Pinterest feature header image

How Pinterest Engagement Has Changed in Two Years


By   |   January 17th, 2017   |   Reading time: 5 minutes Digital Journalism

Pinterest is often an underdog platform for publishers. We look at how Pinterest engagement has grown in the past two years and how it can yield success for content creators. 

With 150 million active monthly users, Pinterest is not as prolific as the likes of visual-based competitors Instagram and Snapchat. However, Pinterest is still a powerhouse of engagement for publishers across niches like beauty and fashion, lifestyle, art, decor, and of course, food.

Pinterest isn’t to be underestimated. Instagram recently borrowed a bookmarking feature from Pinterest. Plus, many users of Pinterest have a higher intent-to-purchase, something that is highly appealing to publishers and brands alike.

Though it’s under the radar, Pinterest is looking forward, using deep learning to surface related Pins to keep delivering content its users will be interested in. This in mind, we decided to take a look at how publishers are reaching their audience on Pinterest, and the top content trends. 

Top Pinterest Publishers of December 2016

Let’s start by checking out who the top contenders on Pinterest are. With NewsWhip Analytics, we can search across any category or keyword, on web or a multitude of social networks.

Pinterest Publishers

Half of the top ten publishers are related to cooking, two are related to interior decorating, and one, Tip Hero, is dedicated to frugality ideas. Only one website on the list is a general news publisher, the Daily Mail.

Deviantart likely makes the list because of the sheer amount of content being pinned. In the top 100 stories and content of the month, none were from Deviantart. Its most-pinned content of December had 5,200 pins, while Delish’s top article had nearly 76,000 pins.

How Engagement Has Changed in Two Years 

Has there been a substantial change in engagement for publishers in Pinterest? NewsWhip Analytics lets us look back to see how these publishers were doing, two years ago in December 2014. Let’s take a look at an array of top publishers on Pinterest, both some established sites and blogs.

2 year engagement Pinterest

All of the publishers have seen marked increases in engagement, but the most remarkable one is Delish. Launched by Hearst Magazines and MSN, Delish has grown its engagements enormously. Between December 2014 and December 2016, there was a 20,497% percent increase in engagements.

Even in December 2015, Delish was slowly on its way to the booming Pinterest powerhouse it is now. In December 2015, the publisher drove over 44,000 Pinterest engagements on content compared to the 3,000 in December 2014. By the end of 2016, Delish became the highest engaging publisher on Pinterest.

We’ve seen success for food publishers growing across social media. BuzzFeed Tasty and others do extremely well on Facebook video. It seems that Delish may be Tasty’s match on Pinterest.

There are other points to note about 2014 to now on Pinterest. Blogs like Simply Recipes and This is Colossal also saw the biggest jump in Pinterest engagements, while more established websites like Deviantart, 9gag, and the Daily Mail saw smaller boosts. This could be due to the storytelling, personable nature of blogs versus those websites.

How News Publishers Fare

Despite being a top publisher, the Daily Mail also didn’t make the top 100 most-pinned content. Its top pinned article, about the British royal family, drove 6,200 pins. As the only news publisher in our top ten, it’s worth looking at what their most pinned stories were.

Pinterest Daily Mail

Celebrities made up the bulk of December’s top stories for the Daily Mail. The British royal family alone accounted for seven of the publisher’s most pinned content. This could fit in with Pinterest’s strength around both style and inspirational content, as users may want to get tips from what their favorite royals or celebrities are wearing and doing. 

If we look at the next general news publishers on the top list, NBC (#55) and BBC (#58), we can get a sense of the news articles that do well on Pinterest. Both publishers had a bit more variation in their top ten than the Daily Mail did. 

For BBC, holiday-themed recipes account for four of their top ten pinned stories. Two of the pinned stories were about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ passings, and the four others were about innovations in science, architecture, and health. 

pinterest bbc

This story about dinosaur feathers discovered in preserved amber was one of BBC’s top pinned articles of December 2016. 

Content that provides a “wow” impact, seems to see success for publishers across platforms. NASA sees engagement for its content across Snapchat to Reddit to Tumblr, innovative content does well on LinkedIn, and the Wow reaction indicates its success on Facebook.

Meanwhile NBC’s top pinned content was about exercise, health, and productivity. Since we analyzed the month of December, this could be from users pinning their New Years’ resolution ideas. 

As publishers and brands seek to get the most value from their social media, Pinterest seems promising. Just in 2016, the platform made major changes, even just simple things like making the app loading time three times faster. There is a new Explore section for users to find trending content and personal recommendations, and a native video player.

Perhaps most the intriguing feature, Pinterest introduced “Buyable Pins” for U.S. retailers to let users to click a “Buy It” button on pins and be redirected to the product page where they could purchase the pinned item.

Still, the content is the biggest part of the battle. Publishers and brands have to make sure what they’re producing is interesting enough to the platform’s users. Which is why, the biggest publishers are still blogs and those that provide a story behind the pinned image. In 2017, content remains king.

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