a lot of people bouncing away super-duper fast, then that tells Google and tells Pinterest, “Well this must not be useful, we will no longer show it to people”.

So you have to balance all of that into your decision, but my recommendation has been and will always keep them on because it, first and foremost, serves the user. You don’t want somebody clicking over for the recipe and finding out well I don’t need it or I can’t make this ’cause I don’t have it, click away really quickly. They can look at the ingredients and go, “Yeah, I want to make this”, click over, and they’re gonna spend more time.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. We have ’em on for Pinch of Yum and plan to continue to keep ’em on, and I think you probably see this and we see this as well, but sometimes there can be this communication snowball that happens where a little pebble is … Not like somebody, a little message is sent, and it’s a pebble on the hill, and then it picks up speed, and then it becomes this giant snowball from this tiny little piece of information. And as creators, as business owners, as bloggers, whatever it is that we want to call it, I think it’s really important that we take that information, not that we totally ignore it by any means, but we take that information, we say, “Okay, let’s process this through instead of just taking it and then saying ‘Oh I need to do this’”, whatever it is, and kind of going to our sources researching that, looking into it, being slow and methodical, while quick to gather new information, being slow and methodical with saying, “Now I’m gonna change this just because somebody said this somewhere else”.

And I think that rich pins is a good example of that where maybe you hear this experience that somebody has, but be slow with that and methodical and say, “Okay, what are some of the factors that I need to consider in making the best decision for my readers, my followers, my blog, my business”.

Kate Ahl: Yeah. I’ll make a note about that and kind of the one conversation I’ve had with somebody about this where I said, “That’s great, I support you turning them off”, was they said they did a test. It was one Monday they turned it off, at the same time left it on all week, then they turned ’em off, on on the next Monday, left them all week, and compared those two weeks outside of any holidays, they were very structured. And she had said, “I lost X amount of page views, and for me right now I can’t afford to lose that ad revenue”. So what that told me was that I needed to create a product or needed to diversify my income to be able to not have to be subject to these changes. I supported her in what she did because tested it for herself instead of looking at a graph and a Facebook group, and that’s how it starts with that little snowball, and then people just do it just because. Do your own research and figure out why you’re doing it before you just take somebody else’s word for it, because that’s not a good way to run your business anyway.

So with that, just test out, especially this time of year. It actually happened this time of year, going into this high traffic time. People are searching like crazy for things. So just figure out how you want to do that and how you want to serve them.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. That’s great. Awesome. And some important general takeaways of that too, just in terms of how you approach making changes with the things that you’re doing. One of the things that we talked about that you had mentioned was this idea of branding some of your images.

Kate Ahl: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: And you had talked about how to go about doing and why that’s important. So maybe a quick review on that. And then some people had some questions about where you actually do that. So when you have a pinned image that you are branding, putting your logo on it, do you have your logo, do you have your name, do you have both? And then where does that go?

Kate Ahl: Okay. So I can’t remember if you and I talked about this and I said to put it in the bottom right. I think I did because Pinterest had just told us that, the rep that we’re working with. But we actually realized that if you’re gonna put your logo, you want to put it in the bottom middle or on the left because there’s the visual search tool that on mobile hovers in the bottom right.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Kate Ahl: And so that covers it up. So the reason you want to do this branding and having your logo is it builds brand awareness so that over time if people see this very similar style image and they connect the branding, they start to build brand awareness. “Oh this recipe comes from X, Y, Z”. So if you’re gonna do any type of branding, keep your font similar, keep your color similar, keep a similar style of image, and then put your logo or even your website, but it’s super small, but you can still see it, at the bottom middle.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And that makes a lot of sense. When you think of companies, how intentional they are with doing branding related things, like I think back to, I think Airbnb did a commercial during the Superbowl, and it was this really cool story, I don’t even remember what it was. But at the end, they just showed the Airbnb logo, and that was a valuable thing for them. And you think about, as a small business, how do you bring that over into what you’re doing. One of the ways you can have that subtle, consistent brand exposure is through adding that to the images that you’re creating and posting to Pinterest.

Kate Ahl: And one really great way for you to flesh out your branding, if you don’t know what it is yet, is go onto Pinterest and save the ones that catch your eye. Look at promoted pins too. Promoted pins have really changed within the last month with their migration into one tap. And so these advertisers are getting super-duper smart about what they’re putting on their pin image, how they’re branding, how they’re getting people to click. Take a lesson from some of those promoted pins, and even from some of the branding of the big companies, and then fold it into how it fits you, and start to go with that, and create that, especially if you’ve never created branding before.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. Can you explain what one touch is?

Kate Ahl: Yeah. So promoted pins for, since their inception, had always operated like a pin. If you click on it, you get a close up, and then if you click on it again it takes you to your website. Well they realized that when we looked at Facebook or Instagram, you just tap on an ad and it takes you to your website. So Pinterest migrated, at the beginning of August, over to what they call one tap, which means it no longer functions like a traditional pin. You click on the image, you go straight to the website.

So this is a little bit different for users ’cause they’re not used to that. And so we’re trying to figure out if they’re doing promoted paid advertising on Pinterest, how to get them over to the site and have it make sense, and not be like wait, you took me here too soon. ’Cause they want to hold back, do the close up, and then make a decision.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Kate Ahl: So this is just a way for Pinterest to stay competitive with other social platforms and how they do their advertising.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. And that’s called one tap?

Kate Ahl: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bjork Ostrom: Otherwise known as, what I call it, one touch.

Kate Ahl: One touch. Yes, exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Which is related to my favorite band, One Direction. No, not favorite band.

Kate Ahl: Oh, I love it.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Story of my life. So the next question coming in here, this is actually kind of a technical question, but it’s related to retina images. And feel free to, if you don’t have any thoughts on this, ’cause retina gets a little bit technical.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: So retina images and how does that work with the optimal size for Pinterest? And so if you, for people that are doing retina images on their blog, they’re taking these really big images, and then they kind of shrink them down into the blog post. So when you look at a retina screen, like if you have a retina screen on your computer or sometimes phones would be retina, that it’s going to be a really clear image with lots of pixels in it. So if you have a 600 by 900 Pinterest image that you’re using, does Pinterest translate that into a retina image? Do we know how that works? Or what their sizes are as related to mobile and desktop? Kind of the general retina question.

Kate Ahl: That is a good one. That’s a first time I’ve ever heard that time.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It comes from a web developer and a designer. So it was our friend John that asked that question. That would maybe be a question we could reach out to the creators, Pinterest support group.

Kate Ahl: Yes. Definitely do that. ’Cause I would have no clue. I mean, I could talk about visual search.

Bjork Ostrom: Yes.

Kate Ahl: How that plays in, but not the other.

Bjork Ostrom: For sure. For sure. We’ll do some digging. For those that are Food Blogger Pro members, we’ll do some digging and then follow up on the forum if we find anything out about that and how that works with retina images, which is just, I’m trying to wrap my head around it even just for the blog and how it works.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: ’Cause it’s not an easy thing. So we will follow up on that. John, good question. Here’s a question coming in about group boards. What are the benefits of group boards? And are they something that people should be looking at getting involved with?

Kate Ahl: The benefit with a group board is if you join with people that you can, you share the same type of content. So it’s a way to get greater distribution for you content and a way for them to get greater distribution by contributing to this particular board. Pinterest has said that they’re not a huge fan of the way that group boards were used, and that was by tons of contributors and tons of content. So if you’re going to utilize a group board, I definitely recommend you have no more than five people on this group board, you all agree to also share each other’s content from the group board, has a great word, a key word appropriate name, it’s very specific, it’s not broad, and then it has a description, and then you all pin pins that fit that description and that board name.

That is really the only way I would tell people to do that. Outside of that I can’t really see any other good use of group boards. So I would say focus more on your personal boards before you even dive into group boards. There has been a lot of teaching of the last two, three, even four years, that talk about how group boards can give greater exposure, but what we’ve looked at in our network and the clients that we work with, group boards can be a powerful tool for distribution but now the focus is really personal boards and being more strategic in how you’re naming and Pinning to those.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it, that’s great. One of the things that we talked about in one of the first sessions, it was actually the second session, using Google Analytics, when you talk through how to drill down so you can see the referral traffic from Pinterest and then in there you can see the specific Pins that are sending you the most traffic. Somebody said that they went in there and in referrals, their number one referral, their top Pin, it doesn’t have a bunch of numbers after it, it’s just a backslash and when they click to look at what it is it’s their homepage. What does that mean and is there anything that we should learn from that when we look at our Pinterest referral traffic and it’s just a backslash?

Kate Ahl: Yeah. We did a bunch of research on this and there hasn’t been a final conclusion as to what it is, because we haven’t really got that from Pinterest, but what we’ve concluded is that it’s actually the combination of a lot of little Pins driving traffic in combination with your profile traffic, maybe clicks form your profile. That’s really the best we’ve come away with. We’ve talked to Danny at Tailwind, we’ve done a bunch of digging. That’s really what everybody comes away with, is that it’s a collection of a lot of tiny Pins bringing traffic and then that’s why next you see those top Pins and they’re the ones that they can extract, right below.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. The basic idea with that, if you’re seeing that when you look at the referral traffic for Pinterest, there’s not much information you can get from it. So you can kind of ignore that and then look to the first Pin or the first area where you actually have more information around that. So if you see that, it was something that we saw too, with Pinch of Yum when we were looking, it’s a normal thing but it’s not going to give you much data or helpful action, action items.

Here’s something that came up around deleting. Somebody was asking what’s the reasoning behind recommending that you don’t delete Pins, even if it’s a duplicate Pin on a board. There’s something that I think people really like about having a clean board with no duplicates and deleting older pieces of content. Why should we not delete Pins?

Kate Ahl: The main reason you want to not delete Pins is we never know when Pinterest is going to surface some of these Pins. We’ve heard numerous case studies over and over again of Pins that have just been lying there, if you will, on Pinterest for eight to nine months and suddenly they get picked up by maybe a user that has a lot more reach or they get picked up in search, and all of a sudden this Pin that was never really bringing traffic now has gone viral or is now bringing a ton of traffic. It’s kind of like we don’t delete because we don’t want to miss the opportunity.

And from what we know from Pinterest, there is no negative effect to leaving Pins on your profile. There was somebody who had written a post four years ago that deleting Pins could trick the algorithm into seeing that you have more engagement. We haven’t known that to be true, we haven’t seen that to be true, and we have actually noticed that just leaving them there provides a potential opportunity in the future.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. How about, this is kind of a … It’s not a loaded question but it’s a question that I would assume is hard to answer.

Kate Ahl: Okay.

Bjork Ostrom: How much time should you spend on Pinterest to see results?

Kate Ahl: Oo, okay. Yeah, that is loaded. Okay, first we’re going to go back to how often you’re creating content on your site. If you’re somebody that is not creating new content, new, fresh content, which Pinterest likes, and you are just Pinning a bunch of old stuff over time, the growth on Pinterest is going to be pretty stagnated. But if you’re creating new content and you’re contributing and you’re really putting in the time, let’s say you’re a new content creator, I would say six to eight months is when you’re really going to start to see the steam build. It’s a slow moving train, it takes a long time for you to get into the algorithm, for Pinterest to recognize what you’re about, what you’re Pinning. So we have noticed about six to eight months is a good rule of thumb for a new account.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative), that’s great. Yep, and one of the things that I think is so true about any of the efforts that you do, in this broader building a business/building a business online, is the things you do today aren’t going to have a payoff tomorrow, usually.

Kate Ahl: No.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s going to be six months, it’s going to be a year, it’s going to be three years. I was having a conversation with a friend and a connection, Eric, who started a blog eight years ago and he said he’d finally made the transition into blogging full-time, after learning about, he specifically mentioned Mediavine, an ad network, and transitioned over after not knowing about managed ads. It was just such a great story and a great interaction.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Found out about them on the Food Blogger Pro forums. But it’s like eight years, he’s been working eight years doing that and working really hard. And I think sometimes we expect to see that stuff overnight, but it takes a long time and a lot of energy.

Kate Ahl: Yeah. Which is why I think that’s why you can’t apply the Instagram mindset to Pinterest. Instagram, you can post something, you immediately get this kickback of likes or comments.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Kate Ahl: That’s just not going to happen on Pinterest, so you just need to gear up for the long winter and then know that you’re investing in a platform where users take a long time to make a decision and discover ideas.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great. Two more questions here that we’ll use to wrap things up. Somebody is asking a question about the business name profile area, and saying that it seems like it’s limited to 30 characters but it seems like some accounts have more characters. Can you talk about the business name profile area and how that works?

Kate Ahl: Yeah, what you can do is … Pinterest has changed their profile quite a bit over the last two years and at each stage that profile name can get either more or less. In this last iteration that they gave us, where we have the big banner across the top, it’s very colorful, it’s been great change for them, we saw the decrease in what you could add there. Before, you could add up to three lines of text, now it’s just two. So if you are going to add your business name I want that there first, then you can add a keyword or two behind it, describing what you are. You’d have to see where Pinterest limits you, because I have the older … I mean, I’ve been around for a long time.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Kate Ahl: I might have more just because Pinterest has left it there, whereas new ones they might limit it. I don’t know the exact number of characters, I’d have to go look to see what a new account is getting, but you have to play around with it and see where it cuts off. And then don’t just look on desktop, look on mobile too to see what you can see.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure. Yeah, and I would assume in a lot of ways mobile is probably more important.

Kate Ahl: Oh, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: I think we think of desktop as creators, but as consumers it’s almost certain there’s, what, 75, 25% chance that they’re using that on mobile.

Kate Ahl: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: The final question that I wanted to ask actually had to do around video.

Kate Ahl: Oh, yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: I know video’s kind of been something that has been a really important new type of media across multiple platforms and social media accounts. I know Pinterest is a little bit later than most of the platforms in implementing this, but it’s something where they’re kind of playing around with that and starting to experiment with the video.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Any advice for people to be on kind of the cutting edge of video for Pinterest and things that they should be experimenting with?

Kate Ahl: Yes. Yeah, one of the cool things … And I have a full tutorial on my site, how to upload video to Pinterest. But one of the things that you need to know is that Pinterest users for a long time saw video as a speed bump and if they would come across it in the feed, which you really wouldn’t, there would be no way to really come across a YouTube video and YouTube videos didn’t seem to get engagement anyway. Well, then Pinterest introduced their native ad player only to Promoted Pin customers, and that would mean it would be a square, it could auto play, it reflected kind of those Tasty-style Pins that we saw on Facebook.

Well, then actually when I was at Everything Food, Lindsay from Cotter Crunch came up to me and she was like, “I can upload a video to Pinterest,” and I was like, “What? You have to be paid.” Well, what we learned was that you did have to have a business account and you did have to have an active credit card on file, under Promoted Pins. So when Lindsay showed me that, we realized there was a certain dimensions that you need to have, but if you have a credit card on file you can upload your video to Pinterest.

We actually started seeing some really good engagement on this, and with the native player they do show up in your feed and they don’t feel like a speed bump, which is pretty cool. Then you can link them to wherever, so some people have gotten creative and linked them directly to YouTube if people are going to click for more information. We find that they watch the video and usually don’t, unless you get a short, short, short, like 20 second and they want the recipe. Or they even link to their Facebook group.

Bjork Ostrom: Sure.

Kate Ahl: Some people have gotten creative with that. But we can link to that on the site and it has all the specs and what you need. But I think that video in the next year on Pinterest is going to definitely take off more, now that we have a native player and we’re not just posting YouTube links.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting, there was a specific Pin for Pinch of Yum with a video. We did the same thing, where we had a business account, put in a credit card number and it was like a secret code that you unlocked to get access to the videos.

Kate Ahl: Yes, totally.

Bjork Ostrom: And we had a video that it was like one of the top performing Pins. I don’t remember specifically what it was, maybe Abby does, if she’s a part of the chat right now she can post that. Its interesting to see, it feels like really early stages where it’s not generally accessible. You kind of have to go through this weird backdoor, at least we did when we set it up, and what ended up happening though is it got a lot of traction and it was a really popular piece of content. It was the Crunch Wrap, Abby was saying, that we did for Pinch of Yum. So something to think about.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Kind of a fun note to end on, was talking about some of the things to be aware of, into research and you had mentioned that post which we’ll link to in the show notes for the podcast and also mention it here in bootcamp. We’re coming to the end, Kate. What a fun day that we’ve had, we’ve learned so much from you. There’s been a couple of times where you have mentioned and we’ve just kind of talked about some of the things that you do, I want to make sure that the people that are listening on the podcast, as well as that are listening live on the bootcamp, have an understanding of what exactly Simple Pin Media is. You have some free resources.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Like your newsletter and podcast, if you could talk about those. And if people are interested in working with you, to be somebody that you are working with, you talked about clients that you have that are part of Simple Pin Media and you help manage their accounts, how can they do that? So those three things, podcast, newsletter, and then how can people work with you.

Kate Ahl: Yeah, so the podcast is the Simple Pin Podcast, it’s on every player. You can subscribe and listen to a few of them. In fact, our last one, from last week, was about hashtags.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome.

Kate Ahl: So if you want to know more about that, that one’s right available. We have a blog post, if you’re a reader, to go along with every single one of those podcasts, on the blog and you can go find that at simplepinmedia.com. And then we do have our email newsletter that comes out every Wednesday at 5:00 a.m., and that’s filled with the most up-to-date tips. We run education each week so we’ll extract things from Pinterest webinars, from creative guides, and pull them down into simple, actionable tips so that you don’t have to read through it, basically.

Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kate Ahl: And then what we do, as well, is we do management. So on the site, too, you’ll see services and you click on Management. We just want you to fill out a complete form so we can learn more about you and how we can best serve you, because we definitely want to be matched up with people that fit our services and match the goals that we have for them. And there’s a lot of people who just are kind of tired of Pinterest or maybe they’re confused by it and they just don’t want to dive into. Because we save people time, that’s really what we do, is we give them more time back in their business, not to have to focus on Pinterest, especially if it’s a big traffic driver for them.

Bjork Ostrom: Awesome, great. Kathleen posted a comment here and said, “I love your newsletter and advice,” and she’s going to start listening to your podcast, Simple and Actionable. So a little props out for you there, coming in live from the chat. Kate, thanks so much for being a part of these. Thanks for being a part of the Food Blogger Pro community, for your continued advice and expertise. People get a lot out of it and we would really encourage everybody that’s listening or watching this to reach out to Kate. Follow along with the podcast, sign up for the newsletter, and if your business is at the point where it makes sense, which I would say probably sooner rather than later you want to think about bringing experts into the fold with your business, letting them do what they’re good at and then you can do what you’re good at, Kate and Simple Pin Media is a great example of that so be sure to reach out.

Kate, thanks so much for coming on.

Kate Ahl: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.

Kate Ahl: Bye bye.

Bjork Ostrom: Bye.

Alexa Peduzzi: And that was the Q and A from our Pinterest Traffic Bootcamp. The bootcamp taught me so much about Pinterest but I think one of the most important lessons that I learned from the bootcamp was just the fact that it’s such a complex social media platform and there are so many decisions and strategies that go into really performing well on Pinterest. So we hope that you learned some actionable and helpful tips from this Q and A.

I’m also here to bring you one of our favorite things of the week, our reviewer of the week. And these reviews come straight from iTunes and this week’s reviewer of the week is Lois from polishhousewife.com. And it says, “After writing my food blog for many years, I’ve seen noticeable growth after finding the Food Blogger Pro podcast and implementing what I’ve learned. I’ll listen to some episodes multiple times to be sure I haven’t missed a valuable tidbit. Great information for all kinds of bloggers, not just for the food blogging niche.” Thanks so much, Lois. It’s awesome that you’re seeing some growth after listening to some podcast episodes. We really appreciate you tuning in and implementing what you’ve learned.

And thank you all for listening this week, we’re so excited and grateful to be a part of your week. Until next time, make it a great week.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Bjork!
    I do love and listen to your podcasts all the time. This one was very informative and interesting to me. After I listened to Kate, I decided to check out her blog and saw that she offers different services. So, hoping to learn something new and improve my Pinterest game even further, I decided to purchase her 197$ Pinterest Analytics service. And I just want to share my opinion, since there are no review or comment options anywhere on Simple Pin Media.
    Kate’s Pinterest Analytics service is a complete rip off! After I purchased it, a different person contacted me, redirected me to yet another different person, who after a week send me just a list of my successful pins! I can see it myself by simply opening my Google Analytics!!! I was hoping for some inside tips and knowledge that will help me improve and grow my Pinterest, but it wasn’t a case here. There are no refunds, of course. This is the worst business investment I ever made.
    Sorry for the negative review, I just want to share my experience. Regards!