We look at the Pinterest performance of three big sites (Mail Online, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post) on the platform.
To many publishers, Pinterest is a curious anomaly.
The image-based platform doesn’t drive the same volumes of traffic that Facebook does, and it’s not as straightforward to use as Twitter.
But for sites with the right type of content, Pinterest can be a gateway to sustained referrals and a loyal audience. It had 79 million active users in February (up 47% over the year), and draws a significant mobile audience, a factor that’s of increasing importance to publishers.
When we looked at our list of the most shared sites on Pinterest in March 2015, the vast majority were niche publications and blogs focussing on health and lifestyle. But more general sites have managed to make a significant impact there too – namely the Mail Online, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.
We analysed how those publishers’ content performed on Pinterest in March. For this survey, English language content was considered only.
Pinterest March
The type of content that does really well on Pinterest is heavily interest-based (strong visuals help a lot). Like LinkedIn, evergreen content (such as lists, guides, recipes and personal stories unrelated to the current news agenda) do really well on Pinterest.
Here’s how the three aforementioned sites performed:

1) Daily Mail: 244,374 Pins

According to our data, the Mail Online was the most visible publisher on Pinterest in March 2015, with over 244,000 Pins of content published that month.
Almost every single one of the Mail’s top ten most pinned stories in March were related to the Royal Family. Their extensive celebrity and gossip section drew in a lot of attention from Pinterest users.
daily mail pinterest

2) BuzzFeed: 142,892 Pins

BuzzFeed have touted Pinterest as a highly effective referral source. Their analytics team ensure that anyone arriving at the site through a link on Pinterest will see the option to share the story back to Pinterest. That’s because their data tells them that only 8% of users who click BuzzFeed link on Pinterest go on to share the story on Twitter. It’s a clever use of analytics to inform actions.
It’s also important to note that over half of BuzzFeed’s Pinterest referral traffic goes to posts more than two months old, so measuring the number of pins on new content isn’t necessarily the only way of measuring success and engagement on the platform.
In March, their most popular stories related to exercise and cooking, with a decent sprinkle of children related stories, too. These were their top 10 for last month:
Buzzfeed pinterest
As we noted in a recent post, a lot of the BuzzFeed stories that did well on Facebook also saw good levels of engagement on Facebook, and the other way around.

3) The Huffington Post: 96,699 Pins

The Huffington Post is another site that tends to do very well in the evergreen content stakes. Layer cakes, poached eggs and chicken all get a lot of attention, along with some classic list-oriented pieces, which also did quite well for BuzzFeed.
Huffington post pinterest
What’s intriguing is looking at how different stories perform across different networks, with Pinterest and LinkedIn being good examples of networks that attract very specific genres of content.
Using Spike’s Pins’ filter, we can see BuzzFeed’s most-pinned stories over the last month:
Spike Buzzfeed pins
…and compare that to their biggest stories on Twitter:
twitter pins comparison
They’re miles apart – indicating that the kinds of social strategies needed to succeed on both can be pretty different.
Other very popular sites on the platform in March included Apartment Therapy, fashion publisher Harper’s Bazaar and MindBodyGreen, which describes itself as a ‘guide to wellness’.

To see what’s trending in real time (over over the last 30 days) on Pinterest, sign up for a free Spike trial today


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