Over the past few years, digital publishers have increasingly come to rely on social media as a traffic source. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all popular, and publishers have found clever ways to grow traffic using these channels. But what about Pinterest? Should your publication be on Pinterest, too?
Social media use among digital publishers has been on the rise for the past decade. The popularity of different platforms waxes and wanes. For the early 2000s, Facebook was the most popular option for digital magazine publishers who wanted to promote their content to larger audiences. More recently, Instagram has moved into the top spot. New research by eMarketer shows that the pendulum is swinging once again, and publishers’ interest in Instagram is beginning to slow.
According to eMarketer, user growth for Instagram fell to single-digits for the first time ever in 2019. The photo and video-sharing platform’s user growth rate in the U.S. dropped to 6.7%, from 10.1% in 2018. That shift is causing digital publishers to reevaluate their social media strategies. In the coming year, it’s expected that online publishers will spend fewer resources on Instagram in favor of other platforms, like Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Pinterest is a logical choice for digital publishers who are interested in using social media as a traffic generator. Publishers have an easier time maintaining their brand image on Pinterest than some newer social channels. Pinterest also offers a number of paid advertising and marketing opportunities, to complement the organic growth strategies that online magazines and niche blogs are using.
Just this month, Pinterest surpassed Snapchat as the third biggest social media platform in the U.S. The platform saw 9.1% growth in 2019, reaching more than 80 million users. What does that mean for digital publishers? When Pinterest’s user base grows, referral traffic and engagement should grow, as well. That’s good news for publishers that have spent time building out their brand pages on the platform.
While Snapchat and TikTok have younger audiences, Pinterest has broader appeal. Its core user base tracks more closely with the readers that online magazine publishers are trying to reach, as its users are evenly represented across all age groups.
Information about the specific groups that publishers are reaching through Pinterest is now being made available through Pinterest Trends, a relatively new offering that provides organizations with insights into emerging trends. Pinterest is also working hard to position its platform as a visual discovery tool. The strategy to differentiate Pinterest from Snapchat and TikTok is something that digital publishers have been asking for. Publishers with professional, adult audiences are hesitant to invest in platforms where they may lose control of the narrative. Pinterest is actively working to make its platform more attractive to publishers, and other brand advertisers, by introducing features like “compassion search,” which offers emotional well-being activities that people can do when they’re feeling stressed, anxious, or sad.
How Do Publishers Use Pinterest?
Publishers can use Pinterest in the same way they use other social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Publishers that create professional accounts can share content with followers on Pinterest as a way to improve traffic, engagement, and overall brand awareness. In addition to “pinning” their own content, publishers can also follow the boards created by their industry peers and “like” or comment on other Pins.
Setting up a Business account on Pinterest gives publishers access to advanced features like Pinterest Analytics, a visual search tool, a native video player, and the ability to run ads.
Tips for Publishers
The following tips are designed specifically for digital publishers using Pinterest for marketing and traffic generation.
- Make sure to create a Business account
- Select the right categories for the content you post
- Consider your target audience when deciding what content to share on the platform
- Add keywords and hashtags to improve social sharing
- Integrate Pinterest into your own website by adding “Pin” buttons
- Use analytics tools to track the success of your Pinterest strategy
Are you interested in learning more about how digital publishers are using Pinterest in 2020? Get in contact with our team of web publishing experts and schedule a strategy session today.