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Does Uploading Pins Hurt Their Reach on Pinterest?

Does uploading your pins hurt their reach on Pinterest? Here's a small case study that suggests it might. Article by @mcngmarketing.

Malorie Luchich, one of the members of the PR team at Pinterest presented at BlogHer 2015. I wasn’t at the conference, but Peg Fitzpatrick, author of the Art of Social Media, was there and she shared Malorie’s presentation.  And in the presentation it may have answered one of my most pressing questions.

“Does uploading an image on Pinterest hurt the pin’s overall visibility and reach compared to those pinned from a website?”

Does Uploading a Pin Affect Its Visibility and Reach on Pinterest?

For me, and no doubt for you, this is an important question. And though I don’t have any solid evidence that it does, I’m going to trust my gut instinct and say that, yes, uploading a picture onto Pinterest and then having it linked back to a website does generally hurt a pin’s reach on Pinterest.

Why I Think Uploading Pins Hurts Their Reach on Pinterest

Reason 1: Pinterest Suggests Not Uploading Photos Without a Source

Malorie Luchich from Pinterest gave out some great Pinterest tips in her presentation. On the second to last slide of her presentation, she summarizes her presentation with 10 helpful tips.

Presentation Slide at BlogHer2015 by Malorie Luchich from Pinterest offering 10 tips for better Pinterest marketing.

Tip 4 is “don’t upload photos.” Here’s what Malorie advises when it comes to uploading pictures to Pinterest in regards to comment that was left on the blog.

“Kristie is right — the presentation was referring to photos that are uploaded without a source, and not bloggers and website owners who upload high quality images and then add a source.

The key is to ensure that Pins always link back to more information (a source), for the best Pinner experience. If images are uploaded, be sure to write a detailed description and add the source so the Pin links back to your website, and you’ll be good to go.

More info on our business site — https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/how-take-great-photos-your-product-pins— and in this creative guide — https://business.pinterest.com/sites/business/files/how-to-make-great-pins-guide-en.pdf

Hope that helps!”

Reason 2: My Case Study Hints It Does

I started to pin to a group board on Pinterest that had about 100,000 followers.

I noticed something that was quite interesting. It seemed that pins that came from a website were outperforming, in terms of repins, pins that were originally uploaded. Even though the uploaded pins were longer and taking up more Pinterest real estate than the pins pinned from a site.

I looked at a small subset of the top 15 of the best performing pins, in terms of repins, for two groups. The first group were pins that were pinned from a website, and the second group were pins that were uploaded and had their website url direction inserted. (For the second group, in some cases, I couldn’t confirm for sure that they were uploaded. I just know that the images used were not picked up by the official pin it button for Chrome browser.)

All the pins were pins that I had pinned onto the group board over a 3 month period.

The majority of the top performing pins (with the exception of one) were pinned between the hours of 5 pm and 8:30 pm (PST). I was trying to maintain some consistency.

The top 15 pins from group one, the pins coming from a website, resulted in an average of 103.3 repins per pin.

The top 15 pins from  group two, pins that were uploaded, resulted in an average of 51.6 repins per pin.

It seems that pins that had their images uploaded received half as many repins as those that were pinned from websites.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions Yet…

You have to keep in mind that this is a small sample set and shouldn’t be considered significant.  It would require a larger data set with thousands of pins before we can jump to any solid conclusions.

Since I only used the top 15 best performing pins, this could have also skewed the results. Factors such as the cumulative number of repins a pin receives on Pinterest, and how many times a pin’s image is linked to a specific url are also factors in how many repins they get and may have skewed results.

For example, the top performing pin for group one had a total of 265 repins in the group board but has approximately 37,000 cumulative repins on Pinterest. That image on Pinterest has been used since January of 2014.

While another image, one that was much longer that was uploaded to Pinterest but redirected to the same url was created on February of 2015. So the long image doesn’t have the same type of “weight” in terms of cumulative repins compared to the original image that was created therefore potentially showing up less in Pinterest’s smartfeed and reducing the number of repins.

My Suggestions Regarding Uploaded Pins

I still think you should upload pins and redirect them to a specific url, especially if you have a lot of product shots that you can’t use. But if you are running a blog post, I strongly suggest that you actually pin directly from your own website instead of uploading the image and then editing the website it links to. 

If you want to keep a shorter image, but then have one that’s designed for Pinterest and recognized by the Pinterest backend, then you can try use this method I outlined in this blog post about how to get readers to pin a specific image from your blog. 

What are you thoughts? Do you think pinning from your own site gives it more exposure on Pinterest?

If you want more great Pinterest tips and insights, make sure you sign up for my free e-mail newsletter.

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."
  • http://blogambitions.com/how-to-start-a-blog-the-right-way/ Kristie

    I have been wondering about this since I saw Peg’s post and the slides from the presentation. Interesting study you did.

    Still though, have you talked to Malorie or Peg about the context that was talked about during point number 4? Because the slides also talk about how Pinterest is not a photo sharing site. I thought maybe it meant not to upload pictures and not attach a URL…

    • http://www.mcngmarketing.com/ Vincent Ng – MCNG Marketing

      Hi Kristie, that’s a great questions. I don’t know Malorie personally, but I’ll try to reach out to her to ask about her presentation. I’ll also try to reach out to Peg as well, but I know she’s busy with her family, if/when I find out I’ll definitely let you know.

      • http://www.pinterest.com Malorie Lucich

        Hi Vincent – Thanks for your interest!

        Kristie is right — the presentation was referring to photos that are uploaded without a source, and not bloggers and website owners who upload high quality images and then add a source.

        The key is to ensure that Pins always link back to more information (a source), for the best Pinner experience. If images are uploaded, be sure to write a detailed description and add the source so the Pin links back to your website, and you’ll be good to go.

        More info on our business site (https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/how-take-great-photos-your-product-pins) and in this creative guide (https://business.pinterest.com/sites/business/files/how-to-make-great-pins-guide-en.pdf).

        Hope that helps!

        • http://www.mcngmarketing.com/ Vincent Ng – MCNG Marketing

          You rock Malorie! Thanks so much for clarifying that. I know the readers are going to love to know that. I’ll make the changes to the article and quote you!

          • http://www.pinterest.com Malorie Lucich

            Appreciate it!

  • Ann Drake

    I use both methods when pinning my content. Some of my most successful pins have been to my category pages. I make a graphic and upload it to PInterest and then link to the appropriate category..always including a detailed description. I also make new graphics for older posts (to give them a fresh look) and upload to Pinterest. Just a few ways to get a bit more traffic to your site.

  • mailamita

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome article with us here. – Hanuman Chalisa

  • Jo Wilmer

    Some of my best pins are one’s that I have designed myself and upload. These are linked to my websites. I do not believe it makes any difference. My biggest board with 86,000+ follower’s consists mostly of my uploaded pins with links to my sites.