The folks at Pinterest have been busy! Since the beginning of 2016, they’ve altered their algorithm, changed their affiliate link policy, overhauled their mobile platform and instituted a new design format.
One impact of February’s algorithm change is that what we see on our feed has become less up-to-date based on our recent searches. It also results in our seeing only high-performing pins from the boards we follow, rather than all pins. Australian digital marketer Kate Cook says, “People use Pinterest to ‘save’ aspirational, inspirational and motivational content to review later. But the things that I found inspirational and motivational two years ago, simply are no longer relevant to me.”
If you are a Pinner who uses the platform to plan projects or vacations, it may be annoying to continue seeing related pins long after the project is completed. On the other hand, if you use Pinterest to keep track of recipes or crafting ideas, you may not have noticed this change. So let’s call it a toss-up.
Julie Syl Kalungi, who uses Pinterest to promote her business, found that new pins took longer to reach the feed. This is important to note if you are using Pinterest for time-sensitive content, such as seasonal items or a contest with a deadline.
Here are some tips for Pinterest success in light of (or in spite of) the algorithm change:
- Try deleting some of your older boards to show Pinterest you are no longer interested in those topics.
- Get your followers attention by using other social networks to share your pins.
- Add a Pinterest link to an email blast
- Plan ahead and pin time-sensitive content well in advance to give it a better chance of showing up in the feed when it is relevant.
Bringing Back Affiliate Links
Pinterest has had an on-again, off-again, relationship with affiliate links. If you aren’t familiar with this term, affiliate marketing is a way for individuals or “affiliates” to earn a commission based on their own marketing for a company.
For example, if you are a parenting blogger, you can apply to be an affiliate for a book store and have an affiliate link to your favorite parenting books on your blog. Each time a book is purchased via your link, you get a commission.
The network originally allowed affiliate links, but according to Mike Mayzel, Pinterest communication team-member, “Last year we removed affiliate links from Pinterest because spammers were abusing them. Now that our spam detection system is much stronger and as a result we have better link quality, we believe it is the right time to reconsider our policy and allow affiliate links.”
They’ve also added some vague language to their Acceptable Use policy, “You may use affiliate links in Pins as long as you don’t distribute spam, or engage in other spam-like behavior which disrupts the Pinner experience. We only support some third party measurement at this time.”
They do not define “spam-like behavior,” but maybe it is like pornography, you know it when you see it.
And that’s not all! Pinterest has also done a major overhaul on their software and international design.
“Last year when an employee from Pinterest’s Tokyo office relocated to its San Francisco headquarters, she explained that for Japanese audiences, the Pinterest homepage inspired that feeling you get when someone tries to overcome a language barrier by talking louder.” Wired, Pinterest Reinvents Itself to Prove It’s Really Worth Billions, April 19, 2016
Since the engineering update, they’ve optimized their site for all mobile devices, old and new, and redesigned the site to make it faster, more engaging and culturally relevant to users outside of the United States. Fonts have been changed to ensure that they will render well in different languages, new icons have been introduced, and a minimalist, sleek page design has been instituted across all countries.
The network is serious about maintaining growth and appealing to more users of both genders around the world. Hopefully their team will continue to tweak the algorithm to make the content we see more relevant and timely, which will only contribute the platform’s success.