1. Pinterest is a huge driver of traffic.
BuzzFeed first saw a spike in Pinterest traffic when Peggy Wang, BuzzFeed’s first editor, did a post in June 2012 about DIY projects. The post quickly gained traction on Pinterest, and convinced BuzzFeed that they should be focusing on Pinterest. Since then, they’ve seen over 2.3M views to that first DIY post from Pinterest alone, and have ramped up their posts in multiple categories.
“Pinterest is BuzzFeed’s second largest social network referrer. It also has a much longer lifecycle than other social networks, often driving traffic to posts months after publication. In fact, more than half of BuzzFeed's traffic from Pinterest goes to posts published more than 2 months ago” said Dao Nguyen, VP of Growth and Data at Buzzfeed.
2. You might be surprised by how Pins drive traffic.
Pins that get the most saves aren’t always the ones that drive the most traffic. Some Pins (like funny ones) are so compelling that readers click immediately to see the rest of the post. They may save later, or they may not. Other Pins, like beautiful images of food or travel, get saved a lot but readers don’t click through until later. The team have found that both types of content are valuable, even though they have different traffic patterns.
3. It’s smart to experiment.
BuzzFeed posts from classic categories such as Beauty, Home, Crafts, Fitness and Food do well on Pinterest, but they’ve learned that other topics such as tattoos, books, Disney-inspired posts and humour do well, too. In fact, of the top 100 BuzzFeed posts on Pinterest, over 30% of the traffic is to funny posts. They’re always experimenting with new categories and posts to see what resonates, then adapting their editorial and product strategy based on that.
“Pinterest is BuzzFeed’s second largest social network referrer. It also has a much longer lifecycle than other social networks, often driving traffic to posts months after publication. In fact, more than half of BuzzFeed's traffic from Pinterest goes to posts published more than 2 months ago.”
4. Make content easy to Pin, especially from mobile.
BuzzFeed readers love to share back to Pinterest, so the team make it easy for readers to save stuff by integrating Save buttons and “Follow us on Pinterest” widgets on their site. They also increased the size of the Save button on their share bars and on individual images for readers coming from Pinterest.
77% of visits from Pinterest to BuzzFeed are on mobile, so the team also make sure their mobile site loads fast and is optimised for saving, just like their website.
“When a reader comes from the Pinterest app on mobile, we show the Save button on top of the image. We found that this increased Pins by 10 times!” Nguyen said.
5. Learn what makes a great Pin for you.
The BuzzFeed team have found that designing one Pinterest-ready image – such as this one of fruit-infused waters – that lives at the top of a post encourages more clickthroughs, especially when the image is tall and inspiring.
They’ve also noticed that writing good Pin descriptions is important, especially if the image isn’t beautiful but is really interesting or useful. Positive descriptions are generally saved and clicked more because they’re easier to discover.
The team continues to study how Pinterest usage shifts as the community changes, and they use the data they find to inform their editorial and product decisions.
Nguyen adds: “Pinterest is not only a source of traffic, but a source of inspiration. Ideas that spring from using Pinterest often do well on other social networks, too. We love Pinterest!”
- Experiment with new categories, such as humour, and posts to see what resonates with followers
- Create custom images on your posts for easy saving
- Add the Save button to your site pages and images