In early March 2015, About.com started using Rich Pins to add extra details from their site to their Pins. After the first week, About.com saw a 40% increase in traffic from Pinterest. From there they’ve continued to see a 70% increase in referral traffic year-over-year.
“We thought the Rich Pin experience was the ideal way for us to make our already large amount of content on Pinterest shine more, since they provide an opportunity to really explain why someone should read an interesting article or useful tip. We expected some impact, but nothing like what we got,” says Matthew Knell, VP of Social Media and Platform Partnerships.
Since Rich Pins automatically show metadata from websites (like article and recipe info), About.com has even hired a full-time Pinterest editor to make sure that content and images on their site are fully optimized for Pinterest. About.com also encourages its expert writers to more carefully consider descriptions and photos when creating new content.
Pinterest is About.com’s top social referrer overall, driving almost twice as much traffic as the next largest referrer. In their key verticals like Home, Food, Health and Travel, that gap between Pinterest and the number two referrer is even wider.
To achieve that success, About.com creates a strategic blend of Pins across three buckets:
- Evergreen content: Pins that work any time of the year, like how to’s, best practices and tips
- Seasonal content: Topics that appeal to readers for 30-60 days a year, like holiday-specific content and Pins related to big movie releases or key sporting events
- Trendy and of the moment content: Fashion and diet trends, cultural events and even notable deaths
“Each content type has an audience that’s different and provides specific benefits to those readers. We love how Pinterest can spotlight our best content by telling stories visually and with text. We have a lot of undiscovered gems that have gotten new life through Pinterest,” says Knell.
“Rich Pins have been extremely successful with a 40% increase in traffic from Pinterest the first week of implementation. From there it’s continued to grow, providing an increase in Pinterest traffic of 70% year-over-year.”
Pins about recipes, DIY home, life hacks, and practical health advice tend to perform best with target audiences on Pinterest. Some of About.com’s top Pins include a how-to on making a bouncing polymer ball from household materials (which has been repinned more than 700,000 times) and “How To Fix a Broken Zipper” (500,000 Pins).
“Across every vertical, Pinterest works well for projects, tips and how-to content. Evergreen content also performs strongly, and it attracts a broad range of demographics. Unlike other social sources, Pinterest shares continue to attract attention for weeks or months, which results in a steady growth of traffic as more and more people discover our best articles on Pinterest,” says Knell.
About.com’s data sciences team uses Pinterest to watch what people are doing in real time. The team identifies the most saveable content and uses that info to change their strategy.
For example, they noticed that people save Pins during the week, but don’t read it until the weekend. This informs how About.com approaches long holiday weekends, especially during the winter when people are more likely to be indoors and online.
Another insight that About.com uncovered: In comparison to other platforms, health content involving serious and sensitive conditions has performed particularly well on Pinterest. This affirms how Pinterest is an intensely personal tool.
“We have a better understanding that social audiences are different than audiences from the rest of our traffic channels. For example, we find that Pinterest visitors are more than 108% more engaged than the average users. They are passionate about what they love, and they visit more pages and articles on our service as a result,” says Matthew Knell, VP of Social Media and Platform Partnerships.
- Invest in Rich Pins. Many people use Pinterest as a way to bookmark their favorite content. The improved display and metadata around Rich Pins allows for easier recall later.
- Share evergreen Pins. Given the nature of Pinterest’s growing index, there is an enormous long-tail for both the type of content, and the length of time that a Pin can drive meaningful traffic.